Family Road Trip Article -
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Family Road Trip

Are we there yet? Get creative ideas for keeping everyone entertained and fed en route!

Whether you're tooling down Route 66 or just a few hours from home, the best family road trips make getting there part of the fun.

Rules of the Road

A few weeks ahead:

  • Decide length and style of trip. Do you want precise route plans and hotel reservations or are you going to wing it?
  • Search out information on your destination as well as sights along the way.
  • Buy or borrow car games or music CDs for kids; check audio books out of the library that the whole family can enjoy.
  • Decorate notebooks with pictures of the destination for each child as travel journals.
  • Give each kid a disposable camera and tell them to chronicle the high points of the trip.
  • Start thinking about meals and favorite snack items to bring along. Plan at least one picnic meal for that first day on the road.

    Two days to departure:

    • Shop for fruits that hold well at room temperature: apples, grapes, bananas. Buy family favorite vegetables that are good for snacking: cucumbers, baby carrots, celery.
    • Leave some fruit whole. Cut up raw vegetables and fruit to store in zip top plastic bags. Make a bag for each kid or just one big bag of fruit and one of veggies.
    • Bake sweet treats that sport some healthful additions to satisfy family munchies, or make up a tasty dip to go along with fruits and vegetables. (The Zucchini Brownies and Granola Bars can cook side by side in a 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes.)

    The night before:

    • Put plenty of blue ice packs in the freezer or freeze plastic bags with crushed ice.
    • Mix up a pasta salad for the main course to keep things simple.
    • Pack one cooler with everyone's favorite canned drinks and bottled water; store extras in the trunk. Add blue ice or crushed ice in the morning.
    • Ready a second cooler for food and pack it just before you leave.
    • Place eating supplies and nonperishables in a box in the trunk: napkins, utensils, plates, hand sanitizers or wipes, dish detergent, individual box cereals, nuts and mini snack mixes.
    • Pack a first aid kit: band aids, bug spray, aspirin, and sunscreen.

    Apr. 28, 2010 12:56 am
    Place eating supplies and nonperishables in a box in the trunk: napkins, utensils, plates, hand sanitizers or wipes, dish detergent, individual box cereals, nuts and mini snack mixes.pop top caravans
    Sep. 13, 2011 2:54 pm
    Flour tortillas keep well and can make anything fun to eat. Take some flavored cream cheese and/or peanut butter. Add chopped or sliced fruits or veggies for a cold quesadilla or wrap. A thin spread of PB sprinkled with some cereal makes quick, nutritious breakfast or snack. Packaged salad greens - the sturdier varieties such as romaine or iceberg blends, with a small bottle of ranch dressing with some cold cuts and sliced cheese made for quick lunch wraps. We love Chinese Pork Buns (recipe on AR, but bake instead of steam) I would make a batch before leaving for a long trip, wrap individually, package in ziplock bags and refrigerate. We'd save soy sauce packets from chinese take out to pour on them and would package those up in the ziplock for easy access.
    Jul. 17, 2014 7:09 pm
    Wonderful suggestions from AR, and Paperlady! Thank you!
    Jul. 17, 2014 9:14 pm
    IF you are allowing eating/snacking in the car, it doesn't make sense to put the eating supplies in the trunk. I'd want those napkins, wet wipes, etc. easily accessible. :) Best road trip food is the egg/bacon sammies wrapped hot and fresh, made just before leaving pre-dawn, and then eaten as the kids wake up in the car. Still remember these from childhood car trips.
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