Whether you’re a first-time road-tripper or you’ve made many a trek across the country, there’s one thing that can definitely add a whole new level of planning and stress to a cross-country drive: kids. Traveling with kids can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be! Whether you’re planning a road-trip vacation or preparing for a cross-country move, you can take time to check out our tips and tricks for traveling with kids and make sure you and your family is as prepared as possible and ready to have a good time.
Start safe: The most important thing when traveling with your kids is making sure that they’re safe. If your kids are still using car seats, make sure that the seat you have is in good shape and that they haven’t outgrown it. For children who are too big for car seats, you may still want to look into booster seats or seatbelt adjusters. These things can help kids who are too big for car seats but a little too small for regular seats fit more snugly, and be more effectively secured by adult-sized seatbelts. Over long drives, your children may start to complain about their seatbelt being uncomfortable, but it’s incredibly important to keep them bucked at all times. You can often find seatbelt pads online or in auto parts stores to make wearing a safety belt more comfortable.
Get them excited: You may not be able to let your kids pick the ultimate destination of your road trip, but you can still include them in the planning. Look up attractions along your route and let your kids pick out a few that they want to stop at. Not only will this make your kids feel more like they’re making the decision to take the trip, but it gives you built-in progress markers along the way. When trying to appease antsy riders asking, “how much longer?” or “How close are we?” saying that you’re three hours from the dinosaur museum sounds a lot better than three days from the destination.
Snacks are key: Everyone knows that one of the leading causes of grumpiness is hunger. The last thing you need on a road trip is for one of your kids to say, “I’m hungry” when you’re an hour and a half from the nearest drive-through and all out of snacks. Be sure to pack plenty of food and drinks for the road, and stop at a grocery store to restock if need be. Pre-portioned foods that are easy to eat, like carrot sticks, fruit snacks, cheerios, and crackers, are a must-have, and some of the safest options as far as keeping your back seat clean. Still worried about your back seat getting messy during the drive? Our friends with Pearson Chrysler Jeep recommend the Chrysler Pacifica minivan to families, and say that the available Stow n’ Vac in-car vacuum makes cleaning up after your kids a breeze.
Take your time: While you’re probably working on some kind of schedule, make sure you budget in plenty of time for pulling over and getting out of the car. Getting out to grab some fresh air and stretch your legs will make a huge difference for your kids and for you. Look for interesting or scenic places to pull over and explore a little, or pack a frisbee or ball for some quick fun and exercise at a rest stop. Getting out of the car for a little bit can drastically improve everyone’s mood, and you never know, one of the places you decide to pull over might end up being one of your favorite parts of the trip!
If you’re preparing for a road trip with your family, don’t stress! Keep these tips in mind as you plan your trip, and make sure that both you and your kids can have a great time along the drive!