Road trips are exciting and fun. However, when you are accompanied by little fellow travelers, the potential hassles during the journey may cause you to feel stressed and uneasy. Long trips with kids may not always be fun, however, with some effective planning you can attempt to make it a relaxing and memorable experience for all.
If you are planning to embark upon a road trip with your little ones, here are eight tips you must read to keep your kids in good health and make the journey enjoyable.
1. Get Your Car Serviced
The success of your road trip and the comfort of your little travelers largely depend on your vehicle. Therefore, it is wise to spend plenty of time getting your car ready for the road trip.
Hire a certified vehicle service expert to check if your car is in perfect condition. Make sure the tires have a safe tread depth of 1.6 mm, ensuring a good grip on the road.
Inform the vehicle service center about your long distance road trip to get your car ready for the drive. Expert car service technicians will check the car battery, the brake pads, the hydraulics, the fluid lines, and the tires. They will also update the GPS, enabling you to be aware of the road diversions if any and navigate with ease.
Also, organize all the car documents in a folder and check if your car insurance is up-to-date.
2. Plan the Route Well
Research on the route to your destination and look for eateries, tourist attractions, historic sites, museums, and parks on the way to prevent your kids from feeling hungry and bored. When you encourage your kids to be active outside the car, they burn off energy, enabling them to fall asleep when you hit the road again.
If you have one or more adults traveling along, split the driving to ensure rotation of tasks such as feeding the kids, play games with them, or putting them to sleep.
It’s crucial to take frequent breaks during the trip to stretch your muscles and give your kids some time off the car. When planning the trip, take into account the breaks required for changing diapers or visiting the bathroom and meal breaks.
It is important to reach your destination on time; however, going slow and taking regular breaks will enable your kids to stay cheerful during the drive. Be realistic about your travel plan, prepare for a slower pace, and remember to go with the flow. This will enable you to make the road trip enjoyable and stress-free for everyone.
3. Pack Like a Pro
Keep all the necessities, namely diapers, napkins, extra clothes, water bottles and sippers, snacks, and toys handy during the trip. That way you do not have to dig into suitcase each time you require something.
Spills and travel sickness are extremely common when traveling with kids. Keep a spare set of versatile loose-fitting clothes, baby blankets, bibs, swimwear, paper towels, hand sanitizers, garbage bags, vomit bags, and medicines handy to effectively manage such situations. Research on the weather along the route and pack items such as a rain gear, umbrella, or sweaters to keep kids warm and comfortable.
4. Keep Your Kids’ Safety in Mind
According to a survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, four out of five child restraints aren’t installed properly, causing serious injuries to children when accidents occur. Consequently, it is crucial to ensure that the car seat is in a rear-facing position for kids below two years of age.
For older kids, fix booster seats that come with shoulder and abdomen belts to secure your kids against jerks on the road. If you aren’t sure whether the car or booster seat is installed properly, call 866-SEAT-CHECK to get a free seat inspection in your location.
Invest in good-quality window shades to protect your kids from the sun. Moreover, ensure all the child-safety locks on the doors are activated.
5. Keep Refreshments Handy
Hunger can make your kids grumpy and aggressive, ruining your entire trip. Carry healthy and non-messy snacks that your kids can munch on. Reduce your dependence on roadside junk food that may make your kids susceptible to indigestion and other stomach disorders. Stay away from greasy and high-sugar food items that increase the chances of motion sickness.
Bagels, sandwiches, fruits, granola bars, popcorn, rice crackers, trail mix, cookies, pretzels, dry fruits, and yogurt work best on a road journey and are relished by small and older kids alike.
6. Beat the Boredom
Kids tend to get bored when traveling long distances. Keep plenty of entertainment options such as music, movies, books, and games in your car. Tablets, play stations, and smart-phones are extremely useful in keeping kids engaged; however, make sure your kids aren’t using them all the time.
Use creative ways to entertain your kids. For instance, if you have a toddler who loves music, make sure you have a complete collection of nursery rhymes and songs to keep him/her happy. Use appealing picture books and story books to engage your toddler.
Similarly, if you have a grown-up kid, encourage him/her to carry a few interesting holocaust books or mystery novels that can keep him/her amused during the trip.
Kids also love to draw or get involved in a craft activity. Make sure you pack a set of crayons or color pens or other engaging activity sets for them. Having multiple entertainment options will enable your kids to keep themselves busy and cheerful throughout the trip.
7. Cover Maximum Distance When Kids Are Asleep
Keeping kids and/or toddlers occupied and entertained even for a few hours can be a tiring job. When kids are asleep you get to drive uninterrupted, leaving you time to focus on the road and cover some distance.
Avoid taking a break when your kids doze off. This will help you make up for the delays and cover the road-trip miles towards your destination.
It is also wise to synchronize your driving with your kids’ routine. Make sure only one of their nap time is interrupted in a day. For instance, if you are on a 12-hour road trip, try to leave by 5 a.m., ensuring you arrive at your destination in time for dinner and bedtime in a proper accommodation.
8. Prepare for Emergencies
Keeping a first-aid box with all the necessary medications will enable you to handle common health issues such as a cough and cold, nausea, abdominal problems, fever, and sudden injuries in event of an accident.
If your kids are prone to motion sickness keep a pack of lollipops or candies handy to prevent them from feeling queasy.
Tire punctures or car breakdowns are also common on road trips. An emergency kit comprising of jumper cable, tools for changing the tires, and flashlights will enable you to handle such crisis situations effectively.
Although preparing for a road journey with kids can seem like a daunting task, the above-mentioned tips will help you plan the best trip, enabling you to create precious fun memories with your family.