If you’re planning a family road trip vacation this summer, you can take steps to make it easier and more enjoyable, according to children’s book author Michael DiLorenzo.
“This is a shared experience, and one that will be talked about during family gatherings for years to come,” DiLorenzo, a father of three and writer of the Adventures with Jonny book series, said in a News and Experts news release.
“For busy parents, this is a time to savor their children’s youth. As moms and dads eventually find out, they grow up fast.”
One way to reduce stress on your trip is to avoid rush hours in big cities. Careful planning can help you steer clear of peak traffic periods and possibly save you and your family hours of misery in gridlock.
Use websites and apps to find the cheapest gas prices, good food choices, and the best campground rates, and travel routes, DiLorenzo recommends.
Speaking of technology, make sure you leave behind all work-related calls, texts, and emails. If you want to have a smartphone on your vacation, make sure it’s not a work-related device.
To help the miles pass easily, make a music mix that appeals to the entire family. Family activities such as word games are another fun way to keep everyone entertained while in the RV or car.
Be sure to make regular stops and pull over whenever you see potentially interesting or unique attractions, DiLorenzo advises.
Be cautious about dairy drinks and smelly snacks. A spill on a seat can eventually create a terrible stink during a summer road trip.
But be sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks so that you don’t have to buy junk food during your trip.
Road Trip Boredom Busters
The family road trip can be a time to bond and learn about each other’s interests and points of view—or an ordeal that makes you want to scream every time you hear “Are we there yet?” from your kids.
A road trip can be a fun, educational, and sane experience with just a little planning, creativity, and preparation. Sure, electronic games, apps, and portable DVD players are great distractions. But don’t overlook these family-friendly games and activities that can keep everyone happy as the miles go by.
Don’t underestimate the power of a deck of cards. It presents endless possibilities for all ages and can provide hours of entertainment and concentration. If your kids are sick of the standard Go Fish, Crazy Eights, and Rummy games, buy — or borrow from your local library — a kids’ card games book for new ideas. Or buy a deck of quiz or trivia cards to keep their brains busy.
Buy cheap but sturdy journals (or use plain notebooks or create your own from construction paper, hole puncher, and yarn) and have kids write down and describe what they see along the way. Have them collect something small (a stone, a seashell, a flower, etc.) or buy a super-small trinket from rest stops (buttons, stickers, postcards, etc.) to glue into their journal, describing each stop and each location or landmark they pass.
Bring along a stack of old magazines and have kids cut out and paste pictures into their journals to illustrate some of what they’ve seen (cows, fire trucks, palm trees, deer, cars, etc.). Give each kid a disposable camera to capture their own memories and keep the pictures in their personal road-trip journals.
Have kids write down various words they see as you drive along (from billboards, bumper stickers, roadside attractions and stores, license plates, signs, the sides of trucks, etc.). Ask them to write a story, poem, or song grouping all of the words they see together. Have them read, perform, or sing their creation for everyone when they’re done.
Additional road-trip boredom busters have been made available by The Nemours Foundation.
If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.