Ashley Fritz | Nov 3, 2021
Thanksgiving in Chicago, Christmas in St. Louis, and New Years in Iowa – that was my childhood. Sometimes, it was all three places just on Christmas Day! I was always on the go with my parents, my two older sisters, and our pet poodle to spend time with extended family throughout the holiday season.
While many would not be amused at the thought of spending every holiday in the backseat of a minivan, it became the norm for me and my sisters. It was so customary to us that as we got older and our parents considered just staying home for the holidays, we argued that a holiday season without road trips would not be a holiday season at all. Every family has their traditions. Drive-thru meals, Bug Juice pitstops at the gas station, and hauling a trunk full of presents to family parties are ours.
As you can imagine, we became expert road travelers. My parents learned a couple things along the way to keep us occupied as little kids to make the trip go by fast. Although, sometimes “go to sleep and we’ll be there by the time you wake up” was the only thing that really worked.
I will never forget the organizer my parents would strap to the back of their seat that was filled with coloring books, crayons, snacks, books to read, and more. Easily purchased on Amazon, these organizers are great if you have young kids who are prone to asking “are we there yet?”. You can even purchase organizers with special slots for an IPad or smartphone for an easy way to play episodes of favorite tv shows.
This will make your car a cozy place to be for hours on end. I can think of several occasions growing up in which my parents removed one of the middle two seats of our van, pulled down the car’s small tv screen, and even found a way to connect it to our PlayStation. We had a whole set up that allowed us to sit across the back, watch our favorite movies, play video games, and snuggle up with blankets and pillows. You can find many ways to make your car as cozy and fun as we did!
Did you know podcasts for kids are a thing? They are and there are a lot of them that will keep them engaged. A simple search on Spotify will show you just about a hundred, from storytimes, kid-friendly jokes, answers to kids’ questions, and lessons on any subject. I know a good podcast gets me through a long drive on my way to visit family. Before you know it, you’ve listened to 3 episodes and you’re only an hour from your destination!
Kids love getting surprised with gifts, especially when they are for special occasions. Creating a “road trip only” tradition will keep kids excited and anticipatory of what’s to come on the trip. Like I mentioned at the start of this blog, my sisters and I looked forward to our Bug Juice each trip. I can’t say I’ve seen it sold anywhere recently, but Bug Juice (glorified sugar water) was my and my sisters’ favorite drink that our Dad would never fail to pick up when we refilled on gas on our road trips. I remember exclusively drinking Bug Juice on our road trips as a kid and thinking you could only buy it at certain places. It made using up our gas worth it in my eyes!
The license plate game, I spy, and the alphabet game are all great contenders. If your family is creative you can always come up with your own. There’s no shortage of fun ways to get everyone in the family involved in an activity that costs nothing and will help time pass.
There’s no reason you can’t make the most of your trip before you even get to where you’re going. If you’re able to head out early, make the trip a little bit longer and stop at some attractions along the way. Whether you want to stop at museums, acclaimed restaurants, or the world’s largest rubber band ball, you will find plenty of must-dos. If you need help planning the perfect route full of fun stops, Roadtrippers Plus allows you to build your map, collaborate with other drivers, and check traffic in real time so you stay on track. Visit our Services and Discounts page to get a discounted trip planner membership so you can start planning your holiday road trips with Roadtrippers right now!
While this isn’t a fun tip, it is important to keep in mind anything that could go wrong when traveling with your family. Should your child or anyone else in the family experience a minor cut, bruise, or other injury along the way that can be treated with first-aid supplies, it will be comforting to have items easily accessible. Plus, keeping some supplies on hand will help minimize any extra time taken to stop along the road to purchase items.
Not everything is treatable with a store-bought first-aid kit, of course. If your family experiences a major medical emergency while out on the road and far from home, you will want the backup of experts who can get you safely to a medical provider and who can ensure you don’t lose out on money spent on your trip if the emergency impacts your ability to complete it. Purchasing travel insurance from Seven Corners ensures that you and your family are protected for any injury or illness contracted away from home. We also are committed to providing you 24/7 assistance form our in-house multilingual customer care team, Seven Corners Assist.
Feel ready to hit the road now or on your next big cross-country venture? Pack the car and plan for the best road trip yet that is safe, relaxing, and full of fun.