For tens of millions of Americans, spending “quality time” with the family over Thanksgiving means hitting the road.
AAA is forecasting over 49 million people will travel by car over the extended holiday weekend – 10 times more than by air. Many of those vehicles will have kids in the backseat which, depending on their ages, can make the entire trip far more stressful for mom and dad.
Thankfully, unlike traffic jams, parents have some control over the situation.
Here are some tips on road-tripping with kids over Thanksgiving from experts across the internet.
- Have a good plan
Kids Are a Trip suggests plotting your course carefully, including places to stop and eat. Also, if you are planning to check out attractions along the way that might require different clothing, make sure that clothing is easily accessible. Driving non-stop in a hurry is never a good idea, says way.com. Even when taking turns behind the wheel, they recommend making sure everyone stretches their legs regularly.
- Pack plenty of snacks and water
This one seems obvious, and some parents even tend to go overboard. But the experts at Kids Are a Trip say it is always better to have too many snacks and beverages than too few, especially in the case of a meltdown. They recommend string cheese, pretzels, beef jerky, carrots and dried fruit, most of which are available at gas station convenience stores.
While those traveling on Thanksgiving Day might be tempted to hold off on meals or snacks given they are headed to a feast, that could be a bad idea, Dr. Mona Amin, a pediatrician and parenting coach, told the Associated Press.
“An empty stomach can make symptoms of nausea worse, so make sure anybody prone to carsickness has a satiated belly and is hydrated,” she said.
- Prepare for carsickness
Vomit happens. But there are ways to avoid it or, at a minimum, be prepared. The experts at Kids Are a Trip recommend loading up your child with ginger ale and having them wear motion sickness bands. Have a plastic bag, a roll of paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand wipes at the ready, just in case.
- Have plenty of activities
This might seem like ancient history today, but for decades children managed to survive long road trips without DVD players, smartphones, tablets or satellite radio. Thankfully for kids (and parents), there are plenty of modern luxuries to keep kids occupied. Let them enjoy a movie marathon, listen to audiobooks or play games, Kids Are a Trip says.
- Plan fun stops along the way
- Stow frequently used items within easy reach
- Carry small change and cash for toll roads
- Stay at a hotel with a swimming pool
- Find recommended restaurants along the way