SoCal Families | Tips For a Successful Family Road Trip
By: Jamie Durante
Family road trips are some of the fondest memories many of us hold onto, so it's only natural we want to share these exploratory experiences with our chidlren. However, traveling with children is not always easy . . . especially if you come unprepared. Luckily there are tricks to making it easier without having to glue each child to a tablet for eight hours straight. If you have a road trip coming up in the near future, here are seven tips on screen-free road tripping with kids.
Don’t hit the road without a general game plan. First off, you should know where you’re going and how long it will take to get there. If you plan on sightseeing during your journey, try to find stops where you can also fuel up and eat nearby. If you pack a lunch in a cooler—even better! No matter what you plan, make time for your child to stretch their legs and run when necessary. Also, if you have young children, it’s good to factor their naptime into your planning.
2. Audio Books
Dazing out the window in route through an inspiring, new landscape is best complimented by a captivating story you don’t have to read. Become entranced by a new world as a family by listening to an audio book the whole family will enjoy, and a follow-up with a discussion on the book. You could keep minds soaring through their imaginations for hours.
3. Healthy Snacks & Hydration
Packing snacks will save money in the long run, but if you choose to munch while pulling over to rest stops along the way, choose the healthiest options available. Try to bring along organic fruit pouches, trail mix, yogurt, fruit, water and other necessities.
Toddlers and young children might enjoy simple games like spotting a “blue car” or “cow,” while older children might enjoy a game of trivia. You can relate trivia questions to subjects their studying in school, facts about relatives or even something funny about yourself.
5. Toys and Noise
Little ones are distracted for at least five minutes (if you’re lucky) by books that recite the alphabet, dolls that wiggle and sing-along microphones playing a clip of "Let it Go" a trillion times. Those ages 10 and over prefer a play list of their favorite songs, and maybe you can throw some hits from the 2000s in there just to bring back the oldies. They’ll thank you later.
Don’t forget to secure tunes for yourself. Especially when you’re road tripping, you’re not guaranteed to have any type of internet throughout the journey, so bring something more reliable. Download your music onto your phone, and if you have to buy a CD, just do it already. Make it happen!
It is as simple as this—sing a song! Whether it’s something like, “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” with hand gestures or “Hello” by Adele, there is something for everyone on the road. Your family is one of the only crowds where you can act beyond ridiculous without any serious repercussions. They love you, so have fun.
7. "Emergency" Kit
This might be your most creative tool on the road. While bandages and baby wipes are emergency kit essentials, the biggest tool you have is being able to switch it up when things get a little hectic. Whether it's a brand-new toy or your child's favorite treat, sometimes you need a backup to keep them content until the next safe place to pull over. Use sparingly, but don’t forget it is always okay to find a safe place to pull over where everyone can stretch their legs and explore a bit . . . Local attraction photo op, anyone?