How to Survive a Holiday Road Trip with Kids

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? As the holidays roll around and plans are being made for family gatherings, keep in mind that you’ll need to plan for more than  just the weather when it comes to your upcoming holiday road trip. Long drives in the car take a toll, especially when traveling with young children. Here are some tips to help you plan ahead and make this year’s road trip the easiest ever.

Find the Best Apps The most feared words heard out of the backseat during a road trip may very well be, “Are we there yet?” To help avoid this question, do yourself a favor and plan some sources of entertainment for your children in advance. If your kids are electronically savvy, this list of the best apps and games for kids from TravelingMom.com may be just what you need. The list ranges from an app for audiobooks to “Spot It Road Trip,” which shows kids an image on a card that they can then match by spotting the image on the road. There are also apps that can help you keep the cost of gas to a minimum. Apps like GasBuddy and Gas Guru help you find gas stations by price or location, allowing you to make sure you’re getting the best deals around every step of the way.

Pack a Bag of All Their Favorites Another option is to pack a bag full of your children’s favorite books and games, so that they have their own entertainment stash to keep themselves busy. Include items like coloring books and crayons, a journal so they can write down their own travel log and travel-size games they can play together or alone. If your children have a portable DVD player, be sure to bring along their favorite movies, or rent some new ones. You can also head to the discount store prior to the trip to pick up a few new toys that can serve as exciting little surprises to delight your kids (and grab their attention) along the way.

Play Observation Games If you want your ride to include more interaction between you and your children, think of some games that you can play together. There are a ton of things to notice along the way when you’re driving on a long road trip. Whether it’s keeping track of all the different state license plates they can find on the open road and awarding whoever finds the most with a prize, or creating a scavenger hunt where you make a list of things for them to cross off when they spot them, there are many ways you can create fun games for your kids that will also help them steer clear of boredom. Get creative!

Stock Up on Healthy Snacks Rather than buying your kids sugary snacks from a gas station that are likely to rile them up or bog them down, why not pack your own collection of snacks that are both healthy and tasty? Healthline.com offers these recipes for snacks that both you and your kids can agree upon. They recommend simple snacks like apples and peanut butter, yogurt and granola, hummus and vegetables, and popcorn. However, as USA Today points out, try to limit salty foods when traveling, as they can cause fluid retention that could make you feel bloated, and there’ll be fewer bathroom breaks. Do you have any tips on how to make your family road trip a joy this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.

“Are we there yet?!” Anyone who’s spent several hours in a packed car with family knows that patience is a must. What’s your favorite strategy for keeping kids entertained on the road to Grandma’s?

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