Road tripping in 2018 is vastly different than it was back in the 70’s and 80’s. Keeping your family members entertained and happy is easier than ever. But you need to put in some preparation up front to ensure a smooth trip. Below please find some critical tips for family car trips.
1. Car Seat Covers
I believe in cleanliness. This also gets me into a lot of situations of cleaning up toys before the kids are done with them. But on a long road trip, keeping items organized will minimize the number of times you need to pull over to search for a missing headphone.
Purchasing a backseat organizer for each child is a terrific need. To me, it is beyond a ‘want’ simply because it helps so much on trips.
Having a place for the ipad to safely be stowed, toys, games, markers, water bottles, etc., it is terrific.
2. Pillow Trays
In the same mold, for our vacation last year, my wife made pillow trays for our kids. By taking an old pillow case, she installed Velcro tape onto the one side of the case and the other onto a dollar store serving tray.
While we were driving the kids would take off the tray when they wanted to relax or sleep.
When they would have a snack or meal, they would put a Ipad in the car seat cover and attach the tray to the pillow. No spills, no messes. And if something did drop, it would be on a tray and not on our kids clothes or seat.
3. Prep the Ipads
Streaming services like Netflix offer great value with downloading shows and movies. At each overnight stop, we would upload new additional content to keep the next day running smooth.
Try to find some new learning apps that keep the kids entertained. I am blown away by the amazing math games and other options out there that are fund and educational.
Family or couple trips can run out of stories to tell each other. A great recommendation is to download an audiobook. Your local library may have access to apps like OverDrive or Libby for you to download books.
Finding a perfect match for everyone may be difficult but playing it through the car’s sound system can keep everyone occupied for hours and then you can ask your kids questions off the story they heard. Any chance we have to sustain development is a good thing.
A few years back, we won the mini lottery as my sister won a prize a golf tournament which included an electric cooler. As she did not have a need for it, she graciously gave it to me and my wife. And we have made such good use out of it since.
As it came with both an AC and DC power supply, we are able to keep food and drinks chilled during the longest of road trips.
Stopping by the grocery store for fruit, veggies and sandwiches keeps us on the road more, keeps the healthy food in us and reduces the overall costs.
6. Burn that Energy
Keeping kids locked into one position for many hours is not fun. Also, once you get to your place of destination, as a driver and navigator, you feel drained. But the kids are ready to burn off energy.
A great tip is to pack your kids scooters and helmets. They take up minimal space in the trunk and they offer a great release at the washroom stops and gas stations.
Always stress to be careful as there are many vehicles around but a 5 minute break each stop to have some fun is great.
7. Old Fashion Games
Not everything needs to be on the Ipad. Markers, paper, pipe cleaners, Play-Doh and miniaturized board games are still fun.
My wife loves to bring ‘would you rather’ printables for the kids. There are also apps for your phone that one parent can use while the other drives. Easy options questions like ‘Would you rather go to the zoo or aquarium?’ Having the kids break down why they chose one over the other is a good learning tool and a fun experience for all.
8. Still Need Cleanup
Kleenex, paper towels and bags. Needed. Kids will get into everything and something will get spilled.
Being able to clean it on the fly will save time. Also, remember to empty the car of garbage at your stops. No one likes smelling yesterday’s McDonald’s during the middle of summer.
Beyond anything else, ensure you know the route. Bring a GPS or phone that you can use data no matter which country you are in. Being lost is not a fun experience on a vacation.