Road tripping with children can be quite the adventure, and sometimes it’s not quite the adventure you had hoped to experience. Preparation is key when you’re planning to travel long distances with children.
You should already know that they will find every weakness in your travel plan, and exploit it with sad faces, whiny pleas for more, and plenty of extra stops. You have to be focused. Here are a few ways to get one up on the kids, and be the prep expert you always knew you could be.
Food is an essential part of survival
Clearly, you have to pack snacks for a happy road trip. Pack as many vital snacks as is feasible for the cargo space in your vehicle. You don’t want to spend half of your vacation budget buying expensive, unhealthy gas station snacks.
Pack healthy, tasty snacks to keep the kids interested; that means not too much of one item. You’re not packing for the SHTF survival scenarios. Don’t burn them out on soggy PB&J sandwiches. Your goal is to make them happy, not car sick.
Entertainment requires plenty of forethought
Digital entertainment will help pass a whole lot of time when you’re riding for long hours in the car. The object of the game is to never let the kids have too much down time, but don’t have them burnt out on video screens by the halfway mark.
Make sure you pack an alternate power source for charging, if your vehicle isn’t equipped with ports. During digital down time, try to engage the whole family in low-tech road trip games. The internet is filled with creative ideas for such a time.
Plan potty breaks strategically
Going to the bathroom can’t always be a planned stop, but you can make certain adjustments to your plan which will minimize random potty breaks. Make sure all of the kids go to the restroom after a meal. Even if they don’t “have” to go, everyone goes potty.
Another crafty breaking method is to always stop for potty breaks at rest stops. This will help you avoid the appeal of gas station treats. Your kids will get some fresh air, a clean restroom, and you’ll be on the road again in no time.
Bring the comfort of home
Before ever leaving for your journey, ask each child to grab their most precious comfort article from home. A favorite blanket, favorite stuffed animal, or their favorite pillow are all great examples.
Pack the car for accessibility
Pay attention when you’re packing the vehicle. Everything has to be strategic when you’re traveling with the whole family, so make sure the snacks and fresh underpants are where you can easily reach them.