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5 Short tips for long car trips

Whether you’re planning for spring break or summer vacation, these ideas will help you prepare to hit the road.

Weather:

If you’re driving in the spring, consider packing warm clothes and warm coats, because you never know when spring weather will take a turn for the worse.  If you’re traveling in the sunshine, prepare with summer clothes, hats, and sunscreen, but bring light jackets in case of rain or windy weather.

Snacks:

Pack snacks to keep your children happy and distracted.  You can branch out from traditional crackers by including a variety of foods such as nuts, sliced cheese, or fresh fruit.  Even if you plan to stop for fast food meals, it’s a good idea to supplement with healthier options like fruits and vegetables.  You’ll also want to have extra food in the car in case you’re slowed down, or you can’t find a place to stop and eat. Don’t serve too much salty food, because kids who drink extra water need extra rest stops!

Electronics:

If you allow your children to play with phones or tablets, load up your gadgets with kid-friendly games.  Kids enjoy creating colorful artwork on drawing programs, playing fun games like Angry Birds, or pairing up to play e-versions of traditional games like chess or checkers.  Car trips are also a good time for educational games if your child needs to practice a skill like math, spelling, or music note reading. Reward their accomplishments with treats or game time.

Audio Books:

Audio books are a great way to pass the time when your family drives.  Look for books the whole family can enjoy, like the Skulduggery Pleasant novels about a skeleton detective, Arabel’s Raven and other books by Joan Aiken, or Carl Hiassen’s books about children having environmental adventures.

Music:

Whether you bring lively music for your preschooler, popular music for your teenager, songs for the whole family to sing to, musicals like Les Miserables, or classical music for culture, music is a great way to fill up the car.  You can even match the music to the occasion with Easter music for a spring trip, patriotic songs over the Fourth of July, Beach Boys for a beach drive, or driving songs for the road.  
If you’ve prepared ahead of time with weather gear, snacks, and entertainment ideas, you’ll have a much easier trip.  Let the family drive begin!

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Loralee Leavitt destroys candy for the sake of science, drags her family on long car trips, and enjoys all sorts of other family adventures. She writes about family subjects such as science experiments, budgeting, finding inexpensive alternatives, tr… Read More

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