There are more than 46,000 miles of interstate in the United States and families across America take to the roads every day for vacations, to visit family in other states or for a multitude of other reasons. Traveling with young children can be especially challenging and can try even the most patient parent’s sanity. If you’re anticipating a long road trip with your young children in tow, there are several things you can do in advance to help preserve your sanity and make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.
First and foremost, you should have your vehicle checked by a certified mechanic to ensure that everything is in working order. If you don’t know any mechanics in your area, consider using the locator tool on Cars.com to locate one in your community. Ensuring that your tires, brakes, air conditioning, transmission and engine are in good working order will mean that you won’t likely find yourself stranded on the road with alarmed children asking why you’re there 500 times.
The day before you leave, consider packing healthy snacks for the children to keep them fed and occupied in a pinch. Pack them in small, easy-to-handle containers or ziplock bags. Try foods that won’t make too much of a mess like grapes, carrot sticks, string cheese, beef jerky or popcorn. Opt for reusable water bottles over juice boxes which have much less capacity for spillage. Having snacks on board should sustain your crew for a long haul drive.
Another way to keep children happy in the car is to bring along activities that they can do from their seat-belted positions. Consider creating an easy scavenger hunt in which they have to cross off items they see along the highway. Bring along reading books, coloring books and a roll of quarters to reward children who are behaving. You can also play traditional car games if your children are old enough to understand the rules. Bring each child a pillow and blanket to encourage quiet time in the car too. With a little advance preparation, it’s entirely possible to stay sane and actually enjoy time spent on the road with the kids.