A road trip is one of the best ways to travel when you have kids. They’re already used to riding in the car, so the method of traveling isn’t out of the ordinary for them. It also gives everyone the opportunity to sight-see along the way and provides the option of taking a look around towns you wouldn’t typically stop in otherwise.
However, before you set out on a road trip, you’ll need to be prepared to ensure your travels go smoothly. When you have younger kids, it’s especially important to have the car well-stocked with supplies for the trip, as well as toys to keep your children entertained. If you aren’t sure of the best way to begin prepping, the following road trip hacks can help!
- Pre-pack Healthy Snacks
Finding a place to stop for quick, healthy food is always difficult on the road, so before you head out, pre-pack some snacks. Depending on the distance you’re traveling, a cooler isn’t going to be necessary. Instead, pack food in lunch bags that are insulated.
Lunch bags will be easier to access for the whole family, and by freezing juice boxes to bring along for the trip, you’ll not only keep the contents of each bag cool for a longer period, but you’ll also have cold drinks available for your kids when the juice boxes defrost.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are great to pack for the ride too; washing and drying them in advance will ensure they keep long enough to be enjoyed during the trip. Almond or other nut butters can be easily paired with celery or carrot sticks and apple slices; single serving packets of your children’s favorites can be purchased for added convenience.
- Map Out Stops to Stretch
Having the opportunity to burn off excess energy during road trips is important for kids, and it’s often essential for younger children who are more likely to get fussy when riding in the car for a long time.
Before you leave town, take some time to map out some stops that are easily accessible along the way. Check city websites for fun events or local attractions your family will enjoy.
State parks, for example, can be good spots to stop to let your children stretch their legs for a bit and take a walk around. Bringing along outdoor toys, such as Frisbees, footballs or jump ropes, can also make stops more enjoyable. Your kids can get more exercise after sitting for hours.
- Keep Mobile Devices Handy
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets should be kept on hand, along with portable power banks to charge them on the go. These gadgets can provide some entertainment for your kids when they’re in the car or come in handy if anyone needs to find information quickly (you definitely won’t want to be without GPS on a road trip!).
They can double as MP3 players too, so preloading your children’s favorite tunes on them in advance is a good idea. Apps can keep your kids busy while educating them at the same time or allowing them to interact with their favorite characters.
Internet access is likely to be plentiful since tablets and smartphones can connect to WiFi hotspots automatically when you’re traveling, so pack headphones so your kids can watch videos as well. Most importantly, make sure your children stay safe while playing on their tablets and smartphones by discussing internet safety in advance and preload security apps on their devices.
- Ensure Toys Are Within Reach
For a smooth trip, ensure your children’s toys are within their reach at all times. This will prevent the hassle of digging through bags trying to find items while in the car. One simple way to keep things organized and readily available is to use seat back organizers that have compartments that can hold toys, tablets and other items.
Younger kids will benefit most from having the Snack and Play® Travel Tray. It’ll be easier for them to reach and provides a surface that prevents their toys from falling on the floor during the ride. Any crumbs from snacking will also stay contained on the tray for easy cleanup. With the dry-erase surface, they’ll be able to draw as often as they please.
Spill-proof cups should also be within reach, and using the travel tray or seat back organizer will be the best way to store them if you don’t have cup holders near the backseat.
Have you put any of these road trip hacks to use before? Do you have any in mind you’d like to share with other parents? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author: Faith is health and wellness blogger who loves a good road trip with her family whenever she gets the chance. As a parent who enjoys both fitness and traveling, she has discovered some of the best ways to keep the whole family happy and healthy, even while on the go.