7 Tips for Making a Road Trip with Kids This Summer

famly-traveling-on-vacationFor many Michigan families, summer time means a road trip. It might be traveling from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Mackinac Island for a few days of fun or it could be a cross-country trip to take in sites like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Whatever your destination, getting there really can be fun if you plan wisely.

To help get you started, we’ve pulled together a 7 great ideas:

  1. Consider your method of travel. If your car is a tight fit just traveling around town, think about renting a mini-van or larger SUV for the trip. You want to give each child space to stretch out for a nap and a place to have a “busy bag” of things to keep them occupied.
  2. Assemble a busy bag for each child. Start planning ahead of time and create an age-appropriate bag of activities for each of your children to enjoy. It might be that you give them an initial stash and then add to it at certain mileage markers along the way. That will give them new activities to pass the time now and more to look forward to on your journey.
  3. Rent a DVD player and movies. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a built-in DVD player, rent one for the trip. Since the prices have fallen fairly considerably in recent years, it might be less expensive to buy one. A few good movies can help the time fly by.
  4. Don’t forget their pillow and blanket! We all know how important the right pillow is to catching a few Zzz's. So remember to pack it and to check the car each time you re-pack after a hotel stay. You don’t want to accidentally leave it behind. Depending upon their age, the same goes for their favorite stuffed animal.
  5. Involve kids in the planning. If your kids are old enough, involve them in planning the trip. You can share the route with them and a list of landmarks to be on the lookout for along the way.
  6. Car games for the whole family. Part of the bonding time on a road trip can be the games you all play together along the way. We’ve probably all played “I Spy” or the license plate game on family trips as a kid. Parents magazine has a list of 8 Fun Car Games you might want to print out and bring along.
  7. Ease up on the rules. A car trip is one place where you can ease up on the family rules just a bit. We aren’t suggesting you let the kids run wild or have a food fight in the car. Instead, think about what rules your kids might really enjoy getting a break from on vacation. It might be helpful to use treats as rewards or let the kids get away with picking M&Ms over an apple when you stop for gas along the way.

Above all, relax and have fun. That is what you really want your kids to remember about family vacations when they are older!

Have we missed anything?

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