Here is my list (in no particular order) on how to prepare for family road trips for mothers. Do it more often and you will learn how to make the journey better.
Before the Road Trip
- Have a good night sleep the night before. You need the energy for driving the next day.
- Prepare your smartphones and cameras.
Charge the batteries. It is frustrating to see a low battery notification.
Save all your videos/photos on your computer and backup drive so that you can delete them on your phone/camera and clear up space for more photos to come.
Photo by Kendra Kamp
- Prepare and pack up non-perishable food in advance. Don’t forget water. There is less stress when all you have to do the following morning is to put the bags in the vehicle. All the necessities are in.
- First aid kit is a must. You will feel helpless when there is no bandage around for your crying child who has a wound or a boo-boo.
- Tell at least one trustworthy person where you are going.
You don’t want to end up in front-page news: THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING FAMILY.
- Plan your itinerary if you don’t like spontaneity.
To maximize the travel, it is better to search it on Google Map the traveling time and how far from each other the destinations you want to go to. That way it prevents you from going back and forth, back and forth… No way the driver wants that.
Photo by rawpixel.com
- Remind your children that it is family bonding time – No playing of gadgets.
Smartphones are for taking photos and videos but that’s about it. The moment they will start playing app games, it’s over. They will not even look at the beautiful scenery.
- Give the children the idea of the journey and destination. You are preventing any anxiety of the unknown for children who are not used to going out of the routine.
Photo by Alexander Dummer
- Set rules.
Examples: Help with the packing and unpacking of the bags in the car.
Good behavior during the road trip = Reward when they go home
Let the children decide what the reward will be so that when they start to have tantrums, gently remind them of the reward waiting afterward.
If the idea of the reward comes from them, there is a huge possibility they will cooperate. Meet half-way. It is like collective bargaining agreement.
Rewards: Free time, no chores for a day
Ask them what they want: more video game time? (not too much)
Relax in bed with a book?
- Read reviews to have ideas about the place you are going to. The ones I usually read are the TripAdvisor website and the official website of the destination. It is important to read feedbacks because sometimes the place is not family friendly.
Photo by Green Chameleon
- When you have extra time, list the places you are interested to visit. It feels great when you FINALLY are going to a place you are curious about for so long. Did you enjoy the photos and videos posted by a friend on Facebook? Add it to your list especially if it is free and terrific for the family.
- If your children are a bit older, BRAINSTORM as a family the interesting places you prefer to explore. Focus on the free attractions first if the budget is tight.
- The couple must have open communication about the trip. Who will drive in this part of the journey? Who is the navigator especially when the GPS doesn’t get a signal anymore? What time do we wake up? Mum, you don’t want to argue with your partner during road trips so better discuss this beforehand.
- If you are new to road trips, start/plan with shorter ones first. Gradually introduce the idea of a road trip. Start it with 30 minutes or 1 hour. When the family got used to it, plan for longer trips.
- Check everything before you leave. It is definitely annoying that at the back of your mind, you are asking yourself if you left the stove on. Switch off the lights. Turn off appliances except for the fridge of course. Close the windows and lock the doors.
Photo by Matt Jones
16. If you decide to go on a longer road trip, let a mechanic check your vehicle.
You do not want to end up stuck somewhere wondering what happened to your vehicle and worse, it is getting dark.
The Day of the Road Trip
- Wake up early so that you can organize in the vehicle the already prepared food, first aid kit, clothes and other necessities. There is less stress and anxiety when you have enough time for preparation. The good news is if your children are older, there is more help aside from your husband.
- Pray for a safe journey.
A short prayer before leaving the house is a good start.
- Remind yourself to cherish the MOMENT. Enjoy the journey. We are so caught up with the issues of the past and the unknown future that we forget NOW.
When the mum is cheerful, the aura of the family follows. Every family member is light-hearted and more communicative.
Photo by rawpixel.com
Enjoy each other’s company.I have 1 teenager and 2 primary school children. They will not stay that way forever. They will grow up, my husband and I will grow old. AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, I am appreciating their presence.
- Take as many photos and videos as you can.
Don’t mind other people rolling their eyes when you take your selfies and family photos. These photos and videos are what you will treasure when the time comes you no longer are capable of having road trips.
- Don’t stress when you get lost along the way.
Sometimes, the place you discover is worth going back to again and again.
Photo by Leio McLaren
- Patience is a must whoever is driving the vehicle.
Getting lost, no entry, wrong way, GPS not working, the automobile in front of you is way too slow and other problems you need to put up with are all parts of the road trips.
Based on my experience, it is my husband who gets more stressed when I drive. *giggling* He doesn’t have a choice anyway.
- Don’t stress when the itinerary is not followed completely.
Whatever destination you have reached, it’s the family’s enjoyment and the company that matters. Mum, don’t start a negative vibe.
- Remember the lessons learned during the road trip.
One lesson I realized was this: It is better to bring swimwear even if it is not part of the plan. We had an unplanned stopover at Kingscliff Beach and sad to say we didn’t have the chance to swim.
- Charge the smartphone during the journey.
We used my smartphone for GPS and I was frustrated to see I only have 3% battery charge. I was not able to take photos of the beautiful scenery even if I had it in airplane mode. I really don’t like it when the phone goes off.
- It is essential that you play your favorite songs during the road trip.
Create a playlist that will make you feel alert and alive while driving.
Photo by Mohammad Metri
- Rest and have a break when tired.
Accidents happen when the driver is sleepy. A strong caffeine kick while resting is a good idea. Moreover, when your husband is exhausted, volunteer to drive.
After the Road trip
- Let your children relax after the road trip. Don’t forget the reward you agreed upon.
- If there are dirty clothes, wash them immediately.
Your washing machine will be your best friend.
- If you are busy, set a schedule within the week for saving your photos and videos on your computer, hard drive or online.
If you accidentally deleted your photos and videos on your phone, remembrance of your precious moment is gone.
Photo by rawpixel.com
- Make it a point there is food waiting at home to be reheated for dinner OR if you have extra money, buy food and have dinner elsewhere: park, beach or wherever you are comfortable.
Mum, the last thing you want to do after a road trip is cook dinner.
- Set your ME time after the road trip.
Take your well-being to the next level, What makes you relax?
- If couple time is your choice, have a mini-date with your partner.
Watch a movie, drink tea, coffee or wine or any other activities that will make you delight in each other’s company.
Photo by Joanna Kosinska
- Please do not discuss any issues that will make the family miserable.
End the day by focusing on good thoughts and funny events of the day. Discuss any concerns the following day when everyone had rest and sleep.
- If you still have the energy, plan the next road trip to ignite the traveler in you.
Plan more if road trips make you blissful.
- Don’t forget your THANK YOUS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.
Pray THANK YOU LORD for the safe travel and wonderful day.
Say THANK YOU, CHILDREN, for showing your best behavior throughout the day.
Express your gratitude and appreciation to your husband and loving partner especially if he drove most of the journey.
Acknowledge the good driving skills of your partner and your teenager. Boost the confidence of your teenager especially if he/she is a learner driver.
Photo by Pro Church Media
- Sleep early than usual.
You need energy for the following day’s tasks and responsibilities. You don’t want to remember the road trip as the cause of your muscle aches and pains.
- Ponder the good, the bad and the never again of that particular road trip.
Mistakes help improve the future family road trips.
- Congratulate yourself Mum for initiating an activity that will make the family closer than ever.
Mum, your children will tell stories to your grandchildren what they did when they were young. Isn’t it delightful to hear that YOU MADE TIME TO ENJOY LIFE WITH THEM?
In short, ROAD TRIPS ARE AWESOME.