Over the river and through the woods was coined for holiday travel back in the horse-and-sleigh era but we travel more and farther now than they did back then. Your family is one of more than about 95 million people who will drive more than fifty miles for traveling this holiday season. To make it a trip that is memorable for all the right and none of the wrong reasons, why not plan along these lines:
Talk Up That Trip
The kids will be more exited if you talk it up. Going to relatives? Remind them of why they are so fond of them. Going someplace familiar? Talk up what you enjoyed in your past visits. Going someplace new? Open a few picture guides or even short on line videos that give a hint of what you will see and do.
Build In Some “Oops” Time
As well planed as any trip may be, there are those unforeseen delays and detours that you just have to live with. So don’t schedule too little time for the trip. For every hour’s drive, add on a good ten to fifteen minutes for unscheduled stops or traffic snarls. Knowing that you have done this will help everyone relax when the unavoidable delays happen.
Let Your Hosts Know of Any Simple, Specific Needs
Does grandma’s house need a bit of childproofing? Do you have someone in the family who cannot eat this or must eat that? Your host will usually be glad to accommodate, if you give some advance warning. Be realistic, however. Do not expect the kind folks who are welcoming you to their home to treat you like someone staying on the VIP floor of the Ritz. And be sure to just help out while you are there, with what needs doing. No, they may not ask you but, yes, they will notice and appreciate it.
It’s In The Bag – Clearly!
Pack most things in clear plastic zip-top bags that are handy to reach and easy to see into, so that you will have less rummaging to do en route. Have a few extra bags as well, for the dirty clothes and other things that need stowing till you get home again.
Be prepared by packing emergency items that you may never need. A first aid kit, warm blankets, simple pain and cold medication, a flashlight, and yes all those cords you will need to recharge your family’s personal electronic devices. Bring along spare glasses, and know how to get any prescriptions you may need refilled. Lap top tubs with slide tops and each child’s name clearly displayed can be a packing and traveling bonus. Each kid needs a spill proof lidded cup.
Make a Travel Book
Make a Travel Book about where you are going and what you will see, and issue one to each of your kids so they can do the activities you have made, and learn as they go. Put them in one of those brightly colored three ring paper folders with the child’s name on the cover. This takes extra effort on the parent’s part ahead of time. You can turn the trip into an adventure of finding and discovering highlights of the journey, if you with some creativity.
Snacks and Stuff
Bring along the types of snacks that work best for your family, keeping in mind likes and dislikes as well as what does and does not travel well. Add to that peppermints, ginger ale and saltines for those woozy tummies.
Stop frequently and take little breaks that help you pace the trip. That way you can all enjoy your trip as you #drivethenation.