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5 Tips to Make Your Next Family Road Trip a Breeze

Oh, the sights you will see
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GTFO brings you another guest post by Michael Bourke, the co-creator of SciCamps, which is currently in its very early stages, but aims to provide people with learning resources outside of the classroom. More info can be found at http://scicamps.org/.  

Any parent who has spent an extended car trip with their kids are likely familiar with the question, “Are we there yet?” This ubiquitous outcry can be found in movies and television shows, highlighting how quickly a child can grow bored when stuck in the back seat on a several-hours-long journey. To avoid having to deal with hearing this question every other highway exit, here are five tips to make your next family road trip easy and fun for everyone.
  1. Manage the Seating Arrangement

If your family has two or more children, then you might have to deal with small fights and arguments along the way. Conflict can’t always be avoided, but there are some measures you can take to ensure that your children have plenty of room in the car so no one feels like their personal bubble is being invaded. Make sure that all of your children can easily be spotted by one or both adults in the vehicle, and if you have one child that is more likely to act out of frustration, let them sit closer to the front of the vehicle to where they can be supervised more closely.

  1. Leave Later in the Evening

The best way to avoid conflict altogether is by taking preventative steps to keep your children happy and entertained throughout the duration of your trip. One way parents have been able to keep their kids’ moods in high-spirit is by beginning their trips later in the evening. If you have a long trip ahead of you, it’s a good idea to spend a big chunk of that time driving at night time. The traffic will not be as bad during the late hours, and your children will also be tired and ready to sleep. By the time the sun starts to rise again, you can knock six to 10 hours off of your trip, and your kids will likely be waking up as your trip is already past its halfway point.

  1. Prepare Road-Friendly Games and Toys

Keeping your kids entertained is the best way to have an enjoyable road trip as a family. There are plenty of games out there that are made for the road. You could play the alphabet game, and race to complete the alphabet through letters you see on road signs. You could also play road-trip bingo with easy templates you can print from the internet.

If your kids are too little for games, be sure to pack plenty of toys, keeping in mind that they’ll get bored if you only bring along one or two options for them to play with. Just be sure you’re keeping them clean, especially since they’re bound to fall on the floor of the car or even a rest stop at one point or another. Bring along a small spray bottle of equal parts water and vinegar to spray on wood, plastic and plush toys, and if a trinket gets especially filthy, throw it in the trunk for a more thorough cleaning when you reach your destination.

  1. Pack Healthy Snacks

Another preventative measure you can take when traveling with kids is to pack plenty of snacks to keep their appetites satiated during the trip. People of all ages get a little “hangry” when they haven’t eaten for a while. Having snacks on board can be a great way to relieve stress and keep the entire family’s spirits up during the trip.

When deciding what kind of snacks to pack, remember that healthy choices are not only the best for your family’s health, but will likely put them in a better mood. Greasy, sugary foods provide a good initial burst of energy and happiness, but over time, can make you feel lethargic. Healthy snacks, such as fruits, veggies and dip, or crackers and hummus, will provide a lasting boost of energy that will put everyone in a good mood.

  1. Be Strategic About Stops

Stops are necessary for refueling your vehicle, but are also important to refueling your family’s positive energy. It’s been proven that spending many hours sitting in a vehicle can be bad for us. Health experts recommend that we spend no more than four hours on the road at a time and not to drive more than 12 hours in a day. Make sure that you make plenty of stops to get up and stretch along the way. This will also prevent your children from feeling cramped and fussy during the trip.

Traveling with kids doesn’t have to feel like a dramatic scene from the movies. Instead, the trip can be just as fun as the final destination. By following these five tips, you’ll be able to keep the peace and have a fun, relaxing trip.

With some luck, proper planning, and following the tips here, you can prevent this from being your road trip fate!


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