Summer is a time for friends and family to come together. Many times you will need to travel to see those “long lost relatives.” Traveling with kids can be the start of building memories for the future and giving your kids experiences that they can relate to the rest of their lives. It can also be a time for kids to be kids including tears, melt-downs and the infamous are-we-there-yet game. Fortunately, there are lots of tips for road trips with kids that can make your journey not just easier but fun. I’m not an expert but based on thousands of miles with my family every year, below are a few personal tips for your upcoming trips.
Pull out the maps. Even if you’ll be using a GPS to navigate during your trip, it’s a good idea to have a back-up paper map or atlas just in case of technical difficulties. Since maps are great learning tools, sit down with your kids and show them the route you’ll be taking as well as play the “I Spy” game with the towns and cities you pass through.
Stock up on boredom busters. Before you leave, establish rules for the road trip; how much iPad and DVD time the kids will get as well as ask them to bring their favorite toys, books and small games. Another idea would be CD audio books, not only are they great for road trips, they usually take up hours of time.
FOOD! Preparing and packing for a trip is daunting enough and bringing food and drink is just one more step. This is exactly why there are so many fast-food restaurants to stop at on road trips. If you want nutritious food and drink you will need to plan carefully and possibly pack a cooler full of your favorite foods, not only is this cheaper in the long run, this will save you time from stopping on long trips.
Bathroom breaks. It’s simply a fact that when you travel with kids you need to stop more often, which means that trips take longer. One idea is double up on the stops and get gas, look for a playground for kids to burn off energy or even a siteseeing destination. Road trips with your kids can be fun and through planning and preparation, road trips can be something to look forward to each and every year.
-by David Merhib, Executive Director, Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce