Last year, an estimated 46 million Americans traveled for Thanksgiving, with most of them taking to the roads to drive to their destination. The average distance traveled was 214 miles, which can translate to just over 3 hours when traveling at 65 miles per hour. And if you’re traveling with kids, keeping them entertained for that long in a contained space can make you want to just stay at home! Luckily, we’ve got some road trip ideas and tips to make your holiday travel a breeze.
Pack an Activity Bag
Trust us, this is key to road trip success with kids. A well-packed activity bag can keep your pint-sized passengers happy, and happy passengers means a peaceful, stress-free ride. Let the length of your road trip and the age of your passengers dictate how much and what to include in your activity bag. You’ll also want to consider their attention spans. If you know you have a child with a short attention span, make sure to include a few extra games or activities.
You can pack the bag a few days in advance, adding to it as necessary. Make sure to include your child’s favorite toys, but keep in mind that you’ll be in a car, so you want to make sure they are safe and suitable for playing with in one place.
Toys or games with lots of little parts may not be the best idea for a car, because they can easily be dropped and lost under the seat. However, if all of your child’s favorite games have loose parts and you want to bring some along, you can try also bringing a tray like a cookie sheet or something else with raised sides. Your child can use it to play on and it may be able to contain all the parts! Other items you can bring in your activity bag:
- Sticker or activity books
- Coloring – plain paper or a coloring book with crayons or markers
- Portable electronic games
- iPad or tablet loaded up with games or videos
- Colored pipe cleaners – use them for a variety of crafts
- Road trip bingo – you can prepare this in advance and the whole family can play!
Be Prepared with Backup Games
No matter what, it’s always necessary to have a plan B, and that’s never truer than on a road trip. You should have a backup plan if there is traffic and you’re behind on schedule, but you should also have plenty of backup plans for keeping your kids entertained. There are plenty of games that you can play as a family that don’t involve any parts or just require a piece of paper. Try classics like the license plate game, where you try to find as many different states as possible, or the Alphabet game, where you find a word on a road sign for each letter of the alphabet, in order.
Consider your Road Trip Timing
Will your holiday road trip be a very long one, longer than eight hours? You may want to consider traveling during off hours, like through the night. This gives you a chance to hit the roads when there may be less traffic, and if you have little ones, they can sleep through most of the traveling.