Road trips with the whole family can be used as bonding opportunities for the kids and their parents. However, they can also bring some stress even at times when the kids are in their best behavior. Here are some ways to get rid of the stress and inject some fun for the whole gang throughout the trip.
1. Distract Everyone with Entertainment. Alleviate boredom by bringing along lots of props to keep everyone entertained. Parents with little kids can bring books, toys, mini-game consoles, portable DVDs with CDs of their favorite movies, mp3 loaded with music that everyone can sing along with, or audio books that they can listen to as they watch the scenery pass. Some playing cards or travel board games that require kids to interact with each other while playing is also a good option for long distance drives.
2. Prepare a well stocked snack box for the trip. Hunger can make kids cranky and impatient, and sometimes even adults too. Once the little ones start getting irritable the adults usually get stressed, and a trip can sometimes go downhill from there. Make sure that you have enough water or juice and healthy snacks that the kids can munch on during the trip. Stay away from caffeinated drinks or you might find yourself going to frequent toilet trips, and sugary food with additives as it can increase energy levels of the kids and make them more anxious. A good mix of healthy food and drinks is essential for a pleasant road trip. Remember, a well packed snack hamper keeps hunger at bay.
3. No speeding and no to rush hour trips. Take an easy drive by avoiding the rush hour traffic. Getting stuck in these snail pace jams is enough to stress everyone else in the car. The usual tendency is to make up for the lost time in traffic by speeding on less crowded roads. Speeding can put your passengers’ life in danger and it also consumes more fuel. The benefit on the other hand is just a few minutes of travel time saved.
4. Have a well-organized plan for the road trip. The last thing you want to happen in a road trip is to find yourself in the middle of nowhere with no idea on what to do next. Carefully plan the trip itinerary and routes that you’ll be taking, including alternative ones, so you can avoid bottlenecks or traffic prone areas and get to your destinations faster. Gear up on navigational tools so you can easily find your way around in case of changes in the itinerary.
5. Have your vehicle checked for safety or road worthiness. Proper car maintenance and regular service tune-ups is an important responsibility of car owners. But even a well maintained vehicle needs to be checked thoroughly before any long trip. This will reduce the chances of a breakdown during the trip and minimize accidents due to faulty car mechanisms. Thoroughly check the tires, batteries, oil and water. Also check the condition of the seat belt and other safety features, wipers, air-con, heaters, and everything else that you need to make the journey more comfortable for everyone.
A first road trip with the whole family is usually a memorable experience that everyone will cherish. Some families even make a tradition out of it until the children move-out of the house. These simple tips can help you in making your own family road trips more fun and less stressful.