Are you planning to do your first road trip with kids? In this video, I share 3 ways to survive your first family road trip.
If your kids have never been on a road trip before, it can be a challenge to get through the experience. But if you keep these 3 tips in mind, your first family road trip can go smoothly.
1. Keep it short
Your first road trip with kids is not the time to drive cross-country from coast to coast. Pick a destination that you can easily drive to in the course of a single day.
For our first road trip with the kids, we decided to drive from New York City to Cape Cod. It’s about a 6-hour drive, which was very manageable for us.
2. Make frequent stops
Plan to stop about every 2 hours so that everyone can stretch their legs, use the bathroom, and get a bite to eat. Instead of just stopping at whatever gas station rest stops present themselves around that time frame, turn the stops into part of your adventure. Before you leave, find places that are worth visiting along the way and build those into your itinerary.
We love to eat, so we picked our stops based on food.
Our first stop was New Haven, Connecticut, where we ate at Louis’ Lunch. This establishment has been around since 1900 and claims to be the birthplace of the hamburger. Cheese, tomato, and onion are the only acceptable garnishes here. No ketchup allowed!
Our second stop was Blount Clam Shack in Warren, Rhode Island. One of the most popular clam shacks in New England, Blount has delicious lobster rolls, delicious fried fish, and of course, great clams.
Make sure the kids have a chance to run and jump around a bit before getting back in the car. Getting their energy out will help them chill out once you start driving again.
3. Create a reward system
Tell your kids that you’ve got a bunch of surprise gifts for them, but they’ll only get the prizes if they behave. I prepared 4 gift bags for each kid for each leg of the trip. There was nothing that spectacular inside: just little toys and activities I picked up at the dollar store, along with an occasional sweet treat.
But it was the anticipation of not knowing what would be in the bag that was most exciting for our girls. And it encouraged them to be on their best behavior: no whining, no fighting, and most importantly, no asking “are we there yet?” This worked so beautifully that I plan to use it on every future road trip we do.
Ready for your first road trip with kids?
Your first road trip with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With a little planning and advanced preparation, you can have a calm, stress-free, and enjoyable vacation!
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