A road trip is always fun for the family and your friends, especially on weekends! Now, often you might have your kids or your friends’ kids riding alongside you all. Should you stop more frequently and for longer when you have kids aboard?
You should make a 15-minute stop break every one to two hours on a road trip with kids. Frequent breaks ensure that the kids can access a restroom and stretch their legs. They also help cut down the boredom of a long ride and refresh energy.
Stopping your journey during a road trip depends on several factors, and planning can always help. So today, let us set up an itinerary to see how often you can stop during a road trip with kids, the best places to do so, and the risks if you do not. Let us begin!
Understanding Stop Frequencies During a Road Trip With Kids
While stopping the car somewhere safe every one or two hours is ideal, sometimes it’s easier said than done.
When traveling with children, planning out a few things beforehand can help your journey go smoothly—without making constant stops to solve kid-related issues. Below are some reasons you should make regular stops when traveling with children.
Kids Can Get Carsick Quickly
Long rides and persistent snacking can make a child feel queasy. If your kid plays on their devices for too long during the ride, they can start to feel a bit car sick. This is especially likely if they’re prone to motion sickness or digestive problems.
To help them tackle this queasy feeling, try to stop your car between short intervals to help them catch some fresh air. This can also keep you from worrying about them too much during the trip! I suggest you save some extra sets of clothes, napkins, and towels to help them get clean if they puke due to feeling too sick. Fresh clothes help to continue the journey without worrying about it.
Stop Frequently To Avoid Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving is a seriously prevalent concern in today’s world. Not only can driving for long periods or at night make you feel sleepy, but so can certain medications.
Medicines such as muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and narcotics can make you feel tired or weary, especially if you drive after sunset. Especially if a kid is in your car, make sure to stop at safe locations periodically to stabilize your concentration. A cup of coffee at a coffee stop can always help wake you up so you can drive safely!
Frequent Bathroom Breaks Are Essential for Kids
One way to keep your kids entertained and engaged is through small snacks and juice pouches in the backseat. However, this means they will need frequent bathroom breaks. You can create a mental schedule on when to stop depending on your kid’s drinking schedule.
Generally, kids need to visit the bathroom one hour after drinking something. So, you can time your car breaks accordingly. Checking your route for appropriate stops with washrooms helps in this situation. Make sure to plan your journey by checking for the best stop areas in-between destinations.
Breaks Allow Kids To Expend Excess Energy
Kids can easily get restless during a long car ride, even if you’re traveling to their favorite theme park. A hyper or restless kid might create the following distractions:
- Nag about almost anything.
- Become unpredictable and moody.
- Slowly become more challenging to handle.
- Throw tantrums, which will distract you from driving safely.
Instead of trying to ignore these distractions, make small stop gaps to let your kid get out of the car and run about. This can be at a candy shop, a small toy store on the way, a cafe, or even a playground. Doing so helps your kids utilize their pent-up energy to do something fun during the trip. Moreover, it will tire your kid and might help them doze off during the rest of the ride.
So, if you have an eight-hour trip for a short vacation or to visit your family in another state, four 15-minute breaks can ensure that your kid enjoys the ride and their needs are taken care of. Moreover, these breaks also ensure that you drive safely, take some much-needed breaks from the steering wheel, and enjoy some free time outdoors with your loved ones during the wonderful trip.
Best Places To Stop for Your Kids During a Road Trip
A long car trip with your family is always the most exciting experience, especially when everyone is prepared for the road! Stop spots can always help make sure everyone (especially the children) feels refreshed during the trip. So, when planning out your road trip with kids, ensure that these places fall on your route to help them feel comfortable and engaged.
Whether it’s a chain restaurant or any quaint cafe off the road, it’s a great idea to make occasional stops to get something to eat. These facilities come with washrooms, great food, and often, a kids’ play area where the kids can have fun. Many cafes also come with baby changing stations that come in handy if you are traveling with a newborn.
Museums are a guaranteed educational stop for little kids! If you come across a museum while planning your road trip route, add it to your stop list. It is a great place to allow your kids to run free, discover new things, learn about the world, and have an excellent time mid-trip.
Museums also have washrooms, food shops, and souvenir stores, which are helpful if you are on a trip with a kid. They can freshen up, grab a snack, and get themselves something to occupy their attention for the rest of the journey.
Highway Rest Areas
Rest areas on highways are perfect for short stops if you need a quick break. These areas are well-equipped and have spacious bathrooms, vending machines, and spots to rest if you feel tired from driving. So, if you’re feeling sore or your kid needs a quick bathroom break, highway rest areas are lifesavers.
Local fast-food joints are arguably the best stops for kids during a road trip! What kid shies away from some fries, cheesy pizzas, burgers, and fizzy drinks? Many fast-food places have kids’ play areas, free toys with meals, and washrooms that kids can use after sitting in the car for a long time. Sometimes, these small yet exciting stop spots etch a beautiful memory that kids can fondly look back on when they are older.
A long trip with family and the kids can be successful when you make some much-needed stops. These stop them from being bored in the car and create extra enjoyment in different places before you reach the final destination!
Moreover, making well-time stops is a great way to ensure that the kids are comfortable, safe, and well-rested during the trip. Enjoy your next road trip with the kids and make some much-needed stops at a few helpful places!
- LazyTrips: How often should you stop on a road trip?
- Quora: How often should you stop on a road trip to avoid health issues when you are traveling with children and seniors?
- Quora: How long can a family with young children comfortably drive per day on a road trip?
- Mom Van Up: Road Trip With Kids: How Many Hours Can You Drive In a Day?
- Verywell Family: How to Take a Road Trip With Toddlers
- Edmunds: How to Survive a Road Trip With Kids
- Travel Mamas: Best Tips for a Road Trip with a Baby or Toddler
- Mom Van Up: Can Babies Go On Road Trips? How To Travel With A Baby
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Toilet Training Your Child