From arguments between the kids to losing the map, family road trips can cause a lot of stress. Stay sane with these multigenerational road trip tips.
Everyone from the baby to the grandparents is excited about the upcoming family reunion. If you plan to drive, getting there can be half the fun or half the battle, depending on how you prepare. Get ready and stay sane with these multigenerational road trip tips.
Vehicle Safety Check
The last thing you want to have happen is a flat tire or a breakdown that delays your arrival. Before you pack, get your vehicle checked out. A reputable service can provide a multi-point safety inspection, which includes checking the battery, fluids, brakes, lights, belts, and especially tires. Now is also the time to consider the right kind of tires for your vehicle and your destination, and to replace worn or damaged tires and wheels. If your vehicle is newer, it may come as a surprise to learn that it doesn’t have a spare tire; you only have an emergency tire inflation kit. If you’ll travel over rural roads or rougher terrain, you may want to invest in a new spare and find room for it in the trunk or rear of the car.
You should also bring a basic emergency kit with a flashlight (and fresh batteries), jumper cables, some common tools like a screwdriver and wrench, and enough bottled water for the family. Have a first aid kit as well, and make sure it has a sufficient supply of any medication people need. If you’ll travel with an infant, make sure you have an approved infant car seat and you secure it in the car properly.
Lay out all the clothes you think you’ll need, and take half of them. Enforce this rule for everyone. Your vehicle only has so much room for suitcases, and piling them on top of the car like the Clampetts’ truck is a bad idea—it could unbalance your car. You also need to make sure everyone can fit what they need in the car, so encourage everyone to pack light.
Snacks, Toys, and Entertainment
Odds are you’ll find plenty of food along the road, so if you don’t want crumbs all over the car, you may want to just stop, pick up snacks at a mini-market, and take your snack breaks at a park or rest stop. If you have picky family members who absolutely must have that particular potato chip, bring a snack box, You can also make someone the snack captain who doles them out when requested. If you have an infant, you’ll definitely need a cooler to keep bottles and baby food fresh.
Toys and screens keep the kids distracted, but they might drive the grandparents nuts. If the kids must play games, watch videos, or listen to music, make sure you have over-ear or in-ear headphones of some kind.
You may also want to make rules about how much screen time is appropriate, and you can save time to stop at a few historical or educational attractions. This will give everyone a chance to get out of the car and stretch, and they might even learn something.
These are just a few multigenerational road trip tips to get you to minimize squabbling and keep the whole family comfortable.