Most of us have fond memories of family road trips. Whether going to visit grandparents, taking a spur-of-the-moment trip to Disneyland, or en route to your yearly camping excursion, nothing is worse than realizing you should’ve planned better.
Avoid hangry kids, upset stomachs, missed vista views, and less than enjoyable car rides by checking out these 5 tips to better prepare for your family road trip.
1. Pack Healthy Snacks
If you’ve ever taken a road trip before, you know that your food options are limited. More often than not, we are restricted to gas stations, rest stop vending machines, or fast-food drive-throughs for our sustenance.
It’s safe to say most of us wish to avoid the digestive discomfort that often results from over-excited junk food binges, especially when kids are involved. Nothing puts a damper on a road trip like an upset stomach.
Instead, pack some healthy snacks or easy meals from home that keep messes to a minimum such as granola bars, cold subs, or pre-cut fruits. These can be easily stored in a small cooler and prepared ahead of time for convenience.
Not wanting to stop and lose precious time in route by eating? Grab a simple, low sugar protein shake for convenient and safe fuel for the drive, such as Naked Nutrition’s strawberry banana protein shake.
This allows you to keep your eyes on the road and your stomach from growling. Studies show a high protein snack helps to curb your hunger better than those convenience snacks that tend to be higher in fat and carbohydrates .
Another bonus, this will help to save your wallet as well, leaving you a little extra to spend on souvenirs or fun outings.
2. Create a Road Trip Playlist
Don’t leave the tunes up to the radio, especially when your frequencies are going to be constantly changing.
Unless you enjoy singing your own list of songs while driving, you might consider coming up with a fun road trip playlist for a more pleasant drive.
Planning an extra-long road trip? Try adding in some audiobooks to keep you and the family entertained.
This not only eliminates potential nausea some of us experience when trying to read in a moving vehicle but it also helps to further bring the books alive, making time on the road fly by.
3. Plan the Scenic Route
Chances are, there are some pretty cool things you might be passing while headed to your final destination.
Why not take some time to plan your breaks for a more enjoyable experience. Why choose a boring rest stop when you can get out and stretch your legs at the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, or even just a popular vista point you found on Google Maps.
In addition to breaking up the drive, this will help add more excitement to the journey instead of just the destination.
Not into vista views? Choose an attraction to stop in and check out. World’s largest ball of yarn? Why not! Is there a famous restaurant you’ve always wanted to try? Now’s your chance!
4. Distraction is the Name of the Game
Keep your passengers entertained. If you have young ones, you know their attention span can wander, especially during long car rides.
Choose fun, interactive games to help keep the kids occupied and the time flying. Studies show family bonding through games helps to strengthen relationships and communication .
Consider having one adult sit in the back seat to spend some quality time playing with the kids to keep their mind from getting bored and asking the dreaded “Are we there yet?”
Teach them how to read a map or how to fold origami for endless entertainment. Enjoy car games such as the License Plate game or I Spy. Get the whole family involved if you can.
Not only will this help distract the adults and the kids, but it will also allow for quality family bonding time that we wouldn’t get if we simply stuck our headphones in and zoned out.
5. Safety First
Last but most important, be sure to take all safety measures before hopping in the car with your family for a long trip.
Nothing sours quality family time like a breakdown or worse, an accident. Make sure to get your car checked and serviced before hitting the road. If you are going to be the driver be sure to get a good night’s rest the night before and avoid distractions while behind the wheel.
Another good rule of thumb is to map out your destination with your GPS as well as a paper map just in case you lose service. No one wants to spend additional hours in the car because they missed their exit or got lost.
According to several studies, taking trips with the family can increase happiness and develop strong relationships with your loved ones as well as increase overall quality of life .
With these tips in your arsenal, you can ensure a safe and wonderful family road trip with fewer worries and more memories. Where will you go first?