Tips for a Fun Summer Road Trip

The end of the school year can mean a lot of things: nicer weather, longer days, and family road trips.

Many of us have experienced long road trips with the dreaded “are we there yet” question coming from the back seat.  Road trips don’t have to be that way.  Regardless of how long your road trip will be, there are ways to make things a little more enjoyable for everyone.  Here are some successful techniques we’ve used in our family:

  1. Take breaks.  Yes, I know the temptation of arriving at your destination as quickly as possible is very attractive, but, if you push out your breaks too long, you pay for it in the end.  Why not take a bathroom break before it’s an emergency.  Take advantage of roadside rest areas.  Some fresh air and even a few minutes for kids to play can do a world of good.
  2. Enjoy the sights.  In the age of iPads, smartphones and hand-held video games, it’s difficult to resist the temptation of technology on road trips, but there is also so much to see around you.  I put together a little road trip sights and sounds checklist game that we play on road trips.  Prior to leaving, I make a list of some fairly generic sights we may see on the road: a red car, a farm, a horse, yellow flowers, a playground – these are a few examples of the “sights” I put on my list.  I also include some sounds, such as a car horn, a train, a song with the word “sun” in it (on the radio), etc.  We see who can check off all of their items first.  It’s a fun game that can continue even through frequent stops.
  3. Bring an “activity box” that contains colouring pages, crayons, and some blank sheets of paper.  I also picked up a clipboard from our local dollar store so my daughter has a hard surface to colour on.  Make sure the items you put in your box are different from anything you might have in your house.  Different colouring pages or activity pages, and newer crayons make the box a little more exciting.
  4. Read a story.  I’ve recorded my own voice reading a story using the voice recording app on my phone, and then I give my daughter the book to follow along while I read the story.

Finally, be creative!  I’m sure you can come up with your own fun activities for the car too.  So pack up your gear and head out on the road this summer!