Road trips in British Columbia can be epic adventures, escaping into the great outdoors and making family memories to last a lifetime. Most of us have fond recollections of hitting the open road and exploring new destinations in the summertime. Now that warmer weather is starting to hit the west coast, you may be planning a road trip with your family and bringing your kids on the journey—which is an adventure in itself. Although road trips are incredible bonding experiences, being cooped up in a car with the kids does have its challenges. Younger children can get bored and anxious through the long stretches, making the trip extra stressful for parents.
Here are our tips and tricks to keeping the kids happy campers on your next road trip!
Over-Packing is a Good Thing
You can never be too overprepared when it comes to packing for a trip with kids! Seat-back bags, trash bins, paper towels and collapsible dishes will help the vehicle backseat stay clean and organized during mealtimes. Sunscreen, Kleenex, wet wipes and hand sanitizer are also essential for road trips with children. Blankets and stuffed animals will bring the comforts of home to nap-time on the road. A frisbee or a football is a fun addition to help make the most out of a pit stop and helps ensure kids get a bit of activity throughout the day.
Expect the unexpected when travelling and always ensure you have a first aid kit for bumps, bruises and scratches that can occur. Kids are also extra sensitive to car sickness which can make a road trip especially challenging. Gravol is truly a lifesaver when it comes to preventing nausea. It’s also smart to have disposable bags on hand if you know your child has a hard time with long drives. Consider letting your little one sit in the front seat to prevent unwanted motion sickness.
Pack Healthy Meals and Plan ahead for Pit-Stops
When you hit those long stretches of highway and all you can see for miles is a Mcdonald’s or a Taco Bell, it’s easy to get stuck in a fast-food rut; leading your family to lack the nutrition they would normally get at home. Processed meals and beverages high in sugar and carbs make kids cranky, tired and irritate their stomachs. Prepare healthy snacks that you know your little ones will love and store them in a travel-friendly cooler. When you do make pit stops, look for grocery stores with delis or salad bars where you can pick up healthy options to last a couple of days…and remember to bring lots of water!
Tunes and Electronics go a long way
Good old car games will never go out of style because they really work! Classics like “I spy” are easy ways to pass the time on road trips. Sing-alongs also are surefire ways to lift spirits. Put together Spotify playlists ahead of time with songs you know the whole family will love. Before you know it you’ll all be belting out to ‘Life is Highway’ and reaching the destination faster than you think. TVs, movies on an IPad and audiobooks are also easy ways to ensure kids don’t get bored and stay entertained.
Don’t Over-Do the Driving
Drowsiness can lead to distracted drivers and cranky kids. Planning out pit stops on the roadmap will save you from finding yourself on a stretch of road that lacks desirable rest areas. Pinpoint noteworthy view spots or parks to visit so the kids can stretch their feet and enjoy some outdoor playtime. Also, determine a time of day to start driving that works best with their nap times and energy levels. Leaving first thing in the morning vs. after lunch, for example, can lead to a much happier, well-rested child.
Be Picky with your Rental Car
If you are renting a car for your road trip, check out vehicle features before making a decision. Vans, RV’s or SUV’s of course have more room for kids to feel comfortable in the car. Does the car have AC and is the music player compatible with your phone? Some vehicles also come with TVs that can play videos and movies for kids.
The safety features are incredibly important. Does the vehicle model have a high safety rating, are good car seats available to rent and is the car complete with airbags and safety locks? These are all important factors to consider before embarking on your journey on four wheels!
Keep your Car and Family Safe
As much as you prepare, the unexpected can still happen when away from home. Travel and vehicle insurance are essential for road trips. It’s best to consult directly with your Johnston Meier insurance advisor to determine the best kind of insurance for your trip.
For your convenience, at Johnston Meier Insurance, we are available to assist with your insurance needs over the phone or by email. If you are unable to wear a mask please call one of our locations and we will arrange to assist you with one of these alternate options. Talk to one of our qualified advisors today about all of the coverage options available.