A road trip – at home or abroad – can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. It gives you the opportunity to get off the beaten track and explore places you wouldn’t necessarily visit otherwise.
But travelling with young kids brings its own set of challenges. Here are five ways you can make it less stressful – and more fun – for everyone:
- Make sure you take regular breaks.
When you’re road tripping without kids, it’s not uncommon to do an eight-hour stretch in one go, just to get you to the next destination. This isn’t advisable when travelling with small children, who simply can’t sit still for that long. Make sure you plan your journey in manageable chunks. Aim to be on the road for no more than a couple of hours at a time – aiming for a maximum travel time of no more than four hours each day.
If you have a long stretch you need to cover, consider breaking it up overnight, or take a long pause in the middle of the journey. Go for a short hike, and give the children time to burn off some energy and play.
- Get the timing right.
If your children still nap, aim to get the bulk of your car journey done when they’re likely to sleep, or consider driving after bedtime. This will make the drive pass by more quickly for all concerned.
Obviously, there might be things you don’t want your children to miss out on along the way – or you might plan to take a break to check out an attraction along the way. Whatever your plan, remember that your kids have needs too, and plan the journey time to suit them.
- Be patient.
Remember, children are less able to control their impulses than we are. If something is boring them, or they feel uncomfortable, they’re likely to play up or act out. This isn’t them misbehaving – they’re simply expressing their emotions in the only way they know how.
Try to empathise with them. Let them know you understand how frustrating it is and that you’re bored too. Get them excited about the destination by planning what you’re going to do when you get there, and let them know the journey is an essential part of making that happen.
- Make the car journey fun.
The key to a successful road trip with small children is all in the preparation. You need to take things with you to make the car journey fun. When planning your route, try to work out how many new activities you will need to keep them occupied.
This will depend entirely on their age group – but could consist of an activity pack, as well as fun games the whole family can play along the way. And if all else fails? There’s nothing wrong with resorting to technology if it keeps everyone happy.
- Don’t forget snacks.
We all know small children love snacks! Make it a priority to load the car up with delicious treats the whole family can enjoy along the way. Recommended food items include nuts, cottage cheese, and hard-boiled eggs travel really well – and provide your children with the nutrition they need to stay healthy along the way.
We’re sure if you follow these tips, you’ll have an epic family road trip that will create a lifetime of memories for you and your children.
Disclaimer: This is a collaboration post.