Spring is here, and that means traveling is no longer as scary as it was during this long winter. And if you and the kids are just itching to get out on the road for some sun and fun, you are in good company. Taking road trips with the kids takes some preparation and planning. Keep it simple and tailor the trip to accommodate your children’s needs. That way, once you finally arrive back home, you are all still a happy family.
Chances are, you know some rugged individualist who thinks that packing technology for the ride ruins the sense of togetherness that a family trip can bring. After all, who can resist another rousing chorus of, “Are We There Yet?” But if you want to keep your sanity, you should use what works. If your kids are accustomed to using tablets or smartphones, don’t feel bad about taking them along. When you start working on your packing list, take the time to download some fun, age-appropriate travel games that will get the whole family working together. But, don’t forget the chargers!
The major feature of road trips, of course, is the driving. You may pass through snow-capped mountains, dense forests, plains or even deserts in a matter of days. And at some point, you may be sitting behind the wheel or in the passenger seat, wondering if you will ever get there. Just be glad if you are not trekking through the Trans-Labrador Highway in eastern Canada, with 250 miles between service checkpoints.
An easy way to prevent unpleasant surprises is to check out a map of your planned itinerary. You can look at the best places to stop and make sure that you aren’t on the road for extended stretches without a break. And when you’re going on longer drives, try to schedule some fun breaks for the kids. That way, you can keep them eager for the next opportunity.
At some point on road trips, you need a break. Dang, that rest stop is closed for repairs! Now, what do you do? Hopefully, you’ve downloaded a map to your smartphone so that you can browse it offline if you’re in an area with spotty network service. Otherwise, you might find yourself on one of these roads with 30-40 miles or more between exits. The only thing worse than, “Are we there yet?” is, “I gotta go!” for a solid half-hour. And pulling over onto the highway shoulder in the middle of nowhere is never a good idea, especially at night.
The best way to stay safe and sane during road trips is to keep everyone in the car happy. The kids in the back need to be reasonably well-rested, but comfortable enough that they could drop off for a nap if they need to. The passenger should be able to read a map or help manage the kids, should they get rowdy. The driver, of course, is the most important. Most people function better behind the wheel with plenty of rest, frequent breaks, snacks and drinks, and minimal distraction from the back seat. In places like Highway 550 in Colorado, you do not want the driver to lose their cool.
Too many people argue that it’s too hard to travel with kids. And yet, it can be done with a little extra work. Road trips widen the world for the whole family, especially children. And if you invest into the experience, you’ll find it gets easier over time. But for heaven’s sake, keep the tablets charged! Check out our charging range.