Labor Day Road Trip Must Haves for Parents Traveling with Kids

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With summer coming quickly to an end, Labor Day is likely your last chance to slip away for a quick getaway before winter starts to settle in.

As much as many parents hate to admit it, end of summer relaxation can pose a challenge if you have to bring the kids along for the ride. There are some great ways to keep your kids entertained on the road, which will not only improve everyone’s travel experience but can also minimize driver distraction, increasing vehicle safety all around – no matter how long the car ride may be.

A parent knows better than anyone how to keep their own child occupied, especially with many kids touting an iPad armed with an endless array of games and videos. However, don’t forget about the classics which can help engage the entire family and make the trip on the road go by a little quicker!

  • Mad Libs. For kids who can read and write, this is a great game for everyone in the car. As long as parents aren’t too distracted, they can offer fun words to complete hilarious stories. Look online for printable Mad Libs that can be tailored to everyone’s reading level. A collapsible, portable desk or hard surface is probably necessary for kids to write on, so make sure to pack accordingly.
  • Driving at night? Pack some glow sticks. Necklaces, bracelets, and more are great for night travel. Not only do they come alight in fun colors, but they can also act as personal nightlights for kids who get a little scared in the dark. Also, light sabers.
  • Play classic car games, like the license plate game. Add structure by printing out a fun license plate checklist so kids can cross off each plate they see. On that note, you can also print out other fun travel games, such as road trip bingo. Put all your printouts into a binder so kids can refer back to the road trip packet and choose games to play. You can also track animals you see with the Project Noah app.
  • Pack books on tape (or CD, iPod, or whatever other audio device you may have). Your local library will offer a number of different books on CD that you can pack for free, and you can also purchase audio files from Amazon or iTunes. Try choosing books the whole family can enjoy, such as Harry Potter, any books from the Roald Dahl collection, or for older kids, the Lord of the Rings.
  • Pack plenty of snacks. There are great ways to offer healthy and fun snacks to kids without being distracted. Try a compartmental jewelry box or tackle box, and fill each section with a different snack (think trail mix, pretzels, popcorn, granola, nuts – you name it).

Remember, even with all these options to keep kids occupied on the road, don’t forget to plan your “rest stops” accordingly. Allowing the kids to hit the bathroom, stretch their legs and run around to get some of the pent up energy out can really help on the long haul.

Where are you headed this Labor Day weekend?

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