Who’s ready for a family road trip? If you’re preparing to drive to Florida for your Indian Rocks Beach vacation, you’ll want to read this first! We’re focusing on road trip tips that will encourage a successful journey and help things run as smoothly as possible for you and the kids. Before you know it, you’ll be pulling up to your Indian Rocks Beach vacation rental and ready to start your vacation. Happy travels!
Know your family’s travel limits and plan accordingly.
You know your family best. Try to choose a travel plan with your kids in mind. You probably already have a good idea of the optimal time of day to load up the car and drive to your vacation destination. When children are very young, it’s often easier to drive in the evening or nighttime when they are prone to sleep, but as children get older and more active, you often need to make adjustments that allow plenty of time for bathroom breaks and opportunities for them to burn off some pent up energy. Plan ahead for these things and also consider the maximum amount of time your family can handle in the car to avoid any major meltdowns.
Talk about the travel plan with your kids in advance.
Be proactive by discussing your travel plans with your family ahead of time. Give them a good idea of how long the road trip will be, what the expectations are, and how often you’ll be stopping along the way. This will help your kids mentally prepare and give them an idea of what to expect. Set road trip rules if necessary, and let them ask questions now. Role play, problem solve, and set scenarios that prepare them for the road trip ahead.
Make sure everyone is comfortable.
There’s nothing worse than a long ride in an uncomfortable position. Make sure the car seat you’re using is going to work for a really long time in the car. Let kids bring things that bring them comfort like a favorite stuffed animal, cozy blanket, or travel pillow. Whenever possible, give them enough space so they don’t feel crowded in with all those extra things you’ve tucked into the backseat. The more comfortable the ride, the less complaints there will be.
Let your kids pack their own road trip activity bag.
Give your kids a sense of ownership on this trip by encouraging them to pack their own road trip activity bag. Give guidance and suggestions, but let them do it. You can give each child a special bag or backpack for the task at hand, or they can use their own. By allowing them to pack their favorite things, you have a better chance of keeping them occupied with what they enjoy. Younger kids are obviously going to need more guided help, since they’ll inevitably want to pack too many things or toys that aren’t suited for road trips.
Expect the best, be prepared for the worst.
Every road trip is an adventure, but there is also the chance that something will go awry. Have your vehicle packed with the essentials you might need such as extra diapers, wet wipes, headache and motion sickness medication, plastic bags, and an extra set of clothes for each child. Long trips are prone to all sorts of unexpected accidents along the way, so it’s best to be prepared even if nothing happens.
You need snacks, lots and lots of snacks.
Pack the snacks! And lots of ’em. Don’t underestimate the calming power of a good snack. Bring a variety, throw in a few treats that your kids wouldn’t expect, and create pre-portioned individual snack bags with a mix of goodies to make it easy, accessible, and where no one’s fighting over the bag. You can also give them a heads up when you’re getting close to stopping for lunch or dinner so they have something to look forward to and to prevent them asking you every 5 minutes when the next meal stop will be.
Help pass the time with games.
Your kids may not be familiar with the road trip games you played as a kid—you know, in the Dark Ages before technology. Introduce them to a few of your childhood favorites. Play along with them to encourage everyone to play. Some oldies but goodies are License Plate Bingo, Name That Tune, Twenty Questions, Mad Libs, The Alphabet Game, Punch Buggy, or just some random trivia cards. If you’re looking for a great road trip game reference list, click here.
Limit screen time on the road.
Screen time is probably the most popular way to pass the time on road trips these days. Though it has its place, too many movies or gaming is probably not best for your kids to do for hours on end. (But hey if it is, we don’t judge you. You do what you gotta do.) Try setting screen time limits and then encouraging breaks throughout the trip to play games, sing along with a roadtrip playlist, or to enjoy the scenery. Too much looking at screens during a long road trip can cause headaches or an upset stomach, which no one wants.
Have a few road trip tricks up your sleeve.
It’s good to have a few surprise road trip tricks at the ready. Maybe it’s a small novelty from the local dollar store that you give to each child, an activity book, or a sticker sheet. It’s best to hand these out during good behavior than wait until problems arise so as not to encourage negative behavior with a reward. Perhaps save a really special snack for a random time during the road trip to give out when the kids are least expecting it. Parents always have to keep a step ahead!
When all else fails, maybe bribe them with a stop for ice cream? Best wishes on your next family road trip adventure! We hope these tips help.
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