According to the official Chase’s List of Annual Events, July is…..“Anti-boredom” month. So if you’re planning to fend off the dullness of July, you might plan a family car trip. Yes, gas prices are an issue, however you DO need to get away and spend time together as a family. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip. Day trips are fun and longer are also. Plan it out, check for deals online, coupons and AAA, and you can save money on hotels, meals, etc. Planning can make a huge difference!
Here are some tips to help with an event that could be a delight or a disaster!
- Before you start packing the car, plan ahead for possible situations. A child’s lunch box is the perfect size for an emergency medical kit and will store neatly under the car seat. Bring along a couple zipper type plastic bags for motion sickness passengers or to hold ice for an injury. Keep family prescription medications where little ones cannot access. On a long trip, be sure to renew the prescriptions before leaving and/or bring along paper prescriptions should they be necessary. Also include other medical information and contact phone numbers, etc.
- Audio books, music or DVD equipment could save the day when youngsters get fussy or adults also become bored with the scenery or traveling at night. Earphones would be appreciated when tastes in entertainment are varying. Be sure to monitor the volume!
- Consider having the kids each keep a travel diary. The older ones can write and the younger ones can draw pictures of things they saw or experienced. They can document anything they like including, neat sites, funny things that happened on the trip, gas mileage, eateries, etc. We look back on the travel journals from our family trips and they are really funny and very special.
- Baby wipes or other wet cloths will be handy as an instant freshener after pumping gas, or enjoying a snack. Keep an empty tissue box filled with plastic grocery bags handy to collect trash including used wipes, to be emptied at the next rest stop. Assign this task to a family member at each rest stop as necessary.
- Bring along a favorite blanket or snugly toy to encourage naptime for tired or fussy passengers. These favorites also come in handy in hotel/motels room where nothing is familiar and the bed is not like theirs at home.
- Keep an information folder in the car for easy access of maps, etc. Have an older child be responsible for adding information as you travel including restaurant cards, menus, maps, etc. Phone ahead to confirm or hold a room or dinner reservation to avert disappointment when late arrival in inevitable.
- Charge cell phones and cameras before leaving home and remember to bring along the chargers. Ditto for the cameras.
- Leave an itinerary of your travels with a relative or neighbor in case of an emergency. Stop newspapers and mail delivery or have someone retrieve them for you.
- Rest stops are a great time for all to stretch, exercise and to burn off some energy before heading back to the car. Each time you re-enter the car to resume your travels, take a quick inventory: is everyone present, all equipment & toys on board, nothing left in the restaurant, roadside restrooms, on the car roof or trunk, all seat belts in place, doors locked?
So get on the road and have a great trip! July is only as boring as you make it.