Thursday, January 15, 2015

How to survive a summer road trip with older kids

Is a summertime road trip in your vacation plans? This article gives you tips for how to survive a summer road trip with older kids, with your sanity intact.

Involve the kids
Let them give you their ideas on what they want to see. Feeling listened to is important to surviving a summer road trip with older kids. We tried to build a few activities of interest into the trip. It's never possible to do everything, but having input helped them relax and enjoy the ride.

Travel blog or Facebook page
Kids are more tech savvy than ever these days. Survive the trip by putting that knowledge to use. Set up a free family travel blog on Blogspot or Facebook page that the kids can update along the journey. They stay connected with the folks back home and helps them get more out of the vacation.

Play list
Older kids love music, so why not let them put a CD together for the trip. From Life is a Highway to Running on Empty, here are a few of our favorite travel playlist picks that we all liked.

Trade time
Trading time is a big tip on how to survive a summer road trip with older kids. If Dad wants to go to a train museum, and the kids don't, look for something nearby that peaks their interest. Everyone wins by getting to do something they enjoy.

Walt Disney World and some resorts sometimes offer group child care. Kids can play with others their own age and parents can get a short break. A summer road trip with kids is fun, but it's okay to have Mom and Dad time too. We made the mistake once of picking child care that was geared for children instead of older kids. Call ahead to see what is available for your age group and for references.

Bring a teen
Friends took a trusted teenager on the summer road trip to help with the kids. All parents and the teen had a written plan that defined responsibilities and expectations for everyone. My friends paid her way and gave the teen a fixed amount of spending money. 

Give the kids a map
Our kids got a kick out of leading the way to the Grand Canyon. Welcome centers give them away at each state. When the inevitable "Where are we?" came up, we had them look it up. They learned a life skill and collected some free souvenirs from the summer road trip.