Students of all ages eagerly anticipate the arrival of March and that glorious chunk of time off known as Spring Break. If you’re preparing to pack up your brood and drive to the beach, lake, mountains, amusement park, big city, or grandma’s house for Spring Break, you may be feeling a level of pre-trip anxiety that correlates directly to how far away your destination is and how young your kids are.
If you’ve got a multi-hour road trip with kids in your immediate future, here are some sanity-saving tips to ensure your drive will be tolerable – and perhaps even enjoyable!
Take a rental. Especially if your car is on the smaller side and/or is a gas guzzler, consider renting an SUV or van for the trip. Besides providing room to stretch out (and room for all your luggage), the “novelty factor” of a new ride will keep the kids occupied for a while.
Relax the rules. It’s smart and necessary to enforce rules limiting your kids’ screen time. However, devices are your friend during a long drive. Let them use their phones and tablets without limit during long, monotonous stretches of road.
Pack emergency kits. The key here, is kits with an -s. Yes, you’ll want a first-aid kit and survival gear in case you get stranded (water, flashlight, blankets, jumper cables, etc.) But you should also have a boredom buster kit (surprise toys, games, activities, and snacks you can dole out to kids when they become antsy.) Also, pack an emergency clean-up kit should you experience vomit, dirty diapers, or spills when the nearest gas station or rest stop is half an hour away.
Plan pitstops. Before you set out for your final destination, try to identify some fun places along your route, or that are just slightly out of the way. Whether it’s a historic downtown, petting zoo, cavern, or festival that coincides with your trip, you and your crew will enjoy taking a break and stretching your legs.
Leave at night. For longer trips, consider having the designated driver sleep during the day before you depart. When he or she wakes up in the evening, you can set out. Traffic will be lighter and you can count on your kids sleeping for 7 or 8 hours of the drive.
Road trips can be stressful at times, but with a bit of preparation and the right attitude, the journey can be almost as enjoyable as the destination!