With summer nearly here, what better way to enjoy the sun and holidays than a family road trip. When opting for a fun road trip, it’s not just about the destination; it is about the journey too.
It’s a really exciting prospect for children and all you need is a car, the open road and your family. It also allows you to avoid high airport prices, long flight delays and dreaded plane journeys.
However, unexpected back seat quibbles and the repeatedly asked question ‘are we there yet’ could lead to resorting to iPads to keep them quiet. While this is the easy option, it also takes away their involvement in the journey, and they miss out on making some really great memories of the vacation.
Here are some top tips for planning a family road trip that will make the car a no iPad zone. They will help you get from A to B without backseat moaning, stress or resorting to technology distractions.
Involve them in planning
Involving the children in the planning and route of a road trip is a great way to give them some responsibility and make it even more interesting for them. Get a giant map and a few highlighters, and then discuss all the cool places you would like to go that appeal to everyone.
Negotiate all the things each member wants to do, and be sure to include something for everyone during the vacation. You could make each child responsible for one day’s stopping places and restaurants, it could make the holiday a little varied, but hey, it’s a fun adventure. Older children could be given the task of researching their chosen place in order to decide what to do.
Prepare a backpack
As well as packing the normal vacation bags, give each child a backpack for in the car and help them to fill it with their favourite snacks, crayons, games and colouring books. Hungry kids are grumpy kids, so by allowing your children to easily access their own snacks, means they have responsibility for their own food.
Give each child the responsibility of choosing what goes into their own backpack, and make it a rule they only use the items from their own bag. It will give them a sense of responsibility and avoid squabbles over who gets to use what first.
For older children, you can include a travel journal so that they can keep track of their experiences, favourite places and activities along the way.
Brush up on some history and geology on the areas you are travelling through before your trip. This way you can give your children a basic history and geography lesson on the areas and landmarks you pass.
Even if they squirm, roll their eyes, or grumble, you’ll notice that they listen. When children can actually see the things you are talking about out of the window, it brings the education to life.
Travelling on long journeys is the perfect opportunity to bond with your children through communication, games and story-telling. Confined within the car, your children cannot run off, hide in their bedroom or shut themselves away. It’s the perfect opportunity to talk about all the things you don’t usually get the time or opportunity to.
There are lots of things you can do to bond. There is fun games you can play in the car with children, dozens of vintage or familiar songs to sing, tell stories, ask questions, talk about school, friends, hobbies and share some family love.
Keep some surprises
As well as children involvement in planning and navigating, you also want to ensure you keep some surprises up your sleeve. If they begin to get restless you can have a surprise treat or activity ready to avoid any stress. Scope out a few geocatches ahead of time that coincides with your planned breaks and have a quick treasure hunt, it’s always better to be one step ahead.