Dare we say it – spring has sprung! Well, at least that’s what the calendar tells us anyway. With warmer weather and longer days, we’re all ready to get out and about. For some of you, that might include a road trip for a weekend getaway or spring break travels.

There’s nothing quite like a road trip. I know many adults with fond memories of traveling (by car!) as a kid, laughing with siblings, listening to cassette tapes (remember those?) and breathing in the excitement and anticipation as the miles passed.

If airplane travel is more your mode, I get it. It’s often much easier and much faster. But if you’re driving to your destination this spring, we’ve got a few tips to help make the drive a bit more bearable.

  1. Pack plenty of snacks. I’m not sure why but everyone seems hungrier in the car and this certainly rings true when you’re traveling. Make sure you bring plenty of snacks to keep hunger at bay when you’re making good time on the road. Snacks also help keep everyone satisfied if you’re stuck in traffic. Your snack bag should include a good mix of items, from healthy grabs like grapes, cheese sticks and apples to the favorite family snacks like Goldfish crackers or Pringles potato chips. If you’re up for it, take your family shopping before the trip and allow everyone to pick out their favorite item to bring – whether that’s fruit snacks, jelly beans or Doritos. Perhaps you even swing by Ashley’s Pastries and pick up a dozen cookies or two of your favorite cookies. After all, it is vacation!
  2. Play games. Sure you can pack the tablets and iPads or play a favorite game on your phone, but I encourage you to bring back the old-school games that require no batteries, just brain power. Try the old license plate game where you keep track of the states and try to find all 50. Eye Spy is great for all ages – even little ones can describe the color of something. And there’s always the alphabet game, where each person has to say a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet. You begin with “a” and everyone must say a word that starts with that before moving on to the next letter. You can specify if each word relates to a certain category, like a food or animals, or you can make it a bit easier and just do any word.
  3. Take breaks. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes even a 15 minute pit-stop can do wonders for morale of passengers, even the adults. If you’ve run into traffic or everyone seems frustrated and bored, a quick pit stop can give new life to travelers. Get out and stretch your legs, take a bathroom break, have a snack. If you’re up for it, allow everyone a treat like an ice cream cone and eat it outside in the sunshine before loading back up. If you’ve got a really long drive, do research ahead of time and plan your breaks around fun sightseeing opportunities, pretty parks or cool playgrounds along your route. Pack a picnic and stretch out on a blanket in the grass while you enjoy lunch!
  4. Expect the unexpected. Something always comes up when you travel – it’s inevitable – so if you realize this ahead of time, you’ll be (hopefully) less flustered when something does happen. You may run into traffic, construction zones, rainy downpours. You can have a passenger that gets car sick, you realize you forgot your toothbrush or cell phone charger or you get (gasp!) a speeding ticket. Things happen so remember to take a deep breath…and do your best to roll with it.
  5. Enjoy the ride…really! Yes, something is likely to go against your well-laid plans, but that doesn’t mean a road trip is doomed. You’re on an adventure with people you love and care about, making memories that will last a lifetime. What a beautiful thing! So sit back, enjoy the feel of the sunshine on your skin and make the most of the passing miles. Take the time to engage in good conversation with your family, listen to your favorite music and have fun.