Ahhh Thanksgiving. Time for long trips with the kids to reach far-flung relatives. For many of us, that means travel by car. Long car rides are rarely easy with children but these Thanksgiving car travel tips will help you make traveling with kids much easier.
1. Let them sleep
There’s a reason your parents pulled you out of bed in the wee hours of the morning and bundled you up in the car while you were half-asleep. They wanted you to sleep as long as possible in the car. Sleeping children are not bored children. Plan your drive time as early in the morning or as late in the evening as possible. The children will sleep for several hours of the trip and let you concentrate on getting to your destination.
2. Make them comfy
Whether they are sleeping or awake, comfortable children are happier children. You don’t need to dress up for the travel portion of your trip. Pajamas, sweat pants, baggy shirts, fuzzy socks, blankets, and pillows are part of the long car trip experience.
3. Keep them busy
Plan for keeping them busy when they are awake. For the youngest that means toys, just pick soft toys whenever possible so the occasional flung toy doesn’t hurt when if catches you unaware. For the older kids that usually means electronics. To keep those electronics going remember your charging cables and car adapters. If you have a lot of electronics that need charging or a device that won’t charge from the power outlet in your car, consider a power inverter. These small devices take power from your car and change it into a form and amount larger devices can use…and provide a traditional outlet without the need for an adapter from the device itself. Power converters are great for laptops especially. Also, don’t forget the headphones for the kids.
4. Plan your stops
You may be perfectly happy surviving on nothing but coffee and refusing to stop for a restroom break for hours on end but the kids won’t be happy with that. In fact, they’ll find a way to make you as miserable as they are if they really have to go or are really hungry. Plan your route so that there are plenty of stops possibilities along the way. Also, if you have a plan for stops, so that you eat in a place where there is an available restroom stop an hour further down the road you will be prepared when all that soda they drank with their meal demands a stop.
5. Be flexible
Plans are wonderful but life happens when you are planning. Plan for the unplanned. Add extra time into your plan and be flexible for stops you didn’t count on, traffic accidents slowing traffic, wrong turns, and even flat tires. Expecting to have to make changes will help you relax and if you are relaxed then the kids will be relaxed.