Car trips are perhaps the quintessential family vacation. Here's tips on making them enjoyable.
Difficulty Level: Varies Time Required: Ongoing for about 9 years
- Bring lots and lots of snacks, treats, and amusements (see below.)
- Stories on audiotapes are a terrific way to pass the time: played either on the car stereo, or in "walkman"-type players.
- Car games like "I spy" are a time-honoured tradition.
- Allow time to stop at restaurants or local playgrounds, so the kids can run around. Bring a ball or frisbee too.
- Try to stop at restaurants with ball rooms. Let the kids work off some energy-- maybe even let them play now and eat the meal later, in the car.
- Alternatively, create picnic meals with food bought from restaurants or the deli in a grocery store: this saves money, and gives the kids a chance to play outside.
- Change the kids' seating arrangements to minimize conflicts.
- Give maps to the older kids, and let them mark off your route, and navigate.
- Allow sleeping children plenty of wake-up time: start the wakie-wakie process long before you're going to stop the car.
- Bringing along a potty can be a great idea, at a certain stage of life.
- Depending on your family policy on tv/media consumption, you might want to look into the new trend of renting vcr/tv units for vans and other vehicles.
- With small kids, over-preparing is always better than under-preparation!
- Special car-travel kits can be a good idea: for
ex., a travel "desk" suspended from the front seat of a van makes a
"desk" for a child to draw, store crayons, etc.