Jacksonville Kids' Directory Blog

Traveling With Your Kids This Summer? 9 Tips for An Awesome Road Trip

Hitting the road is always a great way to kick off a summer full of adventures. However, trying to drive with a car full of kids and your luggage can get more than a little crazy. Since the last thing you need is to give up before the fun even begins, use these road-tested tips to ensure that everyone gets to enjoy your family’s time together on the road.

Plan Your Route Carefully
Making good time may be your priority, but it is important to relax a little bit when you are traveling with kids. Spend some time looking at your route to determine good spots along the way where your kids can burn off some energy while the grownups stretch their legs. City parks are always a great place to stop, and fast food restaurant playgrounds work well for letting the kids run on a rainy day. While it may take you a little longer to reach your destination, stopping for breaks will keep those backseat arguments to a minimum.

Mix Screen Time With Classic Road Games
Road trips today are much easier than they were in the past now that you can give your kids a tablet or smartphone to keep them occupied. However, your kids staring at a screen with headphones on leaves very little room for making memories together as a family. Consider setting a timer, and plan games to play in between your kids movies and web browsing. For instance, you could play license plate BINGO or do an on-the-road scavenger hunt. A few classic road trip games will get the conversation flowing while also helping to create a fun memory of your time together in the car.

Pack Lots of Snacks
Keeping those little tummies full is a big part of avoiding meltdowns among your backseat passengers. Pack lots of finger foods that your kids can eat without creating too much of a mess. Crackers, pretzels and fruit are a few options that will allow your kids to feel some control over those hunger pangs. You can also make each of your kids a little snack kit with an assortment of bags containing their favorite snacks so that all they have to do is reach in and find what they want when they get hungry.

Avoid Crayons
Sure, it makes sense that coloring would be a great activity to keep your kids occupied during hours of driving. However, you will want to be aware that crayons can melt and leave behind a waxy mess in your backseat if you travel to anywhere that is warm. Instead, consider giving your kids colored pencils to draw with or special markers that do not leave behind stains unless they are used on the correct type of paper.

Carry an Assortment of Plastic Bags
While you may prefer to recycle, plastic bags are your friend during a family road trip with young kids. Carry a few grocery shopping bags along with the classic plastic sandwich bags. These can be used for everything from distributing snacks to holding wet clothing after a spill. Plastic bags also work great for trash containers that your kids can reach from their seat. Simply attach it to the edge of their car seat, and let your kids throw away their things as needed.

Give Your Little Ones a Camera
Older kids tend to have cameras on their smartphones, but preschoolers can also get a chance to document their journey when you put a camera in their hands. Cheap disposable cameras work well, or you can look for kid-friendly digital ones that your kids can use to take pictures and upload them to your computer once you get home. The excitement that they feel about being able to put together their own album will keep them happily snapping away at the scenery for hours.

Bring Along Comfort Items
At some point, most kids will fall asleep in the car, and you can increase the odds of them getting a good nap or a full night’s sleep by including their favorite comfort items on your packing list. Give your kids a pillow, blanket and stuffed animal that they can use to snuggle with when they get tired. Noise-canceling headphones may also be effective for helping your kids rest if their siblings are being loud.

Stick to a Fairly Normal Routine
It’s harder to do things like eat and sleep on a schedule when you are on the road, but it is possible to keep your kids on somewhat of a normal routine. Make sure to bring along their travel-sized toiletries so that they can have a bath and brush their teeth like they normally do in the evening if you stop at a hotel. If not, your kids can still accomplish toothbrushing at their next stop. You can also read a bedtime story if you are not the only person driving. Including little parts of their daily routine will give younger kids a sense of comfort, and it makes it far easier to get back on schedule once you return home.

Dress Your Kids Comfortably
Naturally, you want your kids to look cute in all of those roadside stop pictures. However, your kids should also be dressed in comfortable clothing that minimizes any whining from the back about how their pants are too tight. Choose pants and shorts with elastic waistbands that allow kids to quickly get in and out of the restrooms for pit stops. You might also opt to dress your kids in layers if you anticipate temperature changes along the route. This also prevents wars being started over who has control over the car’s heater or air conditioner knob.

This season, plan a summer to remember with a road trip that leads to unforgettable experiences. While you can’t control everything that happens on the road, you can use some strategic planning to keep everyone happy as they ride along in the back seat. By incorporating these ideas, your kids will only have beautiful memories of the time you spent together on your family’s summer vacation.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Documents International LLC, a leading apostille service for individuals and businesses.

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Discussion: Traveling With Your Kids This Summer? 9 Tips for An Awesome Road Trip

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