According to the U.S. Department of Energy, travel is increasing every year and it is predicted that even more people will be on the road this year. Traveling with the family can be a great way to spend quality time together but it can also be stressful. Increase your chances of a fun, stress-free and safe vacation by following these simple tips:
- Beat boredom with child’s play. “Are we there yet?” What is it about these words that go straight to a parent’s spine? Keep kids entertained with some great car games that make getting where you’re going half the fun. Magnetic board games, portable video games and classics such as the license plate game, “I Spy” and the alphabet game will keep energetic kids in good spirits and actively engaged no matter how long the journey.
- Stop smart. When stopping at rest stops, make sure it’s just your kids getting back in the car and not the bacteria and germs they pick up in the bathroom. Bring products that keep your family healthy, such as hand sanitizer and Lysol Disinfectant Spray, to kill rest stop germs that can be transferred from the rest room to the surfaces in your car. To prepare for those inevitable spills and “oops” moments, keep paper towels or wet wipes handy.
- Eat right. Sure, you can stop at the rest stop for food-along with the thousands of other people on the road. But roadside dining doesn’t always offer the healthiest choices. Instead, keep your family’s bellies full with snacks that you can eat right in the car, such as trail mix, string cheese, fruit roll-ups, bottles of water, and fruit. These easy, convenient snacks are yummy (for them) and healthy (for you).
- Keep everyone happy. Pick a destination that has fun activities for all ages. While it’s tempting to head for the place that the kids will love, make sure there’s something for mom, dad and grandma to do as well. Some top family vacation spots that offer something for everyone include Orlando, Fla., Anaheim, Calif., Williamsburg, Va., Hershey, Pa. and Yellowstone National Park.
- Follow the map. Plot the trip out on a map and highlight your route. Give this to the kids so they can track the journey as you go. Have them help research some fun stuff to see and do along the way. This will help break up the trip and give the kids something to look forward to on the journey to the way to your destination. Have them put stickers on the map for different things along the way. Stars could be where you are staying overnight. Happy Faces could be something you are stopping to see and do along the way. Books like “National Geographic Kids Ultimate US Road Trip Atlas: Maps, Games, Activities, and More for Hours of Backseat Fun” and “Kids’ Travel Journal” are great to help kids plan the trip and record things they see and do along the way.
Family vacations can be chaotic but immensely rewarding. And if you keep these tips in mind, you can help ensure safe and happy travels-at least until you get there.
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks to keeping kids happy on road trips? Please let us know in the comments below.