Does your family hit the road for Spring Break? We have. Vacations are important. It’s good for us to take a break from the grind, if for no other reason than to realize how much we like our daily routine.
It isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort. Our family can’t afford big vacations. We haven’t flown anywhere since our first child was 2, but we do take breaks. We just keep them close. We’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of 12 national parks…if you consider 8 hours on the road driving distance.
We like to break these trips into two segments.
We find a nice lodge, bed and breakfast, or hotel about half way between home and our destination so we only need to drive about 4 hours each day we travel. With young kids, it’s good to make frequent stops along the way so they don’t go crazy in the car. (Negative attitudes can be contagious.) Taking the back roads makes this easier. There’s sure to be something beautiful or unique to give you a reason to pull over and stretch your legs—maybe it’s a unique diner, an historical monument, or even an old building just begging you to pause and wonder.
Remember that your children don’t share your past experiences. A scenic drive is an adventure, a night in a hotel room is still really cool, and having mom and dad as a captive audience in the front seat is rare indeed.
Your children are also a captive audience. Use that time to your advantage by playing some road games. I’ve found that my young kids love to play ‘what if.’ Ask them some ‘what if’ questions—maybe, “What would you do if you could do anything you wanted?” Keep track of those answers. You might be able to accommodate a few of them. If trying to think of good conversation starters leaves you stumped, Road Trip Table Topics can help. It gets you and your kids talking and laughing until the miles just fly past.
It doesn’t take a lot to make a vacation just a little more fun for the kids. Pack the car or van so they have plenty of room to spread out. The Cargo Net helps with this—keeping things where you put them instead of rolling around on the floor. Grab some treats and pass them around in the car or on the plane. Get them a colorful passport cover to complement their style and make it easier to find their passport in their carry-on. Say yes to the souvenir that grabs their eye. And slow down enough to diverge from your planned itinerary once in a while. If you’re like me, it’ll be a long time before you brave the open road with kids in tow again. Make this trip special.