Lead Photo: Gbarkz via Unsplash
Are you spending Christmas with relatives this year? Maybe you’re traveling to another province to attend a small reunion or stay with the in-laws. If so, you’re not the only one.
Even with provincial and territorial gathering limits and restrictions, many Canadians are still planning to travel. With the pandemic tying up flights, that means you and most everyone else will have little choice but to take the dreaded holiday road trip.
While the Christmas road trip may be non-negotiable, there are ways to make it fun. You know what they say: it’s about the journey, not the destination. Make plenty of great memories during your travels with these helpful tips.
1. Bring A Portable DVD Player
Sometimes, all you need to keep the kids entertained is a few good movies. While a smartphone might work in a pinch, it’s best to pack a portable DVD player with a larger screen.
That way everyone in the backseat can see and won’t be tempted to pick a fight over who’s holding a phone. Have everyone bring their favorite film, too, so that everyone can have a turn choosing what to watch next.
2. Pack Plenty Of Snacks
Anyone who’s been on a roadtrip knows the snacks are half the fun. While you’ll likely stop for lunch, keeping some food in the car can ward off the munchies — and temper tantrums. Pack finger-foods that you wouldn’t typically enjoy at home.
Think candy, donut holes and chips and dip. Make a few stops along the way so the kids can pick out their favorites and remember to pack lots of water. That way everyone can rehydrate after enjoying all the salty-sweet snacks.
3. Rent An RV
If you take the same road trip every year, up the ante by renting an RV. This is a fun way to stretch your travel days and enjoy the journey. Plus, you can live in it when you get to your in-laws’ so you still have privacy during your stay.
Remember to complete a pre-trip inspection and plan a route with realistic timing. You’ll likely have to hitch and unhitch, which can easily add another hour to your trip, so plan accordingly.
4. Play A Road Trip Game
Maybe your little ones get bored easily. In this case, an endless array of movies might not be enough to entertain them. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a few road trip games in your arsenal.
There’s bound to be lots of traffic on the road. How many license plates from other provinces can you find? Play the classic alphabet game, keeping an eye out for road signs that start with a, b, c and so on.
5. Take A Detour
Don’t be pressed for time. Leave a day early if you have to and make the trip more memorable by taking a detour or two. Whether it’s to see Niagara Falls or traipse around the Belfountain Conservation Area in Caledon, you’re sure to make lifelong memories wherever you stop.
Even strange roadside attractions can present opportunities for a bit of fun, so keep your eyes peeled. Make frequent stops for gas and restroom breaks, too. You never know what adventure lies right off the highway.
6. Celebrate Someplace New
Perhaps you don’t have anyone to visit this holiday season. Instead of staying home alone, why not celebrate Christmas someplace new? Travel to Almonte, Ontario and tour its impossibly charming streets and scenic waterfalls.
Head to Ottawa to see the parliament buildings in dramatic light or visit the many candy stores of Saskatoon. Whenever you go, remember to point out the lights, festivities and holiday cheer. Pick up a few souvenirs while you’re at it, too!
Making Good Memories on the Road
You can have all the snacks, pillows and games in the world but, if you don’t have the right mindset, you’ll make nothing but bad memories on the road. Therefore, if you’d rather look back on the trip fondly, it’s important that you stay positive.
Look at the long drive as a chance to reconnect with your kids and grow your family bond. As long as you see it as an opportunity — not a chore — you’re sure to make plenty of wonderful memories to last a lifetime.
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