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Heather Corley

Road Trip Fun for the Whole Family

By July 1, 2010

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©2010, J.M. Used with permission.

This weekend, families across the country will take advantage of the 4th of July holiday by packing the car, loading up the kids, and hitting the road. The family road trip is a beloved summer tradition for many of us, full of fond memories and the inevitable story of the year the road trip seemed to go wrong in every way.

Welcome to the July edition of the All About Parenting blog carnival. This month, we're talking about road trips, from planning and packing to staving off boredom and creating lasting memories with your family.

Road Trip Memories

  • After reading Stay-At-Home Moms Guide Apryl Duncan's family road trip stories, I'd love to go back in time and hang out in her family's motor home. I could live without the bear encounter, though.
  • Katherine Lewis, Working Moms Guide, shares her road trip memories and explains why she traded long road trips for short jaunts to re-energize the family.
  • Though she dreads 13 hours in the car, Single Parents Guide Jennifer Wolf also appreciates the bonding time with her kids. Leaving the DVD player at home encourages conversations and laughter.

Boredom-Busting Activities

  • Audiobooks are a fantastic way to entertain the entire family at once. Children's Books Guide Elizabeth Kennedy offers advice on choosing children's audiobooks for your in-car entertainment.
  • For older kids, Tween Parenting Guide Jennifer O'Donnell suggests classic road trip games such as "I Spy," plus lots of snacks, to keep the kids happy on the road.
  • Get crafty with loads of vacation-theme crafts from Family Crafts Guide Sherri Osborn. My favorite is the check box camera.
  • Don't forget that one of the best ways to keep your family from going stir-crazy in the car is to get out of the car! Catherine Holecko, Family Fitness Guide, plays "side of the road(trip) games" with her family to burn off some energy while the car is stopped.
  • Grandparents Guide Susan Adcox prepares some retro road trip games, such as Mad Libs, for her grandkids, and discusses the ways they update road trip classics like Slug Bug.
  • Grandma Shelley from Grandma's Little Pearls even wraps small road trip toys like gifts, so that they seem even more new and exciting when the kids are bored.
  • At aPARENTly Speaking, Jackie offers tons of fun road trip activities gathered from readers. The road trip scavenger hunt is always a big hit in my family.

Prepare to Hit the Road

  • While preparing for family fun, I also take a few pre-travel minutes to make sure everyone in the car is riding safely. It's easier to enjoy the vacation if you know the kids are as safe as possible.
  • Georgette from Barista Kids has a whole "bag of road trip tricks" she uses to prepare for her family's annual road trip. Advanced preparation means she's ready to handle bored kids who never sleep in the car.
  • As Jackie Burrell, Young Adults Guide, explains, road tripping with college kids is a completely different experience. She suggests filling up the iPod with tunes to talk about with your kids, and taking a GPS so you can navigate wherever your adventures take you.
  • If vacation preparations leave you stressed, try traveling as Child Parenting Guide Katherine Lee did, with little planning at all. Sometimes an impromptu trip is a perfect solution, and it doesn't involve weeks of planning.

Setting Expectations

  • Adoption Guide Carrie Craft has sage advice on being realistic with your family vacation expectations. Will the kids be perfectly behaved angels the whole time? Likely not, but you can still have a fantastic time away from home.
  • A good rule for family vacations is to expect the unexpected. Work-At-Home Moms Guide Laureen Miles Brunelli recently took a "working vacation" where work was virtually impossible. The result? Amazing vacation memories.

Do you have a fantastic family road trip tale or a sure-fire way to keep your kids happy as the miles go by? We'd love to hear from you! Add your road trip ideas and stories in the comments section below.

July 7, 2010 at 2:18 am
(1) Sheri Wallace says:

I find that kids really relax and have a better time if you DO NOT have a DVD or other technology in the car. The first day might be rough while they detox but after that it’s much nicer without any technology. I know that’s not the usual advice but I have spent a lot of time in the car with kids and I swear by it!

July 8, 2010 at 12:58 am
(2) babyproducts says:

Thanks for commenting, Sheri. Car time is good bonding time, and I’ve noticed, too, that it’s easier when my daughter doesn’t have earbuds in. Not having to listen to kid music for the whole trip is sometimes worth it, though!

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