A little planning will ensure your next road trip with one or more children will be happy and safe, no matter where you’re going. Enjoy your road trip with the family using these seven tips, and you will all be safer and happier - and you and your kids may even have fun along the way!
(BPT) - Whether the length of your drive is three hours or 30 minutes, it can seem an eternity with a bored child in the car. A little planning will ensure your next road trip with one or more children will be happy and safe, no matter where you’re going.
Here's how you and your kids can stay safe and enjoy the journey almost as much as the destination.
1. Factor in time for pit stops
Don’t try to crush a several-hour driving marathon to get there quickly. Children need frequent breaks to use the restroom, have a healthy meal — and release their pent-up energy. Look for signs of restlessness and stop before kids get too out of sorts.
When you stop, find a safe spot where your kids can stretch their legs and run around a little. If they’re sluggish, organize a quick game of tag or catch, or encourage them to do a jumping-jack competition.
If frequent stops are making you later than expected, call ahead to let people know you’re off schedule. Better to take your time and arrive safe and happy.
2. Make sure kids stay buckled up, the whole time
Help keep your kids safe by making sure your child is buckled up every time, for every ride. As older kids get restless, they may unbuckle themselves during a long drive. Make sure you’re checking periodically throughout the trip, not just when you first pull out of the driveway. After every rest stop or meal, ensure kids are buckled up before you head back on the road.
3. Bring games — and dust off your creativity
Age-appropriate hand-held games and books can be good diversions for your children on long trips. Find audiobooks the whole family can listen to during the trip.
Recall games you played during road trips with your parents. Did you spot license plates from different states? Say a certain word when you saw an animal or certain type of car? How about a game of I Spy? Start a guessing game like 20 Questions, or use yes-or-no questions to guess a famous person one of you thinks up. Stock up on knock-knock jokes or silly riddles to keep kids engaged with you and each other.
4. Keep kids under 13 in the back seat
No matter how long your trip is, children under 13 should never sit up front, for their own safety. Car safety standards and features, like air bags, are developed and tested with adult bodies in mind. Air bags can be inflated at speeds of up to 200 to 400 mph, and because kids’ bodies are still developing, they are safest in the back seat. Additionally, most crashes impact the front of the car, and the back seat is farthest from this impact.
5. Pack healthy snacks
Make sure each child has a refillable water bottle for the journey, plus healthy snacks they enjoy, like fruit, cheese sticks or yogurt. Choose age-appropriate snacks that won't be a choking hazard, so you can focus on the road.
6. Bundle up safely
For the best protection in a car seat, your child's harness should fit snugly. A bulky coat can create extra space between the child and their harness, increasing risk of injury in a crash. To keep your child safe and warm on the ride, dress your child in a lighter jacket and place a blanket over the harness if needed.
7. Before you go: Check that they’re in the right seat
A car crash can happen anywhere, anytime — so the right car seat for your children’s age and size is always important. Any upcoming road trip can be a good reminder to double-check that they’re in the right seat for their safety — and that it’s installed correctly.
Enter your child’s age, weight and height at NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat to check if they’re in the right seat. On the website you can also get installation tips and find a location near you where a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician can help you check the seat’s installation.
Enjoy your road trip with the family using these tips, and you’ll all be safer and happier. Trips like these can be memorable for all the right reasons, and you and your kids may even have fun along the way.
Whether you are a first-time or repeat international visitor to the United States, here are 3 tips and reminders that will help your American vacation go smoothly and be a memorable adventure.
Your trip to the United States for your holiday break will take a passport. You may also need to bring your driver's license. If you plan to stay for an extended period and a purpose, you will need a visa.
If you're just traveling to the United States for a vacation, your passport and driving ID will be enough to get you into the country and through customs. It's important to review the difference between a passport and visa. Passports verify who you are and whether or not you are allowed to travel internationally. Visas grant access for a specific purpose and a particular stretch of time. When traveling internationally, you always need a passport. You may not need a visa.
Your travel goals will help you determine whether or not you need to arrange a car rental. For example, if you're traveling to a major metropolitan area for your vacation and don't plan to leave the city, then setting up a ridesharing app on your phone and summoning a car when you need one may be a better choice. According to Budget, a car rental will likely require that you show your passport or other documentation as well as your license. You will also need to have a familiarity with driving rules and regulations in the United States. Be aware that these can change from state to state, so if you're crossing state lines you will need to review law changes and carefully monitor the speed limit.
Consider a Road Trip
A great way to see the United States is to drive historic Route 66. This route includes many roadside attractions and passes close-by natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon. You can also enjoy time in St. Louis and take the elevator arch so you can see the city from up high. This road trip takes you from Chicago through St. Louis and down to Tulsa, Oklahoma. You'll travel through Texas, New Mexico and into California, stopping in Santa Monica. In every city along the route, you'll find museums, dining, and attractions to suit any interest. This two-week trip will provide you with memories that will last a lifetime.
A visit to the United States can include natural wonders, thriving cities, and charming small towns. No matter your travel goals, you can find something wonderful to visit and enjoy in the states.
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A good vacation allows you to recharge your mental, physical and emotional batteries. It also gives you the opportunity to see places you’ve only dreamed of and to taste memorable local cuisines. The last thing you want to do is run into problems that threaten to ruin your good time. While there are plenty of issues that can turn even the best vacation into a nightmare, here are three of the most common ones.
Few things feel as exhilarating as traveling out on the open road with the wind blowing in your hair and miles of countryside in full view. That’s one of the reasons why people love road trips so much. There’s a unique freedom to them that doesn’t come with other kinds of travel.
However, there’s a drawback to taking a car on vacation when you run the risk of getting stranded due to mechanical problems. Common auto maintenance issues that could disrupt your vacation include: bald or blown-out tires, cracked windshields and brake problems. To eliminate these issues before they sideline your trip, bring your car in for a checkup with a reputable mechanic before you embark on your journey. Have the brakes, oil, tires and other systems checked. Make sure your car gets a clean bill of health before you head out on the open road.
Too Much Sun
If you haven’t seen the sun in months, it’s tempting to spend as much of your vacation time soaking up the rays as you possibly can. However, a bad sunburn can ruin a good vacation. Avoid overdoing sun exposure by staying out of the sun from about 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. That’s when the sunlight is the strongest and UV rays pose the most danger. Be sure to slather on plenty of sunscreen to protect yourself from the dangerous rays.
Going Over Budget
Even on budget vacations, your money habits can get the better of you, and nothing ruins a vacation quite like running out of money while you’re hundreds of miles from home. When you’re planning your trip, you need to create a realistic budget that you can stick to. That means you know how much you can spend on meals, campgrounds, transportation, etc. It’s better to be pleasantly surprised when you have money left over at the end than to run out before your trip is done. No one likes to think of all the things that can go wrong when they’re on vacation, but not planning for challenges can backfire. It's best to do what you can to avoid problems ahead of time. Taking steps to have your car serviced, packing extra sunscreen and creating a proper budget are just a few of the ways you can ensure you enjoy your trip.
Also, check out our fitness tips to help you get that body vacation ready!
Whether you are from the East Coast looking to escape to the West or you’re from the West and looking to explore something new, New Mexico is a great place to take a family vacation. There are so many beautiful things to see and do. Regardless of how old your children are, you can find things to do for just a couple of days or a full week. Let’s take a closer look.
Play in the Sand Dunes
At White Sands National Monument, you’ll find the world’s largest gypsum dune field, according to Just Go Travel Studios. Located on the northern portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, this is a beautiful place to play, take family photos and explore. You can grab some free maps at many locations in the area. The sand is pure white, the sky is blue, and you’ll feel like you’re inside the pages of a book. You’ll be dealing with a lot of sand, so bring some items along that will help you clean up rather than trek a bunch of sand into your vehicle when you’re done.
Go See the Fish
According to Budget, the ABQ Biopark Aquarium is a great place to visit with young children. This aquarium is located directly next to the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s easy to access, there is plenty of parking, and you can keep the kids busy for hours with all there is to see and learn. There is also a botanical garden attached to the facility. Plan to be at this location for at least a couple of hours, if not more. You can easily spend a good majority of the day at the ABQ Biopark Aquarium if you pack a lunch and take your time.
Check Out the Local Cuisine
This is a great area that is rich and diverse in culture. Head to Santa Fe if you want to try authentic sopapillas and chile rellenos. El Corral Café offers authentic Mexican cuisine at affordable prices that your whole family will enjoy. Even the pickiest kids will love trying things like churros, homemade enchiladas and Spanish rice. The great thing about New Mexico cuisine is that you can dine out incredibly affordably throughout your whole trip.
There is so much to see and do in New Mexico that will help you and your children learn about the culture and people. You should plan to spend at least a couple of days in each area so you can truly absorb all of the culture there is. This is a memorable trip that you and your family will enjoy looking back on for years to come.
The US boasts an abundance of places that allow you to experience the true beauty that is present in this world. From towering mountain ranges to lush forests, you can immerse yourself in a variety of landscapes that demonstrate the wonder of this nation and its natural scenic beauty. Here are three US travel destinations to visit if you want to feel the awe-inspiring wonder of nature.
The Hoh Rainforest
Located in Olympic National Park in Washington state, the Hoh Rainforest is an amazing example of a temperate rainforest. A variety of hiking trails make it easy to get up close and personal with the wonder of this unique destination. This rainforest boasts the highest annual precipitation in the country. In fact, according to Dew Drop Inn, the Hoh Rainforest gets a grand total of 140 to 170 inches (or 12 to 14 feet) of precipitation a year! The lush green growth of the forest is something to behold and unlike any other spot in the US. The Hoh Rain Forest is home to a “hall of mosses” where there are tons of beautiful, tall trees that have various mosses growing on them. It makes the rainforest look like a true otherworldly nature wonderland.
The Smoky Mountains
Spanning both North Carolina and Tennessee, the Smoky Mountains is an expansive demonstration of the beauty of nature. According to Smoky Mountains By Owners, the mountain ranges, some of the oldest in the world, boast the most biodiverse ecosystem in the whole National Park System. While visiting the Smoky Mountains, you will encounter a myriad of wildlife including black bears, coyotes, deer, bobcats, and elk. At over 6,500 feet, Clingman's Dome is the highest point in the park. Visitors can climb to the top of Clingman’s Dome's observation tower to be rewarded with views of this impressive mountain range and its biodiversity.
Rocky Mountain National Park
There is a variety of amazing National Parks throughout the US. According to Elevation Outdoors, one of the most stunning is certainly Rocky Mountain National Park. With mountain peaks towering over 12,000 feet and over 260,000 acres of wooded paradise to explore, there is always something new around every corner. Although it is opened only seasonally, Trails End Road is a must-see drive for anyone. The beautiful Sprague Lake area offers majestic views of the Continental Divide, helping you to feel connected to the power of Mother Nature. As a bonus, the nearby town of Estes Park is a charming place to call home base while exploring this gorgeous region of the country.
The United States is truly full of natural treasures. There are beautiful forests, mountains, and plains that are available for anyone to explore. Regardless of your travel destination, be sure to take the time and effort to disconnect from the real world so that you can truly appreciate them. Your oasis of beauty and tranquility is waiting for you!
(BPT) - Does wanderlust have you longing to get away? Consider the possibilities of the classic American road trip. With a tank of gas, the right attitude and some smart supplies, you can explore amazing locales on a budget.
"The great American road trip is still very much alive, and we’re not just talking long endurance cross-country trips. Places you can go from your own hometown and return on just one tank of gas," says Peter Greenberg, Emmy-award-winning producer, writer, radio broadcaster and TV correspondent. "If travel can be defined as an experience that is absolutely meant to be shared, then the road trip is still very high on my list. It offers shared adventure, shared experience and shared storytelling."
Start planning your next affordable road trip by following these smart tips and tricks:
Discover one-tank destinations
You only need one day to get away, so research destinations you can get to on one tank of gas. This keeps fuel costs down, and because you don't need to stay overnight, you won't have to budget for a hotel. What's more, people tend to forget the beautiful spots just a few hours away from home, so be sure to bring a map and see which direction catches your attention.
Fill up tires
Of course you'll want to check your fluid levels, wiper blades, and spare tire before you leave. One of the best ways to maximize your vehicle's fuel efficiency is to make sure tires are properly inflated.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can improve your gas mileage by 0.6 percent on average and up to 3 percent in some cases simply by keeping your tires inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure.
Strive for a high MPG
Some cars have better fuel economy than others. With a practical design and impressive fuel efficiency, the Toyota Corolla Hatchback is ideal for road trip adventures. Getting up to an EPA-estimated 42 miles per gallon on the highway, you won't have to limit your road trip due to fuel cost concerns. Plus the roomy design makes it easy to get comfortable and enjoy the ride. Learn more at www.toyota.com.
Remember the journey should be as much fun as the destination. Clean out your car, make sure windows are sparkling clean to take in the views, pack car-friendly snacks and drinks, and bring along cozy pillows or blankets. Technology can create comfort, so charge those digital devices and utilize your vehicle's features. For example, the Corolla Hatchback has Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa Connectivity, so podcasts, music and directions are always ready.
Whether you're on an impromptu or well-planned road trip, you can ease costs and streamline fun by packing wisely. Things like sunscreen, sunglasses and comfortable shoes are must-haves for any road trip. After all, you never know what adventures will come your way. Consider packing sandwiches — the ultimate road trip food — which are great for eating in the car or on a picnic so you don't have to buy full meals.
"Some of my most amazing travel memories are from one tank road trips," says Greenberg. "I think everyone should make these excursions part of their travel plans. They are fun, affordable and great for people of all ages."
Whether you’re planning a cross-country vacation or just a weekend getaway, packing for a road trip doesn’t have to be a daunting task. This handy packing guide can set you on the road to success and help you avoid buying a new set of sunglasses or portable charger en route to your destination.
Road Trip Ready
(Family Features) Whether you're planning a cross-country vacation or just a weekend getaway, packing for a road trip doesn't have to be a daunting task. Creating a packing list of essentials can be the first step toward avoiding unnecessary stress and making your trip one to remember.
Of course, that list should start with the items you should never leave home without like your driver's license and proof of insurance, but it should also include pertinent information about your destination, like the trip's itinerary and reservation confirmations. Don't forget a map or printed directions in case your GPS dies or your phone loses service.
While even the most experienced travelers have reached their destinations only to find they left a necessity or two behind, this handy packing guide can set you on the road to success and help you avoid buying a new set of sunglasses or portable charger en route to your destination.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (women with map)SOURCE:
(BPT) - U.S. residents logged 1.7 billion trips for leisure purposes in 2016, according to the U.S. Travel Association, and this number will likely grow in 2018. Whether you’re traveling for leisure or business, you shouldn’t lose sight of nutrition. It’s common to think, “Hey, I’m on vacation, so I can throw my healthy diet out the window.” Wrong. Traveling can throw the body for a loop with time zone changes, shifts in sleep schedules and the availability of fast, convenient and highly processed foods.
Use these five easy steps to make sure you stay healthy on the go this year.
1. Pack healthy snacks.
Dining while on the go usually translates to getting a quick hunger fix that involves processed, high-fat foods. Make a conscious effort to pack healthy snacks. Apples and nut butter, pretzels and hummus and dried, no-sugar-added fruit are a few healthy options.
2. Lighten your luggage.
It’s all too common for travelers to try to max out the weight of their checked luggage, which often weighs in at 50 pounds. Carting around heavy luggage and bags can take a toll on the body.
One easy way to lighten your load is to condense cumbersome toiletries. For instance, look at the prescription medications and dietary supplements you’re packing. A 2018 Wakefield Research study, conducted for Vitamin Packs, found that more than half — 51 percent — of respondents tote along five or more different types of pills when they’re traveling. And with age comes ailments. Baby boomers are the pill pack mules, with 64 percent taking five or more types of pills along for the ride when they travel, compared to only 35 percent of millennials who bring the same amount.
The good news — you can leave dietary supplement bottles and days-of-the-week pillboxes at home. Look for personalized vitamin subscription services, like Vitamin Packs (www.vitaminpacks.com), that combine customized dietary supplements into individual daily packs that can easily tuck into your carry-on luggage.
3. Don’t forget essential nutrients.
The introduction of personalized nutrition has made it much easier (and lighter) to bring your vitamins and supplements with you when you travel. It may not always be convenient to grab a bright orange pepper or a bowl of fresh spinach while on the go. Therefore, your body may be craving folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin A, lutein, and just about every other phytonutrient.
“We shouldn’t sacrifice our nutrition simply because we’re away from our kitchen,” commented Elizabeth Somer, registered dietitian, author of "Eat Your Way to Happiness" and Vitamin Packs medical advisory board member. “I always pack nutritionally rich go-to snacks when I’m away from home and pack a multivitamin that delivers the essential nutrients my body needs to perform at its best.”
4. Keep your blood flowing.
If you’re planning a U.S. cross-country flight this year, direct flights can leave you sitting for five hours or more. These long periods of sedentary travel can lead to blood clots. Before you go, check with your doctor about adding an omega-3 supplement to your diet to maintain healthy blood flow.
5. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Water should be your No. 1 travel companion. Pack a reusable water bottle, so you can quickly fill up at water fountains located in many airports, train stations and bus stops.
As you take to the air, road or track this year, make nutrition a top priority. Your body will thank you and it will give you the energy you need to enjoy your time wherever your travels take you.
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