Family road trips have been “a thing” for years and years, and I hope they always are. Some of my fondest memories as a child are from road trips. Sometimes lots of hours in a car may seem like a pain in the ass, but you always end up having fun and creating happy memories. I hope these tips help you and your family have lots of successful road trips in the future.
1. Don’t forget devices! Sure, it reminds you of your own iPad-free childhood to make your kids sing along to the radio or simply stare out the window during long car rides. But, let’s be honest. If there’s ever a time for devices, it’s during a 6-hour car ride. So, okay. Make ’em stare out the window at the cows a little bit. Then reward peacefulness with some screen time when they start to get antsy. Bonus tip: have the kiddos wear headsets so that the grown-ups can still listen to what they want on the car stereo.
2. Go easy on the liquids. My husband and I like to joke that it’s best to let our children be mildly dehydrated during road trips so that we don’t have to stop for a restroom break a million times. 🙂 I’m not saying you should actually dehydrate your children. But I am saying that there’s no need to hand over a big ass sippy cup full of juice for them to have constant free access to. I like to keep some water for my kiddos near me and let them have supervised sips here and there.
3. Throw out the trash. Every single time you stop at a store or gas station, throw trash in the garbage can. Get it out of the car ASAP. If you let it build up for the entire trip, not only will it be a mess, but if there was any cooked food involved, your car will continue to smell the entire trip.
4. Plan an activity for day one. I know, I know. You’ve been in the car for a while, and all you want to do is plop down on the hotel bed. But if you resist the urge to do that you’ll get a lot more out of your time. After all, the car ride already took up a lot of your precious vacation time. So, if your car ride wasn’t super long and you arrive at your destination before hotel check-in, head straight to a nearby attraction (something simple) or even just a fun lunch. If your ride was longer and you’re arriving at or after hotel check-in time, go ahead and get checked in. Once you’ve unpacked, head out to do something fun close by or to a delicious dinner or even just to wander around the hotel property if it’s pretty late.
5. Plan an activity for the ride home. When I was a kid, the trip home was always such a bummer. The vacation was basically over with, and we were going back to the real world. Borrrrring. But if you plan something for the trip back home, not only will it make your return journey more exciting, but its another great way to use time wisely. Whether you take a slight detour to a cool attraction or even just stop at for a special meal, squeezing in one more fun thing will help your family road trip end with smiles.