1.Choose The Appropriate Time In Which To Travel
Are your children early risers or are they night owls? If they like getting up early, then it is best to leave for your trip in the morning hours. If they are hard to wake up or grumpy in the morning but love staying up at night then leave in the afternoon and travel during the night. That way, you catch them at their best and lessen some of the stress.
2.Be Prepared For The Dry Mouths And Growling Stomachs
If you are going to be traveling a very long distance and don’t want to make all those pit-stops to convenience stores or McDonalds then be prepared. Bring along a small cooler that is big enough for all the snacks, sodas or lunchmeat that you will putting into it, but small enough to fit in your car or van. Also, pack a grocery bag with bread and chips. By doing this, you and your children can make sandwiches, eat snacks and drink while still motoring down the highway.
No, not your job. Keeping your children occupied. The busier they are with coloring books and crayons or hand held video games, the less they will be thinking about how much further it is to where they are going. Walkmans, mp3 players or ipods are great for older kids. They can put the ear plugs into their ears and listen to their own brand of music instead of fighting over the car radio. If you have a portable dvd player, this is a wonderful thing on a long journey. You can plug it into the cigarette lighter of the vehicle, pop in a DVD and that’s at least 2 hours of peace and quiet..
4.DVD Player Anyone?
Portable DVD players are a wonderful thing, especially on a long road trip. Let the kids pick out a few DVD’s before leaving home. When they get restless, plug it into the cigarette lighter of the vehicle (or let it run off batteries), pop in a movie and you’ve got peace and quiet for a couple of hours, maybe more.
5.Suitcases For The Long Haul
If you are traveling a distance that requires stopping at a hotel in between your home and your eventual destination, pack one suitcase with a change of clothes for every member of the family. That way, when you make the stop, you are only taking in one bag instead of several different suitcases.
6.Who’s Up For A Picnic?.
If you’ve checked on the weather and found out that it is going to be nice and your family wants to stop at a park or roadside rest stop, make sure to pack a table cloth. You can spread it out on the ground or on top of a picnic table, whichever you prefer. If it’s a park where there are swings and slides, it’s also a good way to let the kids stretch their legs.
7.Never Forget Your Friend The Camera
One of the most important things about taking a family vacation is the memories you will have. And what better way to capture the moments of a vacation than a digital camera? These pictures will bring back great memories when you look at them. You can also upload the pictures onto your computer and send them to family members. Or make a slideshow or music video with them and share it with the extended family.
8.Don’t Forget The People At Home
Another thing to remember while on vacation is to keep the exended family up to date on what you are doing. The best way to do this is to buy postcards from wherever you are at, whether it’s an amusement park or historical landmark. This will show others that you are thinking of them and will let them be a part of your trip, if only at a distance.
9.Don’t Go Too Far
Adults can travel very long distances before they get tired and have to pull over and rest. However, small children and even some teen-agers can’t take being cooped up in a car that long. They get restless, tired and grumpy. It’s best to keep the time in a car to a minimum of 8 hours before stopping for the day or night.
10.Don’t Crush Me!
Don’t pile the car full of so many unnecessary items that you hardly have room for yourself and your kids. If you are driving a car, put everything but the essentials in the trunk. If you are traveling in a van, keep the non-essential things in the very back of the van. If the trunk of your car is not large enough to hold everything, try tying some stuff down on the top.
These tips should make for happier kids, which makes for happier parents, which makes for a pleasant trip. If you’ve tried all of these and the kids are still whining you can always fall back on singing, “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”, or playing games like “Pop-Eye”.