Traveling in the car with kids can be stressful at times, but with the right planning it can actually be a smooth affair. While it also depends on the temperament of your kids and how comfortable they are in the car, there are steps you can take to maximize comfort and minimize distress.
Packing is of the utmost importance when it comes to a road trip. For example, if you think you’ve packed enough, pack a bit more. It’s always good to take extras because you never know when you might run out. This applies to everything from clothing to underwear and other necessities. If you have the space, bring additional supplies—just in case.
Also, try to pack smart. Rather than cram everything into large cases or bags, pack easily accessible items into smaller packing cubes or cases. This means that you won’t be rummaging through larger compartments trying to find essentials. If you arrive at your destination late in the evening, this type of packing will mean less hassle and some extra shut-eye.
As well as packing your essentials, there will be smaller items that fall onto the “don’t forget list.” This includes headphones for the kids, extra battery packs or chargers for cell phones, and entertainment devices, as well as first-aid kits and any other contingency items you can think of. You may even want to pack a travel potty if your kids are between the ages of 2 and 4. By keeping convenience in mind, you can make your road trip a smooth and painless one.
Plan the Kids’ Entertainment
Keeping kids entertained in the car can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as your kids don’t get motion sickness, electronic devices are fantastic ways to pass the time. Whether it’s a set of feature films or educational games for kids, these can be pre-loaded onto their device for hours of entertainment.
However, you may also want to plan for non-electronic entertainment, too. Getting your kids to be imaginative without the aid of a device is not only healthy, but it helps develop their brains. Traditional car games such as “I Spy” and “The Alphabet Game” are a lot of fun and can get the whole family involved.
Don’t Scrimp on Snacks
Snacking on a road trip can be almost as much fun as the trip itself. Inevitably, though, you’ll run out faster than intended and you never know when you might be hungry—and miles away from the next rest stop. As a general rule, pack double what you think you might need. It’s also important to pack snacks that are healthy and less sugary so that your kids don’t become hyperactive monsters. A mixture of fruit, nuts, and dried foods such as popcorn, crackers, and protein bars will go a long way.
Plan for Comfort
Traveling in comfort means packing pillows and blankets for your kids. You definitely want to avoid your kids becoming irritable and uncomfortable after several hours in the back seat. Planning for comfort also means taking frequent breaks and pit stops along the way. While it may be tempting to get to your destination as quickly as possible, taking your time and giving your kids a break means that they’ll be less cranky.