Road trip vacations: the best or worst of times

(Daniel Purcell/

It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. It is traveling…

There is nothing like a family road trip until you are about an hour into it. The newness has worn out and the questions start – “How much longer?” “When can we stop?” “I’m bored!” “He is looking at me!”

We’ve all been there and admittedly, we’ve all done this as well. It doesn’t have to be so difficult.

With a little bit of preparation, you can make this summer’s road trip vacation one to remember – in a good way.

Road games

Depending on the age of your children, print out a map of the route you are taking. Have a list of signs, objects, types of cars, words, and landmarks along the way. It’s like a scavenger hunt of sorts. Set some ground rules before you leave, and the person who spots the most first wins a prize. It is a great way to limit screen time because your children will be looking out the window trying to win.

Let them get their energy out

Stop and let them run if you see an open area along the way. Once I saw an area filled with birds. The kids were so excited to run as the birds flew all around them. It was a great photo op as well.

Assign duties

Assign one child to keep the bathroom stops scheduled. Every two hours, this child will notify the group that it is time to find a restroom. Let another child be in charge of snacks and drinks to pass out every few hours. Have another in charge of games to play along the road.

Pack a bag of travel toys

Prepare a waiting bag. Put new toys and items in it. They don’t have to be expensive to be fun travel toys. Paper clips to make long chains, bendable wax craft sticks, or string are always fun in the car. You may want to make a “waiting bag” for each child. Put it under their feet and have a magical word for them to listen for to pull the bag out. Teenagers like it too.

Restaurant drawings

Before you leave the house, have each person put the names of two or three places to eat on a small piece of paper and place the choices in a bag. Shake the bag when it is time to eat. Allow the driver to pull one of the choices out of the bag.

Keep kids comfy cozy

Pillows, blankets, and a stuffy help children to create their spot and feel comfortable.

Some of my best memories are road trips with the kids. They do not have to be stressful and can be a time to build memories and family time.

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