A road trip makes for an excellent family bonding activity that can spark your children’s sense of wonder and adventure. Enjoying the open road with your loved ones gives you plenty of opportunities to make long-lasting memories, but the fun can be cut short if you aren’t fully prepared. In particular, travelling with kids is challenging because the long distance and travel time can make the little ones restless. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to ensure that your family road trip will stay smooth from start to finish. Here are seven tips to keep in mind:
Create a Family-Friendly Itinerary
Planning a road trip starts with creating the perfect itinerary, and the best way to do this is to visit places everyone in the family can enjoy. Destinations and attractions that are family-centric and child-friendly will ensure that you, your spouse, and your little ones can enjoy each other’s company to the fullest. Some of the most popular family-friendly detours in New Zealand include farmers’ markets, regional parks, and beaches.
Let your children have a say in the itinerary to make the planning stage more fun. Discuss your options with them and consider their preferences. Not only will this make them be more interested in the trip, but also help develop their independence.
Inspect Your Road Trip Vehicle Thoroughly
Whether you’re driving a ute or a campervan, thoroughly inspecting your vehicle before your trip is in your best interest. Checking every inch of your vehicle allows you to get a good look at its condition, giving you a chance to get repairs done or else purchase replacement parts and upgrades from auto parts suppliers when necessary. Ensure that the tyres’ air pressure is correct, the fluids are topped up, and the brakes are working properly. If you want to be certain about your vehicle’s condition, schedule a professional inspection with your trusted mechanic. They have the experience and equipment to perform a comprehensive examination, giving you peace of mind before setting out on your trip.
Install Child Safety Vehicle Upgrades
To ensure your kids’ well-being during the entire trip, install the right child safety upgrades in your vehicle. If you have young children, use the correct car seats that suit your kids’ age, height, and weight. This ensures that your kids can sit comfortably in the vehicle and have a lower risk of getting injured in case of accidents. You should also install a window tint to protect your children from harmful UV rays, especially if you’re going somewhere sunny.
Pack the Essential Supplies
No family road trip would be complete without the essential supplies. When you have the right items at your disposal, you’ll have a greater chance of overcoming stressful situations and emergencies. A typical road trip packing list would include toiletries, water bottles, a torch, some bug spray, and a first aid kit with over-the-counter medicine (and prescriptions, as needed). You should also carry important documents like your licence and vehicle registration, as well as vehicle repair and rescue equipment like a spare tyre, shovel, and roadside emergency kit.
That being said, because you’re bringing your kids along, you need to add a few more items to the list. Put a few sets of extra clothes in your car, along with baby supplies, a small pillow or two, and blankets to ensure your children’s comfort.
Bring Plenty of Road Trip Snacks
Having a variety of snacks on hand is a must because a hungry child can quickly derail a road trip. It’s a good idea to bring a mix of healthy and fun snacks to make the journey more pleasant for your children. However, make sure that you’re packing healthy snacks, as you don’t want your children to load up on junk food for the entirety of your trip. Some snack options include granola bars, carrot sticks, apple slices, and yoghurt, which are easy to eat and appeal to most children’s palates. You can also bring small treats, like candies and crisps, but offer them occasionally. Packaging your food in reusable containers is also wise to keep your snacks organised and prevent messes. These eco-friendly containers can be refilled at rest stops or when you reach your destination.
Bring Items That Will Keep Your Kids Entertained
Sitting for long hours in the vehicle can be challenging for anyone, but children are the first ones to fold if they haven’t done anything interesting in a while. Boredom can make your kids grumpy and miss out on all the fun they might otherwise have had on the trip.
To ensure that your kids’ minds are stimulated on your road trip, it’s a good idea to bring toys or perhaps a tablet with their favourite movies to keep them entertained. This way, your kids can stay occupied during the long drives, ensuring that the environment in the car remains calm. When their interest wanes, as is often the case with children, you can switch to interactive road trip games such as “I Spy” or a travel-themed scavenger hunt. Doing so is a great way to create fun family moments and keep everyone entertained throughout the journey.
Share Driving Duties
If you and your spouse both know how to drive, consider dividing the driving responsibility. Driving for extended periods can be tiring, and having someone to share the load can help alleviate fatigue. It also ensures that you and your spouse can have ample time to rest and be able to keep a better eye on your kids while in the car.
Ensuring a smooth road trip with your kids is challenging, but it’s also 100% achievable. If you keep these tips in mind, you can rest easy knowing that everyone in your family will have a fun, comfortable, and safe adventure on the road.