The road trip is an American tradition. It’s a little different when you take kdis along for the ride, though. If you want to have a successful road trip with your kids, you’ll want to follow the six tips below.
Know Your Route
One of the smartest things you can do on a road trip is to look ahead at your route. While your GPS is going to give you the directions that you need, it’s a good idea to be aware of where you might be able to stop in an emergency and what types of distractions you might be able to provide along the way. Your road trip is going to be more than just a Point A to Point B experience with kids, so do some research to figure out how to make it as easy as possible.
Check the Safety Equipment
It’s always a smart idea to check out your vehicle’s safety equipment before you get on the road. Go get your oil changed and your car checked out before you start driving just to get a bit of extra piece of mind. It’s also important to check out the equipment in the car before you leave, so take a look at any car seats that you might have to ensure that they’re in good shape and that they are still appropriate for your children.
Pack Car Essentials
The days of just getting in your car and driving are over. You’ll need some good car essentials to keep your kids happy and allow you to keep moving at a reasonable pace. The night before your drive, make sure to pack the following:
- Extra clothing
- Electronic entertainment
- Non-electronic entertainment
- Pillows and blankets
If your children are still young enough to ride in car seats, you may also want to bring along extra stuffed animals or other soothing items to just to keep them calm when the drive starts to stretch on.
Keep in mind, that according to CuteLittleDarling.com recommendation, infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat. Most convertible seats have limits that will allow children to ride rear-facing for 2 years or more.
Don’t try to push yourself too far when you’re driving with kids. Make sure that you plan on stopping at least once every few hours so that your children can use a restroom and so that everyone can stretch their legs. It’s also a good idea to plan to stop and eat meals outside of the car, even if that means stopping at a rest stop for a picnic. If you pace yourself, you’ll have happier travelers and a much easier drive.
Don’t try to push your kids farther than necessary. While you might think that driving for two days straight is not a big deal, that’s simply not going to work with kids who have never been in the car for more than an hour at a time. Take a moment to think about what your kids can realistically do and plot your route accordingly. This might mean holding off on a big trip until your kids are old enough to tolerate the drive or dividing your road trip into smaller chunks so that everyone stays happy. Whatever you choose, make sure that it will really work for your family.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Things Up
Finally, be willing to take things as they come. Don’t commit to a specific hour of arrival when you’re driving if possible, giving your family a chance to stop at interest roadside attractions or just take to take a break. If you have very young children, you might even want to leave a day earlier so that you’ll be able to stop at a hotel if things feel like they’re not going well. Don’t be afraid to make some small changes if doing so will make your family happier.
Driving on a long trip with kids is really a matter of having a good plan, being realistic about what your kids can do, and going with the flow when necessary. If you’re willing to do all three, you’ll have much more pleasant trips. You can absolutely take a road trip with kids of any age, so long as you’re willing to do what’s necessary to ensure a successful trip.