It’s summertime! And I don’t know about you, but for me, no summer is complete without at least one good road trip.
I love exploring new places or revisiting old ones, and I love taking my kids along. What I don’t love is the crazy, rushed scramble that often happens when it’s time to hit the road. You know, because we forgot something… Or we waited until the last minute to pack the car… Or someone can’t find their shoes (or more likely ONE shoe!).
Even worse is when you get on the road and kids are grouchy, hungry, or bored…
You get the idea, and if you’ve attempted even one road trip with kids, I’m sure you’ve been there too. So what’s a mom to do?
How can you get your family “Road Trip Ready”?
1.Make Logistic Decisions Ahead of Time
Decide where you’ll go, what time you’ll leave, what you’ll do when you get there, and how long you’ll stay BEFORE you tell the kids about your trip, especially if those kids are under 10. Trust me. It’s just easier if you already know the answers to all their questions before they begin asking. And in my experience, at least half of my children do better on trips when they are “prepped” ahead of time, knowing what to expect.
2. Get Everyone on Board
Unless you’re planning a surprise trip to Disney or somewhere and unless you want to do all the prep work yourself, fill the kids in on the logistics. Once upon a time, we used to bring out the big paper map and lay it out on the coffee table to map out our trek… *feeling nostalgic* But now we use Google maps, and the kids can help us find places to stop along the way.
3. Plan Stops & Sight-Seeing
A road trip could be two hours away from home or 20. Decide before you leave how often you’ll stop for bathroom breaks and leg-stretching. Of course, you can’t always stick to a strict schedule with little people, but it still helps to have a general plan.
We’ve found it best to plan to stop every 2-2.5 hours when we’re traveling long distances with kids. A 15 minute break and a little fresh air can do wonders for the morale of your “troops”. And using Google maps, you can look for cool places to stop. You know, cooler than a convenience store.
4. Plan Your Meals & Snacks
Nothing can ruin a great trip faster than a bunch of hungry (hangry) kids when you have no snacks and you’re 30 miles from the nearest food stop.
Plan ahead. Decide if you’ll be eating out or packing your meals.
If you’ll be eating out, decide WHERE and WHEN before you even leave home. I promise this will save a bunch of frustration that comes when you wait until everyone is hungry, and everyone has a different opinion of where they want to eat. Google maps can help!
If you’ll be packing your meal(s), keep it simple and get them prepped and packed the day/night before. Decide before you leave home where you’ll be having that packed meal.
5. Choose a Positive Attitude
Nothing ever goes exactly as planned. Someone will probably not be able to find their shoes. One of the kids may have to potty five minutes after you just had a potty break. You may even have car trouble.
These things are unpredictable and no fun, but your attitude, MOM, can make a difference in the way your kids (and hubby) remember the trip. So I encourage you to decide before you leave the house to keep a positive attitude.
Decide to enjoy yourself and enjoy your family. Remember Proverbs 22:7, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” And so is she… Think, choose, decide to have a good time!
So what about you? Do you have tips that you’d add to this list?
Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.