By Stacey Maslow, MD
Department of Pediatrics
We all remember those summer road trips from our youth, where we no doubt fidgeted in the back seat and probably annoyed our parents by asking “Are we there yet?” Now that you are a parent of your own, here are some tips to help you and your family make a long drive fun and enjoyable.
Carefully mapping out your journey allows you to take the best route and plan some fun stops along the way. Whether a scenic overlook or an amusement park, chances are there’s something interesting for the whole family to do. A paper map can be a fun and nostalgic way for the family to track their path to the destination. Map out places to stop before you travel, allowing for a break every two hours so that everyone can stretch their legs and use the bathroom. These breaks can be interesting places to see new sites, a chance to try new cuisines, take some cool photographs, or even take a hike.
Bring some travel games
There’s more to travel games than spotting different license plates. Look for travel games designed for the age of your children. Having one parent join in the game can make it more fun. You can also take the games to your place of lodging to keep your kids active. And don’t forget playing cards to teach your children fun and interactive card games.
Don’t forget the snacks
Bring along some healthy protein-containing snacks to keep kids nourished between meals; this can help prevent unnecessary stops. Packing lunch in a cooler is also a good idea and will allow you to pull over and eat at the nearest rest stop or park instead of searching for a restaurant.
A road trip is a great time to revisit your favorite musical artists. Instead of everyone using iPods, try introducing your children to some of your favorite “road” songs on the car stereo and see if they want to sing along. Load up your phone with music your kids love before the trip and then surprise them by playing these tunes while you drive.
Audiobooks make for easy listening
As well as music, listening to a good audiobook can keep everyone involved and make a long, boring stretch of highway more interesting. You can even match an audiobook to the territory you are going through – such as listening to a Zane Grey or Louis L’Amour novel while driving through the West.
Remember, whether your trip is across the state or across the country, a little creativity and advanced planning can go a long way toward making the journey enjoyable for everyone involved. If you are traveling with children who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, you can learn more about how to travel safely at this CDC web page. More information on how to safely travel with children is also available here.
About Stacey Maslow, MD
Dr. Maslow has been practicing medicine for 17 years. When asked why she became a doctor, Dr. Maslow explains, “As a small child I frequented urban areas while accompanying my grandmother on various immigration and health projects that were her passion. These experiences sparked my fascination with how city life effects people and their physical and emotional health. I decided at the age of 11 that I wanted to be a doctor because I...View profile View posts by this doctor