Check out these tips to make the most of your family road trip this Memorial Day weekend.
While of course the idea of a road trip does include being on the road… all that car travel is not that exciting for the kids. And since Memorial Day weekend is just three days long, you'll want to maximize your vacation time — not spend it all in the car. Select your road trip destination with care, and try not to make the trek more than four hours each way. Everyone will thank you.
Every good parent knows that the key to a successful road trip is absolutely to pack (and even over-pack) the essentials. When it comes to kids there are two essentials — eats and entertainment. You'll need plenty of snacks, water bottles and fun car games/activities to keep your kids entertained while you drive. Bring a cooler in the car that's packed full of healthy and relatively mess-free snacks like baby carrots, raisins and apple slices. Make sure you can easily reach the cooler without having to pull over. There is no use packing a cooler in the back of the SUV where you cannot reach it while you travel.
Pack books, coloring books, magnetic or travel games and other things to keep your kids occupied as you travel on your family adventure. Don't forget old-school games like I Spy and the License Plate Game that the whole family can play together.
A metal cookie sheet is a perfect entertainment "lap desk" for kids' coloring books, magnetic puzzles and games, and the pan's lip even stops roll-away crayons. Bring one for each child and you'll pat yourself on the back later.
If everyone in the car is starting to get antsy, take a break from the road at a scenic pull-off where you can snap a few pictures, stretch your legs and simply shake the sillies out. Pushing to drive as far as you can toward your final destination can just be too much on the little ones in your car. Who knows, some of your greatest vacation memories may happen on a spontaneous rest stop! Avoid stopping just to go sit down at a restaurant to eat as this just adds "sitting time" to the trip. Grab some quick-and-easy food to go or simply pack more substantial items than just snacks.
It's highly unlikely that you and your family are the only ones contemplating a last-minute three-day weekend road trip, so consider your destination and how traffic may impact your travel. Do some research on secluded camping spots or an off-season get-away. Better yet, turn your three-day weekend road trip into a real adventure by traveling the "backroads" — literally and figuratively. Let the spirit of the open road guide you on an unchartered journey. Just make sure you can get back home by Monday!
Plan to do the majority of your driving in the evening or early morning, when most of the weekend traffic is not on the road. If you play your cards right, you may even be able to get through much of the road trip travel while your kids sleep… which parents know makes for a much smoother ride for everyone in the car!
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