By Kendra Thornton
Road trips are great ways for families to bond with one another and create shared memories, but for many moms the thought of traveling with small children can be overwhelming. Following are five travel tricks for road trips tips (save that five times fast!) that should help get you started on your stress-free reduced family vacation.
1. Make Your Car’s Backseat Into a Traveling Bedroom
Cranky, tired children mean harried moms and dads, particularly during road trips when space is limited. If your schedule is flexible, consider driving through the night while your children sleep. Packing favorite blankets, pillows and stuffed animals will make the back seat of your car seem more like their bed at home. Don’t forget window blinds either! These will prevent sunlight from creeping in and prematurely waking up sleeping little ones. When you arrive at your destination, allow the driver to catch some Z’s while the other parent takes the kids to the pool or the park.
2. Make Hotel Reservations Well in Advance
Even if your upcoming road trip will involve fun family campouts, you will still want to spend some time researching your lodging options. There are a variety of advantages to making your reservations early, the first of which is saving money. Booking your hotel in advance will allow you to scope out a variety of sites to see which one offers the best price. This also gives you time to figure out which hotels offer discounts for which you qualify. Many AAA members or veteran families qualify for deals, particularly around the holidays when prices may be hiked up.
The second crucial factor in picking a hotel? Making sure it accommodates your family. If you’re interested in combining entertainment, lodging and cuisine, consider a family friendly resort. My family stayed at a great kid-centered hotel in Honolulu when we visited the Hawaiian Islands and we were thrilled with our experience. When trying to decide which hotels to stay at, ask the advice of other families who have traveled the same route. They’ll know better than anyone what will be important to you when choosing a place to stay.
3. Keeping Children Entertained During Long Car Trips
Downloading audio books for use during long car trips is a great way to provide children with entertainment material. Be sure to pick up some headphones so the books can be enjoyed privately or choose a story the whole family will enjoy. This is a great way to keep children busy for hours when there isn’t a lot of room to truly play. Check out your local library for an assortment of free audio tape rentals.
4. Combatting Motion Sickness
The jostling around of little tummies on a long car ride can quickly turn sour. To avoid motion sickness, try to give those predisposed a clear view out the front window. Make sure to avoid heavy, fatty foods as these can cause irritation sooner; instead stick to healthy snacks before and during your car ride. If motion sickness sets in, try to give your little one as much fresh air as possible. You may also want to consider a child-approved motion sickness remedy once you’ve consulted with your pediatrician. USA Today has a few recommendations for remedies that may help.
5. Pack an Emergency Survival Kit
Spills can happen at any time when small children are traveling in a car. To keep them from becoming bigger emergencies than they have to be, pack a spill-survival kit. Items to include are all-purpose moisturizing wipes, zip lock bags, paper towels, a change of clothes for every child and a basic first-aid kit. You’d be surprised how easily mishaps can be dealt with if you are prepared.
A little preparation can make the difference between a miserable time for mom and a memorable vacation for everyone.
About Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I’ve found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Zach Dischner0 Yum