As we quickly gear up for the holiday season, there is a good chance you have already started making travel plans. Whether you’re embarking on a journey near or far, by plane or car, always make sure to prepare ahead of time—especially if you have young travelers in tow.
Growing up, traveling around the holidays was always on the books for my family, and most times on four wheels. I will always be thankful for our family’s Chevrolet Suburban. I will never forget how excited my sisters and I were right before our trip! Our routine focused on three essentials: food, entertainment, and comfort. We would pack 3 times as many VHS tapes than we’d ever have time to watch in the car, my dad would put together the plastic-crate-and-bungee-cord contraption perfect for mounting our mini-TV, there was always a bag of Twizzlers floating around, and we’d use any remaining space for storing what seemed like our entire bedding set. While some car rides led to boredom, frustration, and too many pit stops, they will always have a special place in my childhood—and in the end, that’s all that matters.
So, to help ensure your family has the same great experience while on-the-go this holiday season, let’s chat and chew about tips for traveling by car—especially with younger kids!
Give your car some TLC. While all travelers sharing the road in the coming weeks should give their car a second look, or schedule a quick inspection, it’s especially important if your family car is packing on extra miles. You can never be too sure that ol’ reliable is as equipped as you think.
Check-in with Mother Nature. Rather than risk being unprepared during a bad storm (rain or snow), always check the weather a few days before departure. You can never be too prepared, especially when you have young kids, so top off your packing list with things like a flashlight, a few extra bottles of water, blankets, and any other preferred emergency supplies.
Pack the car separately. Once your car is all tuned up, set aside time dedicated solely for packing the car. As I mentioned, family trips around the holidays consisted of DIY, or make-it-up-as-you-go, preparations. It’s only natural for kids to get restless when traveling long distances—even as an adult I still get antsy sometimes! It’s essential to prepare car seats, snacks, in-car entertainment, etc. before the morning you leave. Make sure to double-check for easily forgotten items, such as extra batteries, necessary power cords (such as USB adapters, phone chargers, GPS, etc.), and the always coveted, head phones.
Entertainment equals happiness. Whether it’s music, movies, books, or games, staying busy will help keep everyone happy, and sane, along the way! Tablets and smartphones can also be helpful and portable for keeping children distracted during long car rides. Need a break from technology? Switch things up with more traditional driving games, such as I-Spy, searching for state license plates, 21 Questions, counting exits, or any of these 20 Awesome Road Trip Activities for Kids. To engage the whole family, download an audio book that everyone can enjoy. Check out this list of Best Audio Books for Family Road Trips to help you get started!
Pack snacks. No one likes feeling HANGRY. Never underestimate the power of food—even gum has strange superpowers. Avoid the hassle of having to pull-off at a rest stop before planned gas or meal breaks by simply throwing together treat bags. With younger kids, try to keep snacks as healthy as possible to avoid sugar rushes or upset tummies. Check out Parents.com for a list of The 10 Best Travel Snack for Kids.
While these are just a few things to help jump-start any future family car ride, there are plenty of other suggestions available for further reading. Check out FlipKey®, a TripAdvisor® Company, for a list of the Top 20 Family Travel Bloggers to Follow This Year or share your travel tips in the comments section below! While you may not be able to avoid traffic jams, winter weather, or other potential travel disruptions, you can help ensure that everyone—including yourself—inside the car is safe, happy, and well prepared for the miles ahead!
From everyone here at Compass Rose Benefits Group, we wish you and your family and safe and Happy Holiday Season!