The appeal of going on a road trip with the whole family may not be immediately obvious; however, forget those images of hot, squealing children fighting in the rear seat as parents disagree over map directions in the front, as with proper planning and preparation any road trip can be family-friendly. Simply follow these tips to enjoy a harmonious road trip with the brood on board.
Keep them entertained
All parents understand that for small children, boredom on a long car journey kicks in about two minutes after leaving home. Head off their cries of protest by having lots of car journey games to call upon. The Internet is a fine source of family friendly games to play in the car, so do some research beforehand and print off a list of ideas – it could buy valuable ‘happy time’ during the trip. Favorites such as Eye Spy, memory games and car spotting challenges are all good fun and keep everyone amused.
Modern technology means children can be entertained by movies in the car. Be sure to pack enough – choosing titles for their universal appeal to avoid arguments. Make the children feel involved in the planning of the route – include them on map reading or GPS checking duties – they will feel empowered and will have no excuses for repeatedly demanding ‘are we nearly there yet?’
Is the vehicle right?
Long road trips demand a lot from a vehicle. Ask yourself if the faithful old station wagon is up to the mileage involved, and is it comfortable enough to transport all the family such a distance? Car trouble en route is no fun with kids in tow; so to quash any doubts over reliability, consider hiring a car to make the trip. You can easily find Hertz rent a car locations in towns, cities and airports across the country – they provide rental cars with great fuel economy, clean and comfortable interiors, plus they are excellently maintained – so no problems with faulty heating or AC failure to cause misery.
The road to success
A long, featureless run on the Interstate isn’t much fun as a family-friendly road trip. Look at the route between A and B, and strive to squeeze as much fun in as possible. If time permits, weaving along the back roads is often far more enjoyable. Stop off at old Mom and Pop diners, discover hidden towns off the beaten track and let the children see America at a slower pace.
Ensure that you are armed with information about local attractions, good rest stops and places to take comfort breaks, as well as places where they can stretch their legs and burn off some energy. If the route involves travel through big cities, decide if it’s best to pass through at night when all is quiet – or would a stop off be more fun? Do anything to avoid sitting in stop/start rush hour traffic in the heat of the day with a bored and fractious cargo on board.
Family road trips can be awesome fun. They are part of the great American vacation tradition. According to the AAA, in 2012 a staggering 85 to 90 percent of us took to the roads for our summer vacation. With smart planning and preparation, there’s no reason why that combination of family plus road trip can’t be an enduring winning formula.