Spring is around the corner, which means it’s time to hit road before the heat of the Summer really kicks in! No matter the age of your child or the distance of your trip, keeping these tips in mind will guarantee smooth travels that you and your family are sure to enjoy!
Think About Seating Arrangements
If you have more than one child and don’t have a hatchback or minivan - consider this the perfect time to rent one! Ample space on the ride to your destination can mean extra room for snacks, clothes and stretching. Having everyone fit comfortably could mean seriously increase their chances of squeezing in some nap time. Splitting driving duties can also help maximize safety while on your road trip. Distracted driving accounts for many causes of car accidents on road trips - especially if your little one is being fussy.
Entertainment on Demand
This could be puzzles or ipads or movies. PuzzleMaker is a simple and fast way to make customized word search puzzles that are perfect to get your little ones ready for the destination! If your planning to drive through the night to avoid traffic, Kendra from Bridgeport, CT says, “We like to drive in little or no traffic, so for at least part of our journey we are usually driving in the dark. I give my school-age kids glow sticks (my kids like the ones that can be looped and connected to make a necklace or bracelet), little book lights, or tiny flashlights -- or sometimes all three. It makes the trip more fun for the kids, and the soft light doesn't distract the driver up front.”
Play Family Games
Family games during road trips are essential to building memories and traditions with you little ones. With today's technology it’s easy to let the Ipad’s take center stage for entertainment. After all, they offer puzzles, movies and other interactive ways to entertain your child. However, experts from The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest limiting your child's screen time to an hour or less every day. While on the road all day this can be difficult, but finding a good balance between screen time and family time can also help get your little ones sleepy. Too much screen time can cause children to stay awake longer.
Prepare for Pit Stops
Bring a ball or a frisbee for those long car ride rest stops. Getting fresh air often and having your little ones runs around a little will keep them from getting car sick and can help break up the time. Drowsy driving is also one of the top why people get in to car crashes in the United States, so pull over and stretch your legs! This is also a good chance for you to take advantage of time to clean any crumbs or trash that's been left behind under the seats and in their chairs. Having a list of all pit stops along your route can make timing for bathroom and snack breaks a lot easier.
Best Road Trip Apps
Best part is... these are all free on IOS and Android devices! Just download at the app store.
Roadside America - Travel tool and guide
Waze -Traffic and Navigation map
GasBuddy - Helps find inexpensive gas stations
Plugshare - If you have an electric vehicle, this app allows you to look up and review nearby charging stations.
IExit - Helps you plan your next pit stop.
Snacks can always be messy, so organization is key here! According to Disney's parenting blog, Babble, here is the top 5 snacks for taking on the road:
Celery Sticks & Peanut Butter - for clean and easy access, try putting celery in the peanut butter jar!
Munchies Necklace - Can be an array of pretzels and Cheerios.
Carrots in a Sour Cream Jar - use an empty baby food jar in the middle for ranch dip!
Apples and Dip
Homemade Trail Mix
You can find the full Babble list here!
When traveling with a baby, meal-time planning is crucial and location is also very important! If the sun is shining, let your baby relax in a park or at a quiet rest stop. This will give them a good chance to roll around and stretch their little legs!
Embrace every moment
Traveling with little ones can be overwhelming at times but making sure you soak up every second is a no-brainer. This isn’t a “Road Trip Survival Guide” its meant to make every parents life a little easier. If you can, have your kids keep busy by giving them their own travel journal or create a unique playlist for that trip. This can be wonderful to look back on with your kids one day and they will appreciate all the creative things you did to make your family vacations unique and memorable. Half the journey is getting to your destination - so soak it up!