When was the last time you took a road trip? We sometimes associate these informal vacations with spring break in college, but road trips can be great experiences for families as well. While there might be some hesitancy about packing your young kids in the car for a long drive (“mom, are we there yet?” can get old the 5th time in a hour), road trips don’t have to be something to dread! Here are some positive benefits of taking a family vacation on the road:
It seems almost cliché to say, but this is true! The hours you spend with your family in the car and at your destination is precious and something that your children will remember later in life. Even the mishaps that may occur (flat tires, bad weather) can make great memories in a few years. Though they can take some work and rarely go off without a hitch, they’re definitely worth it. Some of my most cherished childhood experiences happened on a road trip from playing “Pooh sticks” while stuck at a rest stop for several hours in the middle of nowhere to being the last kid up late a night, spending time getting to know my Dad- as a human being not just “Dad”. This was one of the few times I felt like I had my Dad all to myself and I love looking back on those drives, remembering him telling me stories of him growing up, the adventures he had as a kid, and just feeling loved and special to him.
Opportunities For Communication and Connection
There’s something about driving down a long stretch of road that can get teenagers to open up and actually talk. It can be intimidating for adolescents to have long periods of face-to-face interaction, so having a more relaxed environment can make for a more natural conversation. Give them room to listen to their music and help make some of the decisions, such as where to stop or letting them drive part of the way. Instead of dreading being confined in the car with your teenagers, give permission to yourself to connect.
A Chance To Unplug
In our technology-saturated world, it’s all too easy to turn on the DVD player to keep the little (and big) ones entertained. While audio books, and yes, even car movies have their place on a family trip, I encourage you to not hide behind your gadgets and instead unplug and really be together. We surf the internet all the time, so why do we feel the need to do it on vacation? Play the cheesy road trip games (“I Spy,” the license plate game, 20 questions, etc.), and you might be surprised at how much fun you can have! Remember, the chance to connect only happens if we can de-connect and unplug too.