Eight Tips For a Family Road Trip by Guest Blogger Carrie Steinweg

Carrie is a prolific writer, a foodie, travel writer and columnist who also is a mom blogger.  Carrie is the first in my series of upcoming guest blogs.  Here are her Eight Tips For a Family Road Trip!


carrie clark

Eight Tips For a Family Road Trip  Keep the car clear.

Years ago I interviewed an EMS director about safety on the road and the first thing he mentioned was not filling the car with toys, books and other large or hard objects. They can become projectiles in an accident and cause serious or fatal injuries. So, resist the urge to keep toys in the car and if you do, limit it to soft toys.

Go old school. Instead of popping in a video or spending the drive staring down at electronic devices, do what our generations did on road trips: Search for license plates from each state, play “I Spy,” Sing 99 Bottle of Beer on the Wall.

Be flexible. I’m a big planner and like to have the entire trip mapped out in advance, but don’t be so set in your ways that you miss out on great opportunities. If you see something that looks interesting, pull over. If you happen to learn about a great attraction that you didn’t know about when you made the itinerary, make time for a visit. Sometimes those spontaneous stops end up being the best ones.

Keep warm. Keep a small fleece throw under each seat so that when someone is opposed to the air conditioning or is ready for a nap, there’s a blanket within easy reach.

Divvy out the spending money in advance. On any trip, you know that the first place you stop that has any kind of souvenirs will be the start of your kids asking you to buy them t-shirts or tickets. Set an amount in advance and give each kid a ziplock bag with their spending cash. With a ziplock bag rather than an envelope, they can easily see what they have left. Also, include a couple dollars in coins for vending machines.

Plan to head out at nap time. Although it’s nice to get a fresh start in the morning, sticking to sleep schedules as much as possible can help prevent meltdowns from overstimulated kids. If you hit the road about a half-hour before regular nap time, you’ll be able to enjoy a quieter ride and will arrive at your destination with a hopefully refreshed and well-rested child.

Pack dry snacks. Plan out snacks ahead and put them in individuals containers for easy access and distribution. Stick to crackers, Cherrios, pretzels and other dry snacks that won’t spill between the nooks and crannies of your minivan.

Bring the map. We’re all so dependent on GPS these days, but it’s not unusual for even a GPS to get a little off-track or for service to go out if you’re traveling a little off the beaten path. Always have a paper map as a back-up.

Carrie Steinweg is a writer, blogger, author and photographer living in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and five sons. She specializes in food and travel writing and her work has appeared in dozens of print and online publications. She is also author of 6 books. She blogs at ChicagoFoodieSisters.com, MidwestFamilyTraveler.blogspot.com and CarrieMotherhood.blogspot.com. Find her on Facebook at Chicago Foodie Sisters, Midwest Family Traveler and Mom Moments. On Twitter at twitter.com/carrieste and on Instagram as Chicago Foodie Sister. You can also read more at carriesteinweg.com.