It's summer time and you have dreamed of the perfect family vacation full of sight seeing, adventure, and great photo-ops. However your kids think everything you want to do is "lame and boring." So how do you make it a trip you will all enjoy? Here are some simple tips that can help your trip go more smoothly.
SLIDESHOW: TIPS FOR A SMOOTH ROAD TRIP
Before your trip, try to find a water park along the way to your destination. Most parents just want to get wherever it is they're going. But, breaking the trip up makes it so much more fun for the whole family. My daughter still talks about the crazy windy slide we went on together last summer on the way to visit my son at camp. Those are special moments the kids remember and appreciate.
Find a playground
Kids are not meant to sit in a car watching DVDs for eight hours. As you drive, pull over when you see a jungle gym and let the kids out to run around and play.
Plan your meals
Stopping for fast food whenever someone gets hungry or has to go to the bathroom can make for lots of stomach aches and crankiness. Decide when and where you will eat your meals before you leave so the kids have some structure to their day and know what to expect.
Bring their favorite things
While kids can't bring their whole room in a tight car, give them a choice of three of their favorite things. That soft blanket can make all the difference on a long trip.
Download before you go
Don't forget to download some great movies for them to watch in the car. Make sure you have extras in case you get stuck in traffic.
Remember, your trip should be a memorable one that everyone enjoys!
TIPS FOR A SMOOTH ROAD TRIP
Although sometimes the object of a road trip is to get from A to B as quickly as possible, it's those stops along the way that the kids will remember. Keep in mind -- it's the journey, not the destination! An afternoon -- or even an hour -- at a waterpark after a morning of driving will rejuvenate kids, and make great memories. Not to mention, maybe tucker them out for a few hours after!
Especially with really little ones, a bit of time to stretch their legs and get some fresh air will do wonders. You want to make sure that kids get the opportunity to play, or they will dread long, read: boring, drives in the future. Plus, a break from gridlock will do you good, too!
Though frequent stops might be necessary for little bladders, it's not necessary to purchase fast food each time. This will only lead to upset stomachs and MORE bathroom breaks. Plan a few fun restaurant stops along the way, and tell the kids about them -- this will give the trip structure. Other than that, pack some healthy and filling snacks to keep the kids satisfied.
While there may not be space for a bedroom full of toys, allow for a few exceptions -- it will pay off in the long run. There's nothing like the comfort of a cherished stuffed animal, or blankie to help a child fall asleep, or sit in peace.
Many family vans have DVD players installed already, and that's lucky. Be sure to download the kids' favourite films before you leave (and if their tastes differ, choices from both camps, and a few overlappers). But DVDs can also be accompanied by headphones -- and that's a treat for you!
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