They say half the fun is getting there, though parents with a carload of children might, well, argue with that. But planning, humor, patience, and a few tricks can make the difference between a vacation to remember, and your worst nightmare.
Regular stops – usually 15 minutes every two hours – are essential when traveling with children, and they provide the occasion to burn off extra energy. But keeping them occupied between stops is vital for everyone?s sanity.
Audio book tapes are a great way to pass the time. Many town and school libraries stock these, so take your children to choose a few of their favorites, such as the popular Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, or storytelling tapes such as The Teacup Fairy: Very Old Tales for Very Young Children by Odds Bodkin. Electronic games and high-tech toys also do wonders to make time fly.
But there are plenty of old, familiar standbys – books, card games, coloring books, crossword puzzles – that will do the trick, along with travel games that can create quality family and learning time with your children. For example:
- The Alphabet Game – Locate the ABCs in sequence on billboards and passing cars.
- I Spy – ?I spy something red,? and then let everyone guess what it is.
- License Plate Game – See how many states everyone can identify and keep a list of who finds the most.
Let each child fill a bag with favorite travel items, such as a treasured toy, blanket or pillow. Surprises work too, so try packing goody bags with wrapped, inexpensive gifts, games, books or snacks. Bring along maps for the kids so they can chart your progress.
Break your destination into smaller segments by talking about upcoming towns and meals, thereby establishing more reachable goals. And instead of eating at a restaurant, which simply trades one seat for another, try a rest-stop picnic and allow the kids to burn off energy with active games like catch, tag or jump