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Road Trip! Our Tips for a Fun Family Drive This Summer

June 18, 2012

When warm weather hits, your family makes plans to get out of town, and whether you’re popping up to Acadia, visiting family in Ohio, or making an ambitious trip to the Grand Canyon, a road trip may be in your future. With some smart planning, your extended drive can be not only survivable, but fun!

Plan ahead for safety. Before leaving for an extended road trip, check to make sure your tires are properly inflated, and take care of any lingering auto repair issues you’ve been neglecting. Double check your car seat to make sure it’s installed correctly. Pacl plenty of water, a flashlight, phone chargers, and a first aid kit, and make sure you have a road-side assistance plan.

Start off on the right foot. As you’re loading up the car, leave frequently used items for last, and make sure they are located within easy reach in the car or trunk. Time your departure so that you ensure that your kids nap on the road. Leaving just before lunch will allow them to eat in the car (always a great distraction) and may earn you an hour or two of post-lunch naptime.

Keep things fun and flexible! You can’t expect young kids to withstand more than three hours of driving in a row. Make frequent stops to prevent meltdowns! Rest areas often have space for a quick game of frisbee or tag. Before you leave, use Google Maps to plot out some potential stopping points, so that you’re not stuck on the road with no exit in sight. In addition to rest areas, parks, tourist traps, and picnic areas can be perfect places to take a timeout.

Have car-friendly snacks on hand. In addition to plenty of water and juice, pack a surplus of non-messy snacks like bagels, granola bars, string cheese, fruit slices, and cookies. Gooey treats like yogurt and melty items like chocolate will be all over your upholstery within thirty minutes. If you’re still breastfeeding, you’ll want to stop somewhere that has a private area where you can nurse in peace. You can also store breastmilk in a cooler with frozen cool packs or ice for up to 24 hours, and you can warm it up by holding the bottle under warm water at a rest area.

Keep each of your kids entertained. If your baby is young and still in a rear-facing car seat, bring some travel toys that can be hung from the car seat or on the back of the seat, facing your baby. Toddlers can be entertained with audiobooks or coloring books, but you can also introduce them to simple road trip games like spotting their A’s, B’s, and C’s out the window, or identifying the colors of passing cars and houses.

Plan for potty emergencies. Your kids don’t always know that they need to use the toilet until it’s almost too late! If you find yourself needing to pull over in a pinch, a portable potty like the My Carry Potty can be a lifesaver. For children still in diapers, a portable changing pad will make roadside stops or rest area changes much easier and more sanitary. And some moms like to bring along a folding potty seat to use in case a rest area bathroom looks a bit neglected and germ-infested!

Have a great time this summer! Where are you headed and how do you plan on making the trip fun for your little ones?

Photography courtesy of Flickr.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 23, 2012 3:14 pm

    Good points for a road trip!

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