4 Tips on How to Make That Long Road Trip More Pleasant

If you have ever taken the family in a long road trip you know that it doesn’t take long for every to get a little cranky. Of course these days with the electronic world of music, games and movies, kids (and adults) go all go into their own little worlds. But wouldn’t it be more fun to generate a little interaction, maybe have a little family time? I mean, even at home with older kids family can rarely be all together and have social interaction.

Here are some things inspired by USA Today you can do on that long road trip to help keeps the kids entertained and even the driver can get in on the action.

family road trip in car with luggage rack clipart

family road trip in car with luggage rack clipart

1) You Can Learn as You Go

One thing you can do which we couldn’t as kid is to use audiobooks. These could be a great way to pass the time. It dowsn’t matter whether you’re driving alone or if the whole family is packed into the car. Two highly recommended series are the Harry Potter series and the Paddington Bear collection. These can help keep kids quiet and interested for long periods. If you have teens in the car let them pick some of the audiobooks they like. You can check these out from your local library and play them on several different devices, so it woon’t cost you anything. The key is finding out what everyone likes so they will stay interested.

2) Come Up With Creative Games

There are lots of games we used to play when I was a kid on a road trip. Re-introduce them to your family. The license plate game is one we used to have fun with, just make sure you have pens and plenty of paper for scoring those states that you spot. Another game was travel bingo where you would look for certain objects to complete your ‘bingo’. The old ‘I Spy’ or the similar ’20 questions’ are always good as they make everyone think. Try to make up memory games so everyone has to remember what was said or seen. There are many possibilities and time will pass before you know it.

3) How About the Smaller Kids

Since younger children have shorter attention spans, you need to find different activities for them, like coloring; or playing the easier games (like travel bingo). The bingo cards can be done in advance so the little ones can have something to do with their hands while they look for items along the highway. If they are younger make sure you help them so there is no frustration. Another trick you could try would be to print basic highway maps from the Internet and mark certain spots along the way. If they get to a spot without acting up, you can let them have a goodie or surprise. Be creative.

4) Last But Not Least, Try Talking

Nowadays, with cell phones, tablets, and portable video game consoles, families hardly ever have time to talk to one another. Use this time to see what’s happening with everone. You don’t necessarily need to have deep discussions. Just talks about likes and dislikes, what’s going on with their friends, or whatever matters to them. You may find that your teens will love to tell you about these thing. Laughing and joking are always good, and I have found that once you get the humor rolling it is contagious. I remember those times as some of the best I have had with my family.

If you try theses methods you can find that all day trip can go by quickly and pleasantly. You still need to stop frequently, especially with younger children, but they will look forward to getting back on the road if you can keep it fun!

Original article appeared in USA Today and can be read here.