Summer is upon us and vacations are being planned as we speak! The meaning of a summer vacation is quite different now that I have kids. When I was younger, I would envision my summer vacations to look something like an MTV music video. Now the resemblance is more like a National Lampoon’s Vacation movie. Taking a family of 8 somewhere requires a lot of planning, time, and cash. But, even though it’s work, hard work, I refuse to use my family size as an excuse for not creating summer road trip memories. Over the past few years we have traveled as far as 1,500 miles with 2 adults, 6 kids, and a packed car full of fun! I have found tips and tricks to help us along the way – some worked and some were flops. I have compiled a list of tips to help you make your summer road trip a little more successful, relaxing and enjoyable…in the car that is!
- Plan your snacks carefully. Before you leave, spend some time in the kitchen preparing your road trip snacks. Stick to fruits and veggies, pretzels, peanuts (if no allergies), snack crackers and chips. One good option is Frito-Lay variety packs of snacks, which has pre-portioned servings of every family members’ favorite Frito-Lay brands all in one place. As for drinks, when it comes to the kids, we stick to water, water and more water. Not a lot at once either! Doing this will save you a lot in money, and bathroom stops.
- Charge up the electronics! Electronics only last so long on long road trips. Take chargers so that you can recharge them, but don’t let that be the only source of entertainment. Also make sure you have several movies that will hold the children’s interest. Movies are always good for when you need a little quiet time in the car.
- Trip binders are always a hit! A trip binder consists of different coloring sheets, blank pages (for drawing), mazes, word finds and crossword puzzles, and a pencil pouch full of crayons and/or colored pencils, pencils, and pens. I also like to include a map of the U.S. and a trail from our starting point to our ending point. This way, the children can follow along while we are on the road.
- Plan a couple ‘rest’ stops along the way. I know you just want to get where you’re going but, kids are kids and they get antsy sitting in one spot for too long. To avoid too much whining, that is ultimately inevitable at some point, it’s a good idea to get out and stretch your legs for a minute.I like to incorporate a couple classic games when we stop to stretch our legs. Playing games in the grassy area of the rest stop with your children is a great way to work out some of that energy they have stored up this far. Games like Simon Says and Red Light Green Light are my go tos. Your kids will enjoy acting silly with you and it’ll take you back to when you were a kid!
While you are at your stop, do something fun with your children to get their sillies out. For another easy rest stop activity, you can take pictures of your kids mimicking their favorite zoo animal. In fact Frito-Lay’s variety packs recently launched a new digital experience for families called “Wild Like Me”. Frito-Lay is inviting families and animal lovers everywhere to unleash their fun sides by uploading pictures of themselves imitating a wild animal’s facial expression, such as an elephant waving her trunk or a tiger yawning. Select pictures will be featured on www.FritoLayZooFun.com and one lucky entry will win a vacation full of marine-life discovery at Atlantis Paradise Island resort in The Bahamas. More details can be found on the site. For rules, visit http://fritolayzoofun.com/#rules.
- Less is more. I have found through the years that the less I pack the more easy-going the trip is. Kids get overwhelmed just as parents do. There can be too much ‘stuff’ in their way or too much ‘stuff’ for them to choose from for entertainment. Keep things simple and build up the anticipation of the destination. Don’t forget old school fun like singing songs and playing ‘I Spy’ along the way.
Before you head out on your road trip this summer, pick up one of Frito-Lay’s specially marked bags of variety packs to get a free kid’s pass to any participating AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium across the country! A stop at the zoo or aquarium is a must on a road trip vacation and before you know it you’ll be the one asking the question, “Are we there yet?” For more information and restrictions pertaining to the free kid’s pass offer visit www.FritoLayZooFun.com.
Thank you Frito-Lay for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are my own.