You’ve been watching the calendar all year and the time has finally come to pack the whole family into the RV for your epic RV road trip. Before you hit the open highway, we’ve got some tips that might just keep the little ones from uttering that famous road trip battle cry, “are we there yet.” This week, we’ve got tips to help you prepare for travelling with your kids that will make your ride a smooth one.
Having a detailed game plan for your trip, from your home to your destination, is a necessity! While it’s not necessary to have a down-to-the-minute itinerary that you carry around on a clipboard, there are a couple of things you can count on and should make sure you plan for:
- Kids can be…challenging when they’re hungry, so know when and where you’re going to stop for meals. When they start to mention that they’re feeling peckish, have the non-driving adult pull up a menu of the restaurant you’re headed for and have them pick out their meal ahead of time. It will keep them engaged and distracted, while giving them a sense that there is a full belly in sight, just beyond the horizon.
- Bathroom breaks are also another thing you can try to plan for. We know that nature doesn’t always adhere it’s call to a schedule, but knowing where the potty stops are along the way will take some anxiety out of the trip, especially for parents.
You’ve got to love the internet for providing sites like InterstateRestAreas.com where you can search for rest areas, and their amenities, by state or highway number.
Limit Your Daily Miles
While it can feel good for the driver to knock-out a large chunk of the ride in one day, your tiny travelers in the back will not share your sense of accomplishment. While age matters here, it’s fair to say that after a while all kids (and adults for that matter) will eventually become road-cranky. To them, a road trip can feel like an endless voyage with bathroom breaks, and planning shorter days will help eliminate the risk of them getting too restless. Packing plenty of distractions will give you some bonus time, so make sure that you throw plenty of activity/coloring books, magazines, and road friendly games for your voyage. Every kid’s tolerance is different, and you know your child’s limits better than anyone, so plan accordingly, keep the travel days reasonable, and the kiddies excited about the trip!
Choose the Right Campground
Are you planning on going campground-to-campground on your trip? This country is packed with family friendly parks that are vacation destinations in themselves. With amenities such as pools, mini-golf, ice cream socials, bike trails, basketball courts, and arcades, there’s plenty for the kiddos to do aside from taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Do your research ahead of time and check the parks activity schedule if available, then surprise them when you touch down for the day. Travel Pulse has a useful list of the top family friendly campgrounds in the US, so read, plan your stay, and get ready for some family fun!
Don’t Over-do it
You’ve set aside a two-week vacation from work and have been looking forward to it all year. You’ve got a list a mile long of all of the sites you want to see, and all the activities you want to accomplish. This is going to be an epic trip…now consider the tiny travelers in the backseat. Setting reasonable expectations for your daily activities will not only keep the kids from getting exhausted, it will also do something that we can forget to do while on vacation…slow down and enjoy the moment. We all try to accomplish so much each day, to maximize our output at work and at home, that it can be easy to default to that headspace while on your respite, but do your best to resist the urge to be over productive! When you’re not rushing from destination to destination, from activity to activity, in a manic dash to check all the items off of your vacation itinerary, you know what you’re going to be doing instead? Making memories with your loved ones. Slow down and enjoy!
Be Ready for Emergencies
It’s responsible to plan for the unexpected along your journey. Having a fully stocked first-aid kit onboard is a no-brainer, but also doing some prep work before pulling out of the driveway is paramount to dealing with catastrophe. Knowing your route and the hospitals and urgent care centers along the way will bring you piece of mind. UrgentCareCenters.com features a searchable directory for easily finding the nearest UC to you. It’s not inconceivable that you’ll hit that occasional cell service dead zone along the way, so make a list of the towns that you’ll be passing through on those long stretches between cities and print out those care centers to have on hand.
Also be sure to pack plenty of over-the-counter pain relivers, cold and flu medicine, and stuff to treat the upset bellies that may come along with motion sickness. Of course, be sure to double and triple check any daily meds, epi pens, etc. that will need to come along for the ride too.
Remember why you’re doing it and enjoy your time! In all of the preparation it can be easy to forget how fun your trip is going to be. You’ll be making memories that you kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives, and someday they’ll be planning an RV road trip for their little ones, so try not to stress in the prep and keep fun as your prime directive. The journey can be the destination if you let it.