They’re four of the most dreaded words in the English language:
“Are we there yet?”
On their own, not so bad. But when you’re on a road trip with your family, the phrase doesn’t pop out once – or even at reasonable intervals along the way. It’s every 5 seconds. No matter how long the drive. For the entire drive.
Whether you’re heading out of town for a weekend tournament or spending the holidays with the in-laws, odds are you’re going to be road-tripping with the kids soon. Now’s the time to prepare!
Done right, some of your kids’ most amazing childhood memories could be of your family loading up the SUV and hitting the open road. Max out these opportunities with a few key essentials that make the trip fun for everyone!
For keeping them entertained
Sure, they would happily stay glued to their screens the entire trip – and don’t beat yourself up for increasing their tablet time on the road (for everyone’s sanity). But there are lots of ways to keep kids busy that don’t involve zoning out watching Youtube. Consider:
- Brand new books and magazines they’ll love.
- Activity or coloring books and a fresh box of crayons or colored pencils.
- Travel versions of classic board games like Scrabble or Yahtzee. They typically use magnets to keep all the pieces together.
- Car Karaoke: Take turns choosing a song (or better yet, choose for each other) and belt out the lyrics like you’re on stage, not strapped into a seatbelt. Singing along in the car will not only keep you entertained but might even wear the kids out and they might nap!
- I Spy: It’s not just for littles! Even older kids will enjoy racing to be the first to spot something red.
- 20 Questions: This one can be tailored based on a child’s age. But the idea is that someone chooses a person, place or thing, then the rest of the family has 20 yes or no questions to get it right.
- Cornfield: This one’s simple and can be played randomly the whole trip through. See a cornfield, be the first to say “cornfield!” It’s silly, but by the end of the trip it will make you giggle.
- One for Everyone: To encourage the kids to look out the window and appreciate the scenery now and then, each family member gets one non-negotiable stop during the trip, whether its to see a pop-up landmark or to get an ice cream cone at 9am Apply your own time limit as needed, say 30 minutes max, and see what they choose!
For staying on the road
Embrace the spirit of adventure with unexpected detours now and then to see the world’s largest rocking chair or to get the best burger in Denver. But cut down the bathroom and snack stops by being prepared!
- Declare it before you leave the driveway: Every time you have to stop for a meal or gas, everyone must go to the bathroom. No exceptions. If you leave it up to the kids, 5 minutes after you fill your tank someone will need to empty theirs.
- Don’t forget the cooler: One of the best parts of road-tripping is snacking the whole day through. This should include a decent amount of junk food – it’s vacation! – but fill an ice chest with water, juice and healthier options like grapes, beef jerky and peanut butter crackers and have plenty to nosh on between gas station burritos.
For when it gets too crowded
It’s close quarters, even in the roomiest SUV, when the whole family is piled in together for a long stretch of road. Most of the time, you kick off your shoes. Snack wrappers pile up. And it can get a bit funky. Here’s how to keep things in check:
- When the weather allows, open the windows to air the whole car out and enjoy the carefree breeze.
- You know those little pine trees that used to hang from rearview mirrors, filling the car with a very strong, artificial scent? Don’t get those, but do bring along something much better! The Scentsy Car Bar comes in more than 30 best selling fragrances, like Sunkissed Citrus and Vanilla Bean Buttercream (a family favorite). Or try the Car Bar Clip, which pops right into your air vent to help distribute fragrance throughout the car.
- Be sure to stash the uber-portable Scentsy Go and a few spill-proof Scentsy Pods to fill your car and the hotel or guest room with your favorite scents from home.
If life is a highway for your family this season, make the most of it! Happy road-tripping!