I love traveling! I never knew I liked it so much until I left my home country and got to travel more often. So, I have become an expert when traveling with kids, if I can say so myself. We just came back from a road trip to Disney. Yes, we drove from our house in Scarsdale to Orlando! It was a two-day car trip, and it was a HUGE success. So, here are my trips for either a short or long road trip.
1. Make lists for everything you will need.
Make a list of the clothes each person will need, the first-aid kit, snacks, games for the car, etc., basically think about everything you might need and write it down in categories. This way, when you start packing and putting everything together, you will not feel so overwhelmed and forget something (although it happens, believe me). Make sure to pack neck pillows and a blanket in case it gets cold.
2. Manage your expectations.
Get real friend! A drive with kids is not always easy, it can be, but things might happen along the way; someone gets carsick, someone gets wet, someone is not comfortable sleeping or is too cold, and others are too hot, etc. So, think about your family’s needs and the worse case scenarios and prepare for them. My son normally gets carsick, so I have medication and oils ready. I have kitchen napkins, Ziploc bags and trash bags handy, and a change of clothes just in case. Thankfully, we only used the medication and oils this time around.
3. Plan the rest-stops ahead of time and mark them on Google maps.
This was a game-changer for us this time around, and it was all thanks to my super organized husband, who loves planning trips. He got all the safe rest stops from NY to Florida and marked them on the map, so my job was to know how much time we had for the next 2 or 3 stops so we could plan driving. Still, we had to make a few unplanned stops, but it was way better to know where we would be stopping and how much longer so we could tell the kids to manage their fluids. You know what I mean!
4. Prepare activity bags for the road.
This is my super-specialty! I give them about one new thing for each hour or so depending on their age that we will be traveling. These things need to be new and interesting, so they can open them on the car (or plane) for the first time and get busy. Try to break them into two, one for the way to the destination and the other for the return. These are the bags I made for them for this occasion.
5. It’s ok to let them get a little bit bored and use their imagination.
Road trips are a great way to hang out as a family because you are stuck together. Conversations and games are a must. Enjoy them.
6. Set ground rules.
Some important rules are speaking in a low voice while in the car or let us know if they need to stretch or use the restroom before it is an emergency. The kids can make their own rules too.
7. Go with the flow and enjoy your trip.
There are always stores around if you forgot something, so don’t feel bad if it happens. The most important thing is that you all arrive and return safely and that you have created wonderful memories from such an adventure.