A driving trip with the kids can be a great family experience. However, sometimes sitting in a car for the better part of a day can get to the kids. Planning in advance can help make the trip go quicker. Obviously the age of your children determines what to take, how to plan, etc. Here are some ideas to make that driving experience more enjoyable.
Cars, and driving trips are very different from when we were children: Most cars have air conditioning (remember the howling noise and wind from open windows). Good music on the radio, etc. We recommend that your kids bring some of the following electronics: radio, cassette, or CD with headphones, hand-held videogames (including Sega, Nintendo), flashlight (for reading at night).
If you have a van, you can purchase or rent a TV-VCR which can run off the car’s battery. It’s a great way for kids to pass the time watching videos. Just be sure that the TV-VCR is securely fastened so it will not move in the event of an accident. Cracker Barrel Restaurants, located throughout the U.S., have rental programs for cassettes and videos: Rent it at one location, drop it off at another. Blockbuster Videos also offer a long-term rental program.
Food for the Road
Besides talking and listening to the radio, eating and drinking seems to be favorite ways to help pass the time. Unfortunately, the food choices are often not healthy: They contain a lot of fat. And there’s nothing worse than a melted ice cream cone all over the car! Things such as carrots, celery, broccoli, apples, and other fruit are a healthy snack, and easy to eat while driving. Kids also like sunflower and pumpkin seeds (make sure the shells go into a cup or plastic bag). Water or juice are excellent alternatives to pop/soda.
We have found that if you purchase a gallon of water, and freeze it the day before traveling, it will slowly melt throughout the day, and always remain ice cold. Be sure to remove some water before freezing, however, so that the container doesn’t break: Water expands as it freezes. You can also freeze juice boxes.
Fast food restaurants are not great from a nutrition point of view, but they are quick! When we decide to stop for a meal, we often choose buffet places like Shoney’s, Ponderosa, etc. where you can get healthier food fairly quickly.
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