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Taking a Road Trip with Kids: Fight Backseat Boredom with These Tips


Published November 21, 2018

Road trips are an ever-popular way for many American families to reunite over the holidays. In fact, over the next two months, the overwhelming majority of American families prefer to skip the airport and instead hop in the car to reach their destinations.

However, although a road trip can be a great bonding experience, too much time together cooped up in a car definitely has its challenges. Younger children are used to short car trips and often get restless sitting in one place through traveling over long stretches.

To make sure you and your family have the best road trip possible,there are several tried-and-tested tips parents have used for years to make their vacation more affordable, less stressful, and a lot more fun.
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On travel days, keep a cooler packed with picnic provisions, healthy snacks, and low-sugar beverages. Fast food chains are quick, relatively cheap, and everywhere, so it's easy to fall into a fast-food rut when you're traveling. By bringing your own food, you won't be at the mercy of whatever fast food options are available and you'll save money if you pack snacks for the trip. If the weather allows, you can then pick a great scenic pull-off where you can stop with your family and enjoy a roadside snack while stretching your legs.

Pack one small bag that contains clothes for the next day, an extra change of clothes in case of spills or drips while on the road, pajamas, toothbrushes, medicines, and anything else you need for that day and night. It will be much easier to grab that one small bag rather than have to dig through a large suitcase.

Speaking of spills and drips, they’re an inevitable part of traveling with children. Keep a roll of paper towels and a box of wipes in the front seat for easy cleanups, along with a few garbage bags to collect the messy clean-up and drop in the trash at your next stop.

Motion sickness can also be the cause of an unexpected mess. There are even several tried and true ways to prevent motion sickness in children, including over-the-counter products that help prevent motion sickness. If your child suffers from severe motion sickness, talk to your pediatrician about the treatment developed by the US Coast Guard that combines a motion sickness medicine with a specific antihistamine.

If there’s an overnight stay that’s part of your trip, book a hotel that has an indoor pool. It may cost a little more, but it's something for your kids to look forward to during the drive, and the exercise of playing in the pool in the late afternoon will help your child sleep better that night. Children like having their own things with them, particularly at bedtime in a strange place, so bring their blanket and pillow if there's space in the car.

While it makes sense to bring smartphones and tablets on which children can play games, slip a few new games onto the device just before leaving in order to avoid them getting bored after playing their usual games over a long period of time.

And of course families around the world have been taking road trips long before the advent of the smartphones or tablets, and parents have always found ways to keep their kids entertained to avoid the usual backseat squabbling. Traditional car trip games like I Spy, the Alphabet game, and the Out of State License Plate game can provide a break from focusing on screens.

By following these simple tips you will have happier, more relaxed children on your trip, which reduces stress on you.
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