Even if you have your finances covered and you genuinely believe you will be able to fit into the money you have set aside; even if you scrupulously pondered every single item you want to pack and organized your suitcases to perfection; even if you religiously mapped out your trip’s itinerary – your trip might still go sideways if you don’t take into account many important aspects that travelling by car with your children entails. Let me look at some of those in detail so that you feel prepared for what’s to come and get to your destination with at least some good mood and energy in reserve.
If this is your very first trip with your family, you are in for quite a treat when it comes to the 10-something hour drive you will have to put it. It can be loads of fun. It can be exhausting and irritating too. Why? Because:
- Noise. If at least one of your children is anywhere between 3 to 15 years old, be prepared for countless questions along the lines of “Are we there yet?”, out-of-tune songs and an occasional crying session. And that’s the reality of it, because it is difficult for a child to stay in one place for so long without anything to do.
- Bathroom breaks. Unlike adults, children are usually difficult when it comes to putting a lot of thought into their biological processes. If nature calls – they have to go. This will account for many stops along the way that you never anticipated.
- Car sickness. This one can be extremely unpleasant, but it’s natural and there is little you can do about it.
However, to every issue there is a solution, at least a partial one.
- Games and activities. One sure way to keep your kids entertained, at least some part of the way. Prepare some trivia questions, have everyone in the car guess songs from a playlist you have put together, play some classic car games like “I spy” or put your minds together for a country-capital quiz – all depends on the age and preferences of your child. Of course, the easiest solution is to hand them an iPad and you can rest assured most children will stay put for hours, but why not do something engaging and productive together instead?
- Breaks scheduled in advance. Meaning schedule more breaks in advance. Look for more points of interest along the way, find the cheapest gas stations and map it all out in a way that would not leave more than two consecutive hours in the car. It goes without saying that once you’re out of the car, it would be wise to remind your children than they need to visit the bathroom, but if you plan in advance, chances are you will be able to avoid random emergency stops.
- One simple advice for car sickness would be to not let your kids read or use electronic devices – instead, play car games that have them looking out the window. Also, make sure you go slow on windy parts of the road. If you still anticipate for a car sickness accident to occur, have one of the adults sit in the back with the child to help them and to avoid the mess.
Take all that into account when planning your trip and you will see that parents having fun during these things is also an option!