The freedom provided by cars has been helping families take vacations around the United States since the middle of the 20th century. Airplane and train tickets must be bought individually, so using them for transportation may be unaffordable for families.
Cars, on the other hand, cost the same regardless of how many are traveling in them. Road trips, however, are known to drive children to extreme levels of boredom. Here are five tips for taking peaceful road trips with children.
1) Make a checklist and check it twice
Stopping for food, diapers and other necessities can significantly slow a road trip. Parents can help shorten their trips by making sure that they are well-stocked with the necessities that the trip will require. Parents should also include entertainment options on these checklists. For vehicles with television screens, parents should make sure that they have enough DVDs to keep the children relaxed during the entire duration of the trip.
2) Find the best time to travel
A bit of creative scheduling can reduce the effective length of the trip for children. Leaving early in the morning when children are generally sleeping can allow parents to knock out part of the trip with sleeping children. Two parents can rotate travel duties to keep up their sleep schedules. More adventurous parents can even consider leaving at night. Traveling when there is less traffic can shorten the trip substantially, and sleeping children are peaceful children.
3) Plan fun stops
The United States highway system is dotted with whimsical, entertaining destinations. While stopping to see some of the places will lengthen the trip’s duration, they do give children, and adults, the opportunity to walk around and stretch their legs. Children loathe monotony, and miles of straight, boring highway can quickly lead to restless children. Occasional stops can reduce their crankiness.
4) DVDs are not always enough
DVDs can provide some respite from boredom, but children often become tired of television shown and movies. Parents can help alleviate this boredom by playing board games and traditional road games with their children. These games lead to interaction and thinking, which can help reduce the monotony of road travel. Magnetic travel games are a great option to consider.
5) Use your trip as a time to clean and upgrade your home
Preparing and packing for a trip requires families to organize their items and pack what they will need on the road; this is a great time to clean and think about potential upgrades or remodels. Perhaps it is time for new carpeting? Maybe it is time to look for new vanities for bathrooms? A trip may give a family a new perspective on their homes, and this perspective can lead to insights about how to best make upgrades.
Most parents would pay a premium to fly to their destination, but the added expenses may be too great to justify. Fortunately, a bit of planning can go a long way toward making a road trip more enjoyable for both children and adults.