“Are we there yet?” was the cry from the back seat. My husband and I glanced at each other and I whimpered a little. After all, we had only been in the car for 15 minutes and we had four hours and twenty-two minutes to go.
I must confess, I was not very prepared. We tried counting cows and played twenty questions, but by the time we rolled into our destination, my husband and I were no longer speaking and both kids were crying. I learned a valuable lesson and that I hope to pass on to others who are preparing for their summer road trip. Here are a few tips:
For those of you sentimental types who want to repeat childhood memories and road trip the old fashioned way , I am here to say, it’s not worth it. We bought a minivan that has a DVD player installed. Without question, this feature was worth the price of the car. Take advantage of the technological progress that has been made and invest in a portable DVD player. It will make the time pass faster for both grown-ups and kids. I would also recommend including some old family movies within their movie selections. Kids love to watch themselves and will get as much enjoyment out of Christmases past as they will Sponge Bob repeats.
There are some wonderful car games that you can include on your road trip. Check out www.momsminivan.com. There you will find 101 Car Travel Games and Road Trip Ideas for Kids. These include printable bingo cards, lists for scavenger hunts, and tips for making a homemade travel journal. Have your kids browse this website with you and select games that sound like fun. Also, an old fashioned deck of cards can kill at least thirty minutes with a game of “Go Fish” or “Old Maid”.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry!
Road trips are the best time to munch! Pack the car with road trip goodies like cold drinks, fruit and crackers. Food is one of the best boredom killers and time will pass more quickly when snacks are available. Also, let your kids be part of the packing before you go. That way they will know where to reach for the Goldfish so you don’t have to hunt for them from the front seat.
Pull Over – Frequently!
Now I know for most men, stopping for any reason goes against their nature. For men, it’s typically not about the journey – it is all about the destination. Using whatever means possible, Moms need to charm their husbands into taking frequent breaks along the way. Although I know dining at the “Golden Arches” is not a grown-up favorite, if they have a playground area, eat your Big Mac and say thank you. Your kids can burn off all of the energy that has been stored due to three hours of sitting. Let them spend thirty minutes playing and running around. It will make the next three hours more bearable.
Using these tips will help make the whole road trip experience more bearable. Don’t feel guilty about taking extra measures, like movies and french-fries, to keep the kids entertained so that you can watch the road or read the map. Also, don’t forget – YOU ARE ON VACATION! A little pre-road trip preparation will ensure a fun family holiday for everyone – including you!