A family road trip can be the time of your life, or the worst trip of your life. Hunger, boredom, fighting, and stiff muscles can make car rides with kids miserable. Traveling with kids, though, can also be a memorable experience for everyone. There are several things to consider when going on a family road trip.
A successful family road trip is one that is properly planned. Keep your destination in mind and plan the route you are going to take. Pack an atlas or road map in case you get lost. Give a family member or friend a copy of your itinerary, and let them know when to expect you to return. In may not be pleasant to think about, but things can happen.
Keep the long stretches of driving to a minimum. Driving straight through on a family road trip may be fun for the adults, but children need to recuperate. Book your hotels ahead of time, and plan on stopping at a reasonable hour. Sleeping on the side of the road is not an option when you are on a family road trip.
Don't overschedule your activities on the family road trip. Young children quickly become overstimulated and will reach burnout. Allow some time for children to play in an unstructured atmosphere, like a park. The children will be recharged afterwards and ready to cooperate.
Pack a large amount of snacks that are kept within easy reach of the children. Hungry children will become cranky, making the family road trip miserable for everyone involved. Make sure there is a variety of snacks that everyone, including the adults, will enjoy. Keep water and juice handy to wash down the snacks.
Pack any necessary items that toddlers or young children may need. If you are in the process of potty training, pack a potty chair and wipes, as well as lots of changes of clothes. It may be a good idea to put your toddler in disposable training pants to prevent a wet car seat. Children can't always hold it until you find a bathroom. Bring extra bottles and sippy cups, as well, in case some get misplaced.
Plan plenty or rest stops for everyone to stretch their legs. Stop at a park or down by the lake, or river, where everyone can roam. Play a game of football so the adults and kids can relieve some pent-up energy. The key is so have fun and bond as a family. Don't make the trip so rushed that it becomes miserable.