Hitting the road for your next duty station? With some thought and planning, family trips can be an adventure. To begin you can involve the entire family in the trip planning process, deciding on places to see and daily travel times. These tips will make family travel a little easier:
- Plan frequent stops. If possible, travel when the children will be asleep.
- Stick to a routine. Try to provide for naps, physical activity and nutritious food.
- Give children critical information to have with them at all times. This can be in the form of a card they carry in their pocket or backpack. Include the child's name, parent's name, cell
phone number and emergency contact number.
- Have a backpack or container for each child filled with favorite toys, DVDs and activities. Be sure to include extra batteries.
- Pack pillows and blankets for each person.
- Pack plenty of nutritious snacks and drinks. Be sure to include paper towels, tissues and wipes.
- Pack your first aid kit, just in case.
- Give money to each child before the trip to use for souvenirs or snacks. Let them choose how to spend the money but be sure they understand that when it's gone, it's gone.
- Work out the rules of the car ahead of time. Decide who sits where and when and who gets to choose the DVDs.
- Never leave a child in the car without an adult. Accompany children to the restroom and vending machines.
- In hotels tell children not to open the door unless they recognize the person.
- Praise your children for good behavior.
Activities and games for car travel
- Pack an inflatable beach ball or Frisbee to help burn energy when you stop.
- Tell stories. Let each family member add to the story after a set time.
- Have children take turns reading the map, providing directions and planning stops.
- Make up stories about people you see along the way. Keep it friendly and positive.
- Search road signs for the letters of the alphabet in order.
- See how many different kinds of birds or animals you spot on your trip. Keep a list.
- Make a copy of the United States map for each child. When they spot a license from a state, they can color that state in.
- Play a memory game. Have one person start by naming something they have seen on the trip. The next person repeats and adds a memory. This continues as each player lists the items in order
and then adds another.
- Play the ‘padiddle' game at night. The first person to see a car with one headlight shouts ‘padiddle.'
- Play ‘20 Questions.' Have the leader think of a person and the players ask up to 20 yes or no questions and try to guess the correct person.