Getting here is half the fun! With a little preparation and planning, your Road Trip can be a fun adventure. My kids love Road Trips — heck, we go for long drives with no planned destination just for fun. Here are a few tips to help make your drive one of the highlights of your grand adventure – and how to have “quality” family time.
Break the trip up. Get out a map, check the Web, do some digging; find out if there are any interesting places or events between home and your final destination. We have people driving from Canada to Florida stop in and spend a day rafting or doing a quick half-day Canopy Tour to break up their long drive.
We’ve even made our own ACE Road Trip Games for kids. Download the PDF and read on for more ideas:
You can do the same thing on your way here or on your way back home. Designing “special” breaks makes trips memorable! Stopping at McDonald’s really isn’t the type of “special” break I’m talking about. A good rule is stopping every 2 hours or less — especially for the kids – sitting in a cramped car for long hours is not fun.
We have a minivan (yeah, I know), but they are great on long trips, we take out the back seat, put a futon down with blankets and pillows and make a “snuggle island” for the kids to lie down and relax on really long trips.
Play games. Sure you can let the kids zone out and play Gameboy, watch a DVD, or whatever, but isn’t that what you are trying to get them away from? Road Trips should be about quality family time. We added a new section on our Web site called Adventure Planners with tools to help you plan your adventure.
You can find a quick download named “Road Games” that has suggestions, ideas and classic games like Scavenger Hunt, License Plate Bingo, ABC and others to help you have real interaction with the family. Check it out, if you have any suggestions or ideas we would love for you to share them with us – we plan to keep adding more things with your help.
Be prepared. Yes the car will get trashed on long trips. Don’t freak out on the kids – be prepared. Baby wipes are one of the greatest inventions ever created – my kids are in their early teens now and we still stock up on them.
We tie a trash bag (grocery bags work great) on the back of the seats. A small damp towel in a zip-lock bag is always handy to wipe up spills. Choosing smart snacks also helps – we always hid a “special” snack for those critical times – but that is another blog.
Fun Box. We always have the kids make a “fun box,” where they get to choose their favorite toys, books, movies and things to help keep them occupied on really long trips and for those nights at the hotel room. These should be supervised; they usually want to bring everything. Just remember, you don’t want to dominate their every moment – they need to chill out and do their own thing at times.
Some other ideas: Wear comfortable clothes. Have spare clothes handy. Take your shoes off. Take pillows and blankets. Give them their own cameras (disposables are preferred) so they can document “their” adventure. I could go on and on but I would love to hear some of your ideas.
Lastly, my all time best Secret Weapon to stop that bored, “Are we there yet?” question (especially when my kids were younger), was to give them a map and highlight pen to mark our progress as we traveled. I would get them involved and make them my navigator and ask them when I needed to make the next turn. The secret is to get them involved in the adventure, and not be just a passenger!
I hope this blog, and everyone’s comments, helps you make your next “Road Trip” one to remember.