Summer Travel Series
With Memorial Day weekend in the rearview mirror and another school year winding down, the unofficial start of the summer travel season is upon us. As you map out this year’s travel plans, make sure to check out the GWEN Alert safety app recently released by the Global Women’s Empowerment Network. This free smart phone resource offers travelers – and others – safety, security and peace of mind with an instant connection to multi-level support in the palm of your hand.
Learn more about the GWEN Alert app here, and read this first installment of our three-part blog series about safe travel.
Traveling with Children
Reduce Trip-ups When Road Tripping with Kiddos
“Are we there yet?” Four innocent words that can turn even the most patient, loving parent into a crazed lunatic…especially when the question tally reaches double digits. While we cannot guarantee travel bliss, let us offer some simple yet proven tips to reduce stress in the car for you and the kids.
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
It never hurts to have a travel plan in place when you take to the highway. But pre-trip planning is even more critical when there will be kids in the car.
Research your route. Know how long each leg of your trip normally takes and identify any special considerations, such as major events that could produce heavier than usual traffic (google activity calendars for key route communities) or road construction that can slow traffic flow (often outlined on state DOT websites). Then create your travel itinerary, with some planned timing variances, that includes scheduled rest breaks and food stops. Mapping out a variety of acceptable restaurant options, at projected locations during meal times, enables you to offer the crew food choices without causing unnecessary travel delays.
2. INTEGRATE NORMAL ROUTINES
As you plan your trip, be sure to consider your families normal routines. Consider your child’s/children’s sleeping routines, temperaments, relationships, eating habits etc. Having knowledge of these personality traits will make it easier to plan out your trip.
3. PLAN PIT STOPS
Traveling with children undoubtedly will increase the number of required number of driving breaks. Yet, well-thought out “Pit Stop Plan” can help make your trip much more enjoyable. During your advance work, identify rest break facilities (state rest areas, truck stops, restaurants, etc.) and schedule planned stops every few hours. Bring some entertainment props, such as a Frisbee or ball, and when appropriate give everyone a change to stretch their legs during the break.
Also, remember, a few unscheduled stops may very well be needed too.
4. MAKE TRAVEL PART OF YOUR ADVENTURE
There is nothing that says travel time can’t also be quality family time. Make the hours you spend in the car part of your vacation adventure. Whenever possible, select routes that offer interesting scenery or significant historical relevance. As you drive down the road, share stories and educational anecdotes about your surroundings. Encourage conversation and seek everyone’s perspectives on the natural beauty and various landmarks that you pass while in the car.
5. INTRODUCE CLASSIC CAR GAMES
The ever-popular car games are a great way to engage passengers of all ages as you venture down the highway on your family get-away. Game options are limited only by the boundaries of your imagination. Yet, you really can’t go wrong with one of the many classic “traveltainment” options. From the Alphabet Game and I Spy to Spot the Car and 21 Questions, there are seemingly endless ways to engage in a bit of friendly competition while passing time on the road. If you want to dial down the competitiveness a bit, try the License Plate Game, where everyone works together to identify all the different state license plates you encounter while on your drive.
It’s also not a bad idea to have on hand some play items from home. Pack a few small toys, puzzles, arts and crafts, and favorite board games in the car to help keep your kiddos occupied.
6. FEATURE MOVIES ON THE MOVE
You definitely will want to incorporate some quiet time and individual activities into your travels as well. Movies can be a perfect way to engage the kids, as well as adult passengers, for a couple of hours – give or take. Even if your vehicle is not equipped with a built-in DVD system, no worries. Portable DVD players, smart phones or tablets can provide passengers cost effective access to a new or favorite movie. Plus, with multiple devises in tow you can satisfy the personal interests of individual passengers. Of course, be sure to include individual headphones.
Also, don’t be afraid to think outside the “Red Box.” The internet offers access to a whole slew of entertaining and educational content with downloadable audio books, podcasts, streaming music and more.
7. PACK SNACKS FOR HUNGER ATTACKS
Access to a few favorite munchie foods is another great way to take a bite out of travel boredom. Create a car care package for each child with an assortment of their favorite non-perishable snacks, along with some water and juice drinks. Packing these supplies can help keep your young passengers happier, and reduce calls for more costly and less healthy treats during fuel stops and bathroom breaks.
If you have time to plan ahead, involving the kids in the preparation process is a great way to accommodate individual preferences and secure buy in to the selected snacks. Provide each child with options and let them choose their own travel food and beverage inventory. You could even purchase plastic organizer containers let them pack their own trip treats.
8. MEDIATE MOTION SICKNESS
One in three individuals are considered highly susceptible to motion sickness, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Car sickness is among the most common forms of motion sickness and particularly prevalent among younger children ages two to 12.
Medications are available for severe cases and we highly recommend seeking guidance from your physician even if you choose an over-the counter remedy. You also may want to prepare with a few popular strategies for alleviating the symptoms: stick to bland pre-trip meals; pack ginger or peppermint candies and snacks to help fend off nausea; reduce sensory input, such as reading in the car; offer distractions; keep a window open; apply light but firm pressure inside the wrist; and make frequent stops on longer trips.
9. KEEP THE CAR ORGANIZED
An organized car helps minimize travel chaos. There are a variety of backseat organizers to help the kids keep track of their snacks, drinks, toys and handheld devises, and keeping your kids in control is key to keeping them under control.
Adults also need to build-in some trip organization. You will want instant access to safety and convenience supplies. Designate an easily accessible area for a complete first aid kit and medications for all travelers. Also, keep handy wipes, tissues and paper towels within arm’s reach at all times.
10.DOWNLOAD OUR GWEN ALERT SAFETY APP
The GWEN Alert app is a must for travelers. This award-winning safety tool provides access to immediate assistance should you find yourself in dangerous surroundings or a precarious situation. It’s free and can be downloaded at the Apple Store or Google Play.
Set up is super easy. Just enter contact information for your GWEN 5 – five trusted people from your personal network. Then, these individuals will be alerted when you’re in danger and trigger the safety app with a click of a button.
- A pre-set text message is sent instantly to your GWEN 5 stating, “I am in trouble – I need your help!”
- The app automatically provides your GPS coordinates and continually tracks your location, so your support team can come to your rescue, and if necessary provide the proper authorities with your specific location.
- You also have the ability to speed dial 911, in case you need to escalate a rescue response.
Be a smart traveler and download the GWEN Alert to your smart phone today.