The road trip is a classic warm-weather vacation. While they can be tons of fun, things can get bumpy if kids (or grown-ups, for that matter) start getting restless. Fortunately, some simple prep-work can keep tummies from rumbling, siblings from squabbling and boredom at bay. Here are five ideas for the road.
PACK INDIVIDUAL MUNCHIES
Make sure you’ve got everyone’s taste buds covered with healthy snack choices. Sweet treats like sliced cantaloupe and firm, whole berries like strawberries or blackberries travel well in a cooler stocked with ice packs, as do savory snacks like cubed cheese, carrot sticks and mini pickles. Nonperishables like trail mix, dry cereal, popcorn and crackers can be stowed in each child’s bag.
FILL ’ER UP
Water is the best on-the-go drink. Wash and reuse squirt-top refillable water bottles—many rest stops don’t have recycling bins, and disposable water bottles only add to the mess in the car.
KEEP THEM OCCUPIED
Stash puzzle books, card games, electronic handheld games and other activities in plastic shoe boxes. You’re more likely to hold a kid’s attention if the activities are brand new or haven’t been played with in a while.
MAKE ROOM FOR MEMENTOS
Give each child his or her own small plastic bin for stashing souvenirs such as rocks, fossils, seashells, postcards and other keepsakes. Decorating the boxes is a fun car activity. Blank packing labels are great for personalizing with markers, and the kids can continue sprucing up their boxes with souvenir stickers picked up along the trip.
Keep another plastic bin stocked with cutlery, napkins, hand sanitizer, wipes, single-serving condiments and a reusable plastic tablecloth so you’re ready to dine whenever the mood strikes. Throw in a bottle of sunblock and insect repellent, too—you can never have too many of those extras on hand.