There is nothing quite like the feeling you get when you fill up the cooler with snacks and beverages, pack way too much stuff into the trunk of your car, squeeze into the backseat with kids and blankets and pillows, and hit the road. Seriously? It’s one of the most nostalgic things you can do, and no matter how many times you get ready for a road trip, it is still one of the most enjoyable experiences you can have. Until you’re two hours down the highway and the kids start their whining and complaining. Ugh, it’s the worst! But because you are a prepared traveler, you’ve done some research and know how to help pass the time on a road trip. You’re not rookie road tripper. You’ve got this.
1. Take Frequent Breaks
Sure, it will slow down your travel time, but who cares. Unless you’re racing against a ticking time bomb, there is actually no reason to rush. Stopping every two hours is manageable and is just enough time for everyone to take bathroom breaks, grab a snack and then get back on the road. It really does make the time seem like it is going by faster.
2. Play Stupid Car Games
Yeah, there’s no such thing as a fun car game. The internet is littered with ideas on how to keep your kids occupied and you have visions of how wonderful the road trip is going to be. But prepare yourself for the fact that car games die a sudden death almost all the time. You think you want to be the parent who can sustain that kind of energy in a cramped car for hours, but you won’t. Don’t start out with car games, save them for the really boring jaunts of the highway. And try something different: instead of counting license plates, look for ugly cars. Instead of counting color of cars, look for bumper stickers. Easy things that don’t take too much effort. You’ll get tired of them easy.
If you can stomach reading in the car – and I know not everyone can – then it is one of the best ways to spend all that free time. Instead of buzzing on electronics in the car, get everyone to pick out a new book. It could be a road trip ritual: everyone gets one new book. If your crew insists on screen time, alternate between rest stops. Two hours of reading with two hours of screen time. Sure, two hours sounds like a lot, but be honest, you’ve definitely been your phone for that length of time before.
Enjoy your time on the road this summer and fall with your family. Wherever you are headed, getting there is definitely half the fun. Remember to repeat your activities on the way back from your destination. Everyone always plans for the drive to wherever they are going and then the drive home is just a mad dash to the finish line. Take your time, the drive home is part of your vacation too!