Road trips are a great way to explore different parts of the country (or world!) with your friends or family. If you’re a kid, teen or tween, however, the idea of being cooped up in a car for hours on end can seem pretty daunting. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead.
How to Plan a Road Trip with Teens and Tweens
Road trips are a great way to explore new places and bond with your family, but they can also be a source of stress. If you’re planning a trip with teenagers or tweens, it’s important to take their needs and interests into account. Here are a few tips to make the planning process smoother:
Choose a destination that everyone will enjoy
If your teens are into hiking, look for national parks or other outdoor destinations. If they’re into history, consider touring some historic sites. And if they just want to relax, pick a beach town or other laid-back location.
Let everyone have a say in the itinerary
Planning is more fun when everyone has a chance to contribute ideas. And, when everyone feels invested in the trip, they’re more likely to follow through on the plan.
You may think it will be all smooth sailing, but there’s bound to be some bumps in the road. Try to manage expectations by talking about how long the road trip will be, where you will be stopping and the fun things you will see along the way.
Create a budget
Road trips can be expensive, so it’s important to create a budget and stick to it. Consider things like gas, lodging, food, activities, and souvenirs.
Plan for Motion Sickness
Even if your teens are seasoned road trippers, they may still experience motion sickness. You may be travelling along windy or bumpy roads which may not agree with their stomach. Be sure to pack some medication or other remedies just in case.
Build in some flexibility
Teens and tweens can be notoriously hard to please, so it’s important to have a few backup plans in case your first choice doesn’t work out. For example, if you’re visiting a city, research both kid-friendly attractions and activities that adults will enjoy in case the kids get bored.
Factor in Comfort
You do not want to be on a long road trip with a cranky teenager! Make sure to plan for plenty of breaks and pack some good food. Bring along pillows, soft blankets, and whatever else will help make the trip more comfortable. Make sure everyone is dressed in comfortable clothing and has a sweater or hoodie and slip on shoes.
No one wants to be bored on a road trip, so come prepared with games, books, and other activities to keep everyone occupied. Download some new shows or movies to watch on the drive, and bring along some travel-friendly games like cards or Mad Libs.
Don’t forget the snacks!
No road trip is complete without snacks. Pack a cooler with drinks and easy-to-eat food like fruit, granola bars, and sandwiches. And if you’re traveling with teens or tweens, make sure to bring along some of their favorite snacks to keep them happy.
Create a packing list
This will help ensure that everyone has what they need and that nothing gets left behind. Include items like clothes, toiletries, medications, electronic chargers, books, games, and snacks.
Make Regular Pit Stops
There is nothing worse than being cramped in a car for hours on end. Be sure to plan for regular stops, even if you don’t need gas. This will give everyone a chance to stretch their legs, use the restroom, and grab a snack.
Set Some Ground Rules
Before you hit the road, be sure to set some ground rules with your teens or tweens. Discuss things like seat belts, cell phone use, and music selection. This will help everyone stay safe and comfortable on the trip. And of course, you can always reward good behavior along the road with a stop for ice cream or giving your teen the chance to practice their driving.
Fun things to do on a Road Trip
Road trips are a great way to explore the country but sometimes the journey can be long. Plan some games and activities to keep everyone occupied in the car and remember your headphones! Everyone should have their own headphones so they can listen to music, audio book or movies without disturbing each other.
When making pit stops, teens can take the opportunity to explore new places, try local food, and take photos. And of course, any road trip wouldn’t be complete without a few scenic detours. By planning ahead and keeping an open mind, teenagers can make sure that their next road trip is one to remember. Here are some fun road trip activities.
- Have a conversation starter jar: Fill a jar with random topics, questions, or scenarios and take turns picking one out and discussing it as a group. Or lighten the mood with a funny joke or riddle.
- Bring along some good books or magazines: If you’re not into reading, try listening to an audiobook or podcast instead.
- Play I Spy: This classic game is perfect for younger kids but can be fun for teenagers too.
- Take turns behind the wheel: If you have a teen who is old enough to drive and has their licence, you could let them drive on a safe stretch of road.
- Games: Bring along some travel games like Uno, Bananagrams, a Rubix Cube or printable games such as Trivia Quiz or Would you Rather Questions. These are great for when you need a break from electronic devices.
- Take lots of photos! Document your trip with photos and create a photo album or scrapbook when you get home.
- Journal: Keep a journal throughout your trip document all the new things you see and places you go each day.
- Have fun! Road trips are all about making memories with your friends or family so make sure to enjoy every minute!
Road Trip Food Ideas
Whether you're cruising through picturesque countryside or exploring the great outdoors, one thing's for sure: you're going to get hungry along the way. But fear not, because we've got you covered with some fun road trip food ideas that will make your journey not just delicious but memorable too!
Classic PB&J Sandwiches
Let's start with a timeless favorite. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are simple to make and even easier to eat on the go. Customize them with different types of nut butter, jams, or even honey to keep things interesting.
Wrap It Up
Create your own wraps or burritos with tortillas, deli meats, cheese, and fresh veggies. Roll them up and secure them with toothpicks for a mess-free, portable meal.
Fruit and Veggie Cups
Chop up some fruits and veggies into bite-sized pieces and store them in easy-to-reach cups or containers. Healthy and refreshing, they're a great way to sneak in some nutrients.
Mini Quiches or Frittatas
Bake mini quiches or frittatas in advance and bring them along. They're filling and can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Mason Jar Salads
Layer your favorite salad ingredients in a mason jar, dressing on the bottom, greens on top. When you're ready to eat, just shake it up for a fresh and satisfying salad.
DIY Snack Packs
Create your snack packs with crackers, cheese, and sliced pepperoni or salami. It's like having your own little charcuterie board in the car!
Homemade Granola Bars
Make a batch of homemade granola bars for a sweet and satisfying treat. They're perfect for nibbling when hunger strikes.
Don't forget about hot food! Fill a thermos with hot soup, chili, or even mac 'n' cheese for a warm and comforting meal on the road.
Treat yourself to some sweet indulgences like cookies, brownies, or a slice of cake. It's a road trip, after all!
Remember to pack plenty of water or your favorite beverages to stay hydrated throughout your journey. It's easy to forget, but it's essential!
As you pass through different towns and regions, consider stopping at local diners, food trucks, or farmers' markets to taste the local specialties. Road trips are a fantastic opportunity to explore new flavors.
Food Fun for Kids
If you're traveling with little ones, involve them in making fun shapes and faces with their food. It's a great way to keep them entertained and engaged.
Food Safety First
Remember to keep perishable items in a cooler with ice packs to ensure food safety during your journey.
Road trips are a great way to see different parts of the country but they can also be pretty tedious if you’re not prepared. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and come up with a list of fun things to do to pass the time – like playing games, listening to audiobooks, or taking turns behind the wheel!