Families were not built to travel well. Parents around the world can attest to the strength and stress-resistance required to move children of any age from here to there and back again. Most trips, be they to Niagara Falls or your local grocery store, necessitate tools and tricks to keep away tears and boredom. Even then, your car must be able to withstand the tornado that is travel with toddlers, tweens, and teens.
Fortunately, car designers have noticed the need for formidable vehicles built expressly for families. Features like automatic door closing, seat arranging, and parking help preoccupied parents navigate the driveway (not to mention the road) without trouble, and additional safety and storage does much to ease the transition from place to place. However, there are some simple and special ways you can make your vehicle the ultimate in family friendly — and you can accomplish most of them for cheap in any car you own. If you are looking to make family travel even slightly more bearable, read on for some handy hacks for the family car.
Think About Mess
Even if some parents continue to wage war against a kid’s messy room, most long ago gave up on trying to keep their cars squeaky clean. Little hands aren’t known for possessing the fine motor skill required to keep drinks upright and crumbs over bags, and after even the short ride to and from daycare, a vehicle’s interior can become sticky and littered with toys and clothing. On your next road trip, you can try out some of the following hacks that cut down on mess.
- Place reusable silicone cupcake liners in your cup holders to make sticky, crumbly spills easy to clean.
- Purchase rubber floor mats to cover the carpeting to prevent stains.
- Wedge travel napkins or tissues in an easy-to-reach pocket to prevent grimy fingerprints on windows and seats.
- Spread a towel or sheet underneath car seats and in the trunk space to catch further spills.
Think About Organization
Cars rated highly for their family savvy and safety are usually adept at offering sensible storage solutions and organization options. However, if you can’t yet commit to driving a mini-van, there are some simple and cost-effective hacks to see you through to your destination and back.
- Find a pre-made trunk organizer with compartments for groceries, toys, and other necessities.
- Install a shelf or tension rod to properly utilize vertical storage space and prevent coats from piling on the floor.
- Take advantage of small and inexpensive home storage solutions, like magazine racks for towels and plastic bins for reusable tote bags.
Think About Entertainment
Finally, cars are starting to come with backseat infotainment as a standard feature, which means you can bring the digital babysitter with you wherever you go. Still, it might be distracting or grating to have children’s shows and movies blaring during long road trips, and sometimes kids get bored of television and need other activities to keep them happy and having fun. For these situations, you can hack your car into the most entertaining space your kids have ever seen.
- Use suction cups to attach shower caddies filled with colored pencils to back windows.
- Stash coloring and activity booklets in the back pockets of the front seats. You can even make your own DIY versions with free printables online.
- Make car-friendly toys and games, like Velcro building blocks or packaged I-spy.
Think About Snacks
Even adults get cranky when they miss regular meals, so it is crucial for parents to prepare the car with plenty of snacks and drinks to keep everyone full and to avoid freak-outs. Generally, food and beverage is the biggest offender when it comes to interior vehicular disasters, so you should be sure any snack hacks address any potential spillage problems.
- Use plastic Easter eggs to portion out non-perishable snacks like dehydrated fruit or trail mix, and stash a half-dozen eggs in the glove compartment for emergency snack times.
- Punch a hole into the top of a regular screw-top juice or water bottle, and insert a straw to make a disposable, spill-free sippy cup on-the-go.
- Freeze a sponge or hand cloth to keep drinks and fresh foods cold without dripping ice.
****This is a guest post featured on behalf of Michaela Kajiwara from Business Outreacher****