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Road-Trip Tips for Travelling with Children

For many of us, the holidays involve taking a wintery road-trip or two to spend time with family and friends. When travelling with children, surviving the stress of the season involves more than extra vigilance on icy roads. It also helps to have a holiday road-trip plan. Below are a few tips to help you get to and from your destination safe and sane.

Before Your Family Road-Trip

Pack carefully

This may seem like a no brainer since poor planning makes for a stressful or late getaway, but it’s good to keep in mind. Walk through your family’s day step-by-step to ensure nothing is missed. When travelling with children who are a bit older and packing for themselves, make time to go through their bags to give your final nod of approval. Even the most responsible kids (and adults) might overlook daily necessities, like extra socks or a toothbrush.

Be sure to also pack your road-trip items separately for easy access. Necessities like water, snacks, phone chargers, medication, and entertainment devices should all be within arm’s reach. Not buried at the bottom of your suitcase in the trunk.

Always be prepared

When packing, remember to grab your first aid kit. Hopefully you never need to use gauze or a tourniquet on the road — but you never know when a Bandaid or some motion sickness tablets could come in handy.

Just as important as your first aid kit is a roadside emergency kit. You never know when you may get stuck in the snow, require a jumpstart, need to change a flat tire, or encounter any other obstacles on the road.

Space and seating

Do you have enough room to comfortably accommodate your children, pets, luggage, and gifts? If space seems a bit tight for your holiday haul, you may want to consider installing a roof rack. A roof rack will also come in handy during those summer road-trip adventures. If necessary, you may want to rent a larger vehicle. (Or start considering if it may soon be time to invest in a new vehicle). You don’t want any members of your family to be cramped for hours at a time!

If you’re travelling with smaller children, now is also a good occasion to double-check that your car seats are installed properly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three out of four car seats are improperly installed.

Rest up, fuel up, charge up

Your car isn’t the only thing that needs to be fuelled up before hitting the road. Start your journey on the right foot. Ensure your kids are well-rested and have something to eat at the beginning of your trip.

Also, while most cars these days have USB ports for all your charging needs, think ahead to reduce any possible competition. Check that everyone’s devices are fully charged before you leave. Are electronic devices not your family’s thing? Think about what other activities will keep your kids occupied and ward off the natural boredom that comes with a long drive.

During Your Family Road-Trip

Plan frequent pit stops

If travelling with younger children, consider stopping at regular intervals every couple hours. This allows everyone time to stretch their legs and gives the kids a chance to burn off some extra energy. Check your route for possible parks, playgrounds, scenic lookout points, and other touristy attractions that help break up the ride. If the weather is too cold to enjoy a roadside attraction, then food courts, family-friendly restaurants, and gift shops are good alternatives too.

Share parenting and driving duties

If you’re travelling with a partner, taking turns between driving and entertaining the kids can help balance the journey. If your vehicle has enough room, maybe one adult can sit in the backseat for a while to keep the kids happily distracted with road-trip games, storytelling, or other low-key activities you and your children enjoy doing together. Parents don’t often sit in the backseat, so when you do, it can sometimes turn a long drive into a special occasion.

Manage meltdowns

Joining your children in the backseat is also a good way to ward off any fussy behaviour or bickering between siblings. If your car is small and you cannot fit between your fighting children, a pillow can help create a physical barrier to grant them their own space. If things start getting too loud or tense, don’t be afraid to pull over until the situation is resolved. It’s much safer and easier to diffuse drama on the side of the road than it is from the front seat.

Is your car ready for your winter road-trips? Get peace of mind for a more peaceful season and make an appointment with Waterloo Honda’s service team today.

Dec 5th, 2016