Road trips have long been a great American pastime, with more than a third of people planning a cross-country trip with their families each year. While road trips are a great way to explore as you travel, spending that long cooped up in a car can be difficult for kids and dads alike.
It’s vital that you plan ahead in both your choice of road trip vehicle as well as the packing to make sure you have everything that you need to keep the kids happy even on long or uneventful legs of your trip. As long as your passengers are safe, well-fed, and entertained, you can expect smooth sailing for the entire duration of your next family road trip.
Don’t Skimp on Snacks
A little bit of food or some juice can work wonders on a cranky kid. You should bring a fully stocked cooler along on your vacation that includes your kids’ favorite healthy snacks. Foods with plenty of proteins such as trail mix or jerky are both great choices for keeping everybody full and happy between meals. You should also pack beverages, but try to avoid anything too sugary. It’s best to stick with water and sugar-free juice.
Plan for Playtime
After a few hours of watching the scenery go by, most kids start to get bored. And, as all parents know, no good comes from an antsy child in the back seat. To keep your kids happy and yourself sane, it’s a good idea to bring plenty of activities for everyone in the car. You can supply your kids with books, colors, stickers, and toys, or you can download some fun games and apps that they can play on a phone or tablet.
Always Prepare for the Worst
While it might seem like a bit of a pessimistic mindset, it’s important that you’re well prepared for any emergencies you might encounter while out on the road. If you have an accident or an injury, it can take time for help to reach you. You should be able to handle most worst-case scenarios solo while you wait for assistance. The most important things to include in your emergency pack are:
- An emergency cell phone and charger
- A fully stocked first aid kit
- A fire extinguisher
- Reflective warning triangles
- A tire gauge
- Foam tire sealant or a spare tire and jack
- Jumper cables
- A flashlight
- Batteries and chargers
- Duct tape
- Towing tools
- A utility knife
- Extra clothing and blankets
- A stuffed animal or two
If you’re thinking about taking a road trip with the family, you need to be prepared. If you forget to pack something essential, it can throw your entire vacation off-kilter. With a little bit of planning, you can ensure that your family is safe, sated, and entertained during your trip.