Taking a road trip with your loved ones can be a fun adventure, but it can also be full of stress and anxiety, especially if you have young children who are unaccustomed to travel. It’s important to have a solid plan going in so that everyone can enjoy themselves without worrying about meltdowns or a fear of the unknown, but how do you prepare for a car trip that will go off without a hitch? Hint: you don’t!
You can’t make everything perfect. You can, however, plan ahead, have backup plans as much as possible, and start preparing for the trip weeks in advance. The more time you have ahead of the big day, the more you’ll be able to get everyone ready. Not only do you need to worry about packing the whole family for the length of your trip, you’ll need to think about your home and who will take care of it while you’re gone. Getting things into place will ensure that you won’t have a worry in the world when it’s time to enjoy yourself.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to prepare for your car trip.
Get your house in shape
About a week before your trip, give the house a good cleaning; this will help greatly when it’s time to pack and make other preparations. Do laundry, double check that windows and doors are secure, and take any food that might spoil out of the fridge and pantry. The knowledge that your home is clean and safe while you’re gone will cross one more thing off your list and will give you peace of mind, especially if you’ll be gone for a while.
Keep it healthy
Traveling with the entire family can get expensive, and it can be difficult to find healthy, quick meals while you’re on the road. To avoid having to subsist on fast food salads for the entire trip, pack some healthy snacks and easy meals in a cooler. It’s always a good idea to make a stop every two or three hours when traveling with kids so that everyone can take a bathroom break, stretch their legs, and get out some pent-up energy. Pull over at a rest area or park, and have a picnic meal or snack. Having quick foods on hand will keep everyone happy for the duration of the trip and is a much healthier option than fast food.
Give everyone their own bag
One of the most common issues with kids on car trips is that they don’t have their own space, so it’s important to give them a little something that will take their minds off being in the car for a long period of time. Pack a small backpack for each child that includes a coloring book and crayons, an MP3 player with headphones, an activity book, and whatever else they need to entertain themselves during the trip. A digital camera designed for kids is also a special way to get your kids excited for the trip, especially if they’re too young for a smartphone with a camera, and they can use it both during the car ride and when you’re sight-seeing. If your child tends to get carsick, have some anti-motion sickness medicine in the car, and make sure they take a dose before attempting to snap photos or read while you’re on the road.
Don’t be afraid to go off schedule
While it’s a great idea to plan ahead as much as possible for your trip, try not to get panicked or stressed if you get behind schedule or veer off course for a bit. Making sure the actual trip is fun will help everyone have a good time, so be prepared to make extra stops and pad your timeline a little.
Traveling with your family is a great way to create wonderful memories, and planning well is essential. However, as a single father, it took me a while to realize that no amount of planning can prepare you for the unexpected challenges and joys that come with parenting. Once I embraced the concept of being present and started trying to see things through my children’s eyes, parenting felt a lot less like work and became even more rewarding. So, talk to your loved ones about how they can help make the trip go more smoothly, and enjoy this time as much as you can.
We would love to share all the awesome things we’ve learned from Dr. West and Dr. Latham! Sign up for our FREE newsletter to have a hands-on learning experience every week!