5 Tips for a Successful Road Trip

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Family Car

Road trips can be a strain on a driver's nerves even without a couple of little ones in the back. If you're not prepared to keep your children occupied, you may have a difficult time focusing on the road, and this is a problem for road safety. Distracted driving causes accidents every year, which lead to higher car insurance premiums, injury or worse, so make sure you have everything you need to keep your family happy and healthy before you set out. We've put together a couple of tips to help you along the way.



1. Rest up before you go

The most important thing to do before you go is to ensure that you get enough sleep. If your eyelids are drooping, you won't be able to focus on the road, and you definitely won't be able to keep up with your children's antics. Get plenty of sleep, and make sure your children do as well. Any parent that has tried keeping their children up before a road trip in the hopes that they will sleep through the journey can tell you that this strategy rarely works. More likely, you'll have a testy, difficult and very much awake child on your hands distracting you from what you should be focusing on - driving.

2. Pack healthy snacks

If you don't want your little ones pestering you every time those golden arches appear on the horizon, then you'd better make sure you are stocked up on snacks before you go. Sandwiches, vegetables and nuts are all great options to keep your family fueled throughout a trip. Investing in some healthy snacks before you go will save you the inevitable drive-through charge and keep you going with clean, healthy energy.

3. Pack for maximum access

Your snacks, mp3 players, first aid kit and everything else you need on the road will be no good to you if you don't ensure that you can access them. When your packing, think about what you'll need to use and what you'll only need when you get there, and pack accordingly. Ideally, you should have a few larger bags in the trunk to keep your clothes and other items that you don't need on the road, and a backpack for each rider with the items they want while the drive is underway. Letting your child help pack his or her backpack with all of the things that he or she wants to use is a great way to get them excited about the trip and feel like part of the process.

4. Be realistic about entertainment

Gone are the days when children could be distracted for hours just making faces at cars that go by. While you might be able to distract your kids with a car game for a while - like "I spy" or "count the red cars" - eventually they will probably end up on a screen of some sort. At other times, it's important to encourage your children to do other things, but you will probably find that it's much easier to get where you're going if you make an exception for your road trip. Tablets, phones and handheld video game players are all useful distractions for children during a road trip, and with a little luck they'll keep your children from distracting you while you're driving.

5. Spend some quality time

Eventually, your car will go quiet as people fall asleep or get tired of their games and movies. Road trips are still a great time for you to really get to know your child - especially teens who are hard to get a peep out of otherwise. When you're driving, you are looking straight forward, which takes a lot of the pressure off of an interaction. This is a great time for you to find out what it was like to fail that test or break up with that "true love." Your child may even find out that you - shockingly - went through something similar when you were his or her age.