Surviving A Road Trip With Your Kids

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Guest Blogger, David Moss

Road trips are a great way for a family to have fun together. A chance for everyone to spend a little bit of time together and experience an adventure at the same time. However, while there is no reason why this endeavor shouldn’t be an epic adventure for all involved, it can quickly turn into a nightmare if it isn’t adequately planned and that is why this article was written.

I am going to go over some of the steps you need to take to make sure that your road trip is the adventure it is meant to be. Following these guidelines can be the difference between your family members having the time of their lives or feeling like they just had to endure a huge punishment.

1. Safety Comes First

Before you even begin your road trip, you should ensure that the car is in good working condition. Check all of its fluids (oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, wiper solution) and make sure you pack extra oil and antifreeze. Proper vehicle maintenance will prevent the car from breaking down and leaving you and your kids stranded by the side of the road.

Make sure that you pack an emergency car kit, a first aid kit, a cell phone charger and a flashlight. After you check those items, you should then check the child safety seat and make sure it is in proper working condition.

2. Pack Properly

Make sure that when you pack the things you’ll need for the trip, you do so strategically. Things that you are going to use on a regular basis (such as snacks or drinks) should be placed on top and things that are going to be used less frequently—or not likely used at all—should be placed on the bottom.

3. Packing Snacks & Drinks

Packing food and drinks prevents you from having to make multiple stops and gives your children something to keep them occupied. When packing snacks, you’ll want to make sure that you choose foods that not only will travel well, but also ones that are fairly healthy. After all, you don’t want the children to get all hyped up on sugar and bounce all over the car while you are trying to drive. You’ll also want to avoid packing foods that are too messy—such as some fruits and yogurt. Items that fit this description often include string cheeses, dried fruits, nuts, sandwiches, beef or turkey jerky, granola bars, cheese crackers and whole grain cereals.

Also make sure that you pack plenty of drinks for the trip. Suitable drinks for a road trip are anything with a re-closable lid such as water, coconut water or sports drinks. Be sure to avoid drinks that can be easily spilled such as cans of soda or juice boxes.

4. Think Of Seating

One thing that is often overlooked on road trips is seating. Too often parents don’t think strategically when it comes to their children’s seating. For example, siblings who have a tendency to fight should be placed apart from each other—if at all possible. If that’s not feasible, then at least place some pillows between them to create the feeling of separation. It is also a good idea to place one of the parents or some other adult back with the children during an extended road trip to keep everything under control and also to make sure that the children’s drink and snack needs are quickly taken care of.

5. Planning Travel Time

Another important tip to consider is planning your travel time around your child’s sleep schedule. Some people like to travel at their children’s bedtime. However, this works only if the parents aren’t too tired or sleepy to drive late at night. Taking the time to plan your trip around your child’s sleep time can mean the difference between a successful trip and an unsuccessful one.

6. Entertainment

You should make sure that entertainment for everyone in the car is provided. Entertainment options should be things that everyone can enjoy as a group. Suitable entertainment can include music, audio books, coloring books, and travel board games that don’t have a lot of small pieces.

If possible bring along a book of road trip games. These kind of books will familiarize you with such timeless road trip games as ‘I Spy’, “The Grocery Game’, ‘Name That Tune’ and ‘Road Trip Bingo.’

You can also bring your child’s tablet, portable game system or headphones. However, this should be given to them only when all other entertainment options have been exhausted, as a last resort, so to speak. After all, you don’t want a car ride where everyone is looking down at digital screens instead of interacting with each other.

7. Regular Stops

It is imperative that regular stops are made. A regular stop can mean checking out a roadside attraction or having a bite to eat at a restaurant. It doesn’t matter what activity is being done, what’s important is that everyone gets out of the car for a few moments, stretches their legs and gets their circulation pumping. This can be done every few hours, or if necessary, more often. And there’s no need to stick with a rigid schedule as far as stops are concerned either. If everyone’s getting on each other’s nerves, then taking a stop can go a long way in improving everyone’s mood. It can also help to keep the driver fresh and alert.

Nowadays, too many people think of a road trip as just the journey to a destination. A way to get from point “A” to point “B.” However, that doesn’t have to be the case. With proper planning and thought, the family road trip can be its own adventure. It can give the family a chance to bond and have fun together; all while experiencing new people and places. Few activities can rival a road trip in this regard and that is why it will always be the quintessential family activity, as it has been since the invention of the automobile.

Author’s Bio:

Born and raised in Detroit, David Moss had no choice but to become a car enthusiast. His mother swears his first word was “car”.  As a young freelance writer, he is on a mission to turn his passion for cars into a career. You can reach him at @DavidCMoss 

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Guest Post from Samantha Tung at Caliber Collision

Do you have a family road trip coming up and thinking about it makes you anxious? That is definitely a normal feeling, but don’t worry – this post has got you covered to minimize those worries. Sometimes traveling with young children can be stressful, tiring and exhausting. However, just think about those awesome memories you will make along the way. Read through some tips below to have the best road trip with your family!

Image courtesy of Ryan McGuire at pixabay.com6 Road Trip Tips for Parents

Image courtesy of Ryan McGuire at pixabay.com

  1. Pack All the Essentials

You don’t want to get to your destination and realize that you have forgotten something. Of course you can go purchase something if you’ve forgotten an item, but that is a way to waste money. Make sure you pack enough clothes, toiletries, and toys if you are traveling with little ones. You don’t want to forget their favorite blankie or toy back at home.

Since you will be traveling in the car, pack some mess-friendly snacks that your kids can enjoy while riding along. You can use a cereal container for use as a trash can so your car doesn’t accumulate lots of trash along the way. Don’t forget electronics along with chargers so you can document your trip as well.

Also, be sure to check the weather forecast so you can pack accordingly. Don’t forget a light jacket even if you’re going somewhere very warm; restaurants tend to be really cool.

  1. Check Your Vehicle

Before getting on the road before a road trip, it is crucial that you take the time to check your car. A car check can help prevent a lot of stress and help you arrive to your final destination without car problems. Be sure to check out your engine, headlights, tires (tire pressure), air and cabin filters, brakes, oil, and anything else you may need If you would like to get a second opinion, schedule a checkup at your favorite auto service center.

Along the same lines as a car checkup, you’re going to want to make sure you have a spare tire packed as well as an emergency kit that includes jumper cables, tools, flashlight, first-aid kit, etc. Since you will be spending a lot of time on the road in order to get to your destination, it is important you keep your precious cargo safe and secure!

  1. Plan and Prepare

Take time to plan and prepare the details and aspects of your road trip. Since you will be traveling with children, you might deal with a lot of stops to use the restroom or just for them to stretch their legs. Try not to plan too much but it can help to plan around stops you might make along the way. For example, if there’s a fun activity in a city you might pass through along the way to your destination, you might want to stop there to rest, have fun, and refuel.

Another part of your trip to prepare for is to keep your kids entertained. Hang a shoe organizer on the back of a seat. Since your kids will likely get bored and keep asking “are we there yet?” they can entertain themselves with loads of fun items stored right in front of them!

  1. Play Travel Games

Playing games in the car can definitely help pass the time when you’re on a long road trip. As we all know, kids get bored pretty easily and it is part of our jobs as parents to keep them entertained. Check out some of the best car games for kids like I Spy, the license plate game, and hangman.

The more activities you have prepared for your little ones, the easier and more relaxing your trip will be.

  1. Let Your Kids in on the Activity Planning

Instead of just planning the whole trip yourself, give your children some activity options so they can feel like they are a part of the process too. The kids are guaranteed to have more fun if they have a bit of a say in the trip and you know they will enjoy the activity if they’ve chosen it. Maybe even allow them to pick a restaurant one night or a dessert shop! Kids like to feel like their opinions matter too! J

  1. HAVE FUN

This is probably the most important tip to remember when taking a road trip. In the midst of all the traveling and planning, you can’t forget that you are making memories that you and your family will cherish for years to come. So, snap all the pictures you can, because your kids aren’t little ones forever! Enjoy your time together and have a blast!

Samantha Tung handles online media relations for Caliber Collision. She regularly produces content for a variety of lifestyle and automotive blogs, and in her spare time, she enjoys taking road trips and traveling.

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5 Tips When Traveling With Kids

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Whether you are a frequent traveler or rarely make it out of town, the thought of traveling with your kids could put a damper on the whole experience. However, if you are well prepared for road trip or plane ride, you may be shocked by how smoothly it could go.

Here are 5 great tips to make your travel experience enjoyable with little ones.

1. Pack Entertainment: Each child should have their own source of endless activities that could be played in a small space. Crayons, action figurines, journals, handheld games, cars, play dough, playing cards, are a few ideas. Sometimes rummaging through the house to find activities that they haven’t played with in a long time will spark their interest or purchase a few times at a dollar store.

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2. Pack for Downtime: IPads and portable dvd players with their favorite movies or TV shows. Sometimes purchasing a new movie right before the trip will hold their attention span longer. Also think about books, music, headphones, blankets, pacifiers and stuffed animals. They may feel so relaxed that they take a nap.

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3. Snack Attack: Low blood sugar will cause kids to go haywire. Make sure you pack enough snacks and drinks, both healthy and sweet to get them through the trip. Lollipops and gum are useful tricks to help ease ear discomfort for a plane’s takeoff and landing.

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4. Cleanliness and Comfort: Before sitting down and getting comfortable on the plane seat, wipe and sanitize everything that your kids would touch with antibacterial wipes. Germs are everywhere and the plane could be a petri-dish for it all. Remember to wipe the seat belts, arm rests, drop down table and window. Also pack extra clothes for yourself and the kids. Spills and accidents may occur and a change of clothes would be necessary.

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5. Move Around: Getting up and moving around will help a child’s mind and body feel better. Take frequent stops from a long car ride or a short walk down the plane’s aisle. They will get a chance to explore, stretch and make it easier for them to sit down for the homestretch.

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It may seem like a lot to pack for a carry on or within arms reach in the car, but it is well worth it. Enjoy and safe travels!

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