Thursday, 24 August 2017

Road To Nowhere - 10 Tips For A Great Road Trip

We just got back from our first ever road trip as a family.  In just 11 days we travelled through four provinces and covered over 3200 KMs (not including day trips).  We weren't sure how the kids would cope with spending so much time in a car, the most they'd ever spent in a row in the past was four hours, and we knew we'd have a handful of days with upwards of nine hours in the car.

While we made a concerted effort to make the trip about the journey as well as the destination there was no getting around the amount of time we were going to be in a car.  It's still fresh in my mind, so before I share more about our trip (which was amazing), I thought I'd share some tips and tricks that totally helped us get through with minimal 'Are We There Yet?' questions.

Exploring Botanical Gardens Together

Here Are 10 Road Trip Tips For Families Travelling With Kids

  1. Figure out the time of the day when you'll be able to log the most mileage with limited complaints and hassle (this goes for drivers and navigators as well) and take advantage of those "Power Hours".  For us it's always morning.
  2. Make sure you have a full tank of gas each night before you park, that way when it's time to go in the AM there won't be a delay.
  3. Multiple "surprise" treats on days with a lot of driving give the kids something to look forward to on the road (for us the dollar store for colouring books, mini dolls, figurines, and Amazon for cheap mini figurines was some of the best money we could have ever spent).

    Our First Stop On The Trip Was At The Big Apple In Cramhae Ontario

  4. Research Road side attractions for fun stops that aren't too out of the way to help make the trip about the journey as well as the destination.  Things like museums, botanical gardens, hikes, or giant novelty statues can make for really fun breaks from endless hours on the road.
  5. Fill up water bottles every night and put them in a cooler/fridge so you have them handy on the road.  This will save you money, keep you well hydrated and force everyone to take much needed bathroom breaks to stretch their legs.
  6. Pack healthy portable foods for snacks.  Our favourites include baby carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, squeezable Apple sauce tubes, yogurt drinks, and cut carrots and celery.
  7. Plan some games for the road.  We had an ongoing license plate game looking to find as many states and provinces we could for the entire trip (you can get printable ones online). We also played a game where we looked for all the letters in the alphabet and numbers (from A-Z with no repeats on the same license plate) until we were done. We spent six hours looking for the letter U one day, but everyone was excited when we found it.
  8. Never underestimate the power of a pool.  Promises of accommodations with pools at the end of particularly long driving days let everyone blow off a little steam, and energy.
  9. Understand that your kids sleeping hours are going to be wonky since they'll nap so much in the car.  Some nights the minions were up to 11PM because they'd gotten so much rest on the road, and that was okay.
  10. Know your driving limits and that plans will need to change sometimes.  Our "down days" when we stayed two nights somewhere were always our best ones cause we could really relax with less of a clock to punch.

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