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Traveling with Kids on Road Trips
Family vacations can be one of the most exciting times of the year. You have planned and anticipated your trip for weeks or months, and finally the kids are off for the summer, and mom and dad are on vacation. Its a time to unwind, relax and do some fun and exciting things together. Traveling with kids can be great fun, or it can try your patience, it all depends on how well you prepare for the trip. Children live in the present, and are not very good at waiting for long periods or sitting quietly, so make sure that you go on your trip adequately prepared.
It may be a road trip to visit the grandparents or other relatives, visiting a theme park, visiting a national park or monument, or touring the United States. Whatever your vacation plans happen to be, if you are traveling over 100 miles with kids, you will want to take along some things to help keep them occupied and entertained.
We love to visit and interact with our kids as much as possible along the way. We make up songs together, play I Spy and other games. However, at times mom and dad want to visit and the kids want to relax, so we take along some things to make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.
Older kids are better at reading or keeping themselves occupied, however some good music CDs are sure to be appreciated. Most of the things that we will mention here are geared toward the younger kids, but older kids will enjoy some of these things too. Be sure and take along some small toys, games, coloring books, reading books, story and music CDs, and a football or frisbee to toss around when you stop to stretch your legs.
Be sure to have a portable CD player with headphones to take along. Kids will enjoy listening to stories or music and have a ball doing it. There are many different places where you can buy story CDs. Look for some that offer a good variety of stories, and ideally, include companion coloring pages or coloring books. This way your kids can color pictures while listening to some of their favorite stories. Connect-the-dot puzzles, and mazes can also be great fun while traveling down the road. These will entertain children both young and old.
For long trips, portable DVD players or video players are wonderful. If you really need to cover some miles and its going to be 2-3 hours till your next stop, then the kids will love to watch one of their favorite movies. These work well for entertaining the kids, the time will go by fast, and mom and dad can talk up front, while the movie is playing. We have a long cable with dual headsets that works very well for our two kids. They can be comfortable in the back and control the volume of the movie, while my wife and I have a normal conversation up front. This way we do not have to talk extra loud to compete with the movie.
Another thing to consider is taking along an inexpensive digital camera for the kids, or maybe getting them inexpensive disposable cameras for the trip. Kids love snapping off pictures, and you will be amazed at some of the neat shots that they may capture.
Last but not least, be sure you pack some pillows and light blankets so the kids can get comfortable. Snap-on reading lights are great in case the kids want to do some reading after it gets dark. Also, make sure and pack a small cooler with bottled water, juice, and soft drinks, and take along some of your favorite snacks. This will minimize the number of stops and everyone will be more comfortable along the way.
Family vacations and traveling with kids can be great fun. Most of all just be safe. Have fun and do not stress yourself out. Remember, you are creating family memories that will last a life time. Have a great trip!
About the Author:
Rich Herman loves the outdoors and travels extensively with his family. He specializes in family-friendly websites: www.FavoriteFamilyVacations.com; www.FamilyBooksandCDs.com