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Are you traveling this holiday season? Renting a car during the trip?
Traveling during any time of year can be difficult, but during the holidays it just gets magnified. As a mom to two young girls that travels home to NY from NC routinely, I have a little experience when it comes to the best travel tips for long trips with kids. See below for my top tips for a successful road trip – before and during. These travel tips for long trips are definitely ones that work and they are so simple to pull off.
Best Travel Tips for Long Car Trips with Kids
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Hertz. All opinions are those of The Melrose Family.
Secure a rental ahead of time.
Vacation planning often entails all the exciting things that you’ll see and do, but in order to do those fun things you need to have transportation to get from one place to the next. We’ve found that securing a rental car ahead of time can make a huge difference in us getting out of the airport and to those fun things on our itinerary.
Pick a car that suits your needs.
When we drive to NY we like to rent from Hertz because we don’t want to put the mileage on our cars. Plus, we love that Hertz has top of the line cars with the features that we prefer. And when it comes to cars, size does matter so we absolutely love the ability to choose a car that fits our needs. With Hertz Ultimate Choice, customers can customers to choose the car that’s right for them by selecting any make and model they want from the car class they reserved at no additional cost at top U.S. airports. For example, when my husband and I were on a beach vacation, we also rented from Hertz and nothing says the beach quite like a Jeep Wrangler with the top down. Hertz Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program members also have access to exclusive Ultimate Choice areas that feature a variety of premium vehicles when they make a reservation for a midsize car or above.
Once we select the ideal car, we’re well on our way to a successful trip! But it’s also important that we bring plenty of activities to keep the kids occupied along the way to make the trip as stress-free as possible. Here are some of those tips:
Keep everything in a basket between your kids in the rental.
The basket between them is there for two reasons. The first is that you want them to be able to reach whatever they need, whenever they need it. The basket provides that and it also acts like a barrier. Instead of needing an invisible line that they cannot cross, I have it with the basket. There’s no crossing to the opposite side of the basket, which means that I should never hear, “Riley’s touching me!” Now if you have more than one child, I would recommend packing a backpack for each of them and having it where they can reach it.
Have double of everything.
My girls are 4 and almost 8 and you would think with the four years between them that they would be interested in different things. Nope! The little one has to do everything the big one does, which includes reading and word searches. Plus, the older one loves the little gadgets and gizmos that the little one brings. In order to keep the peace, you absolutely need to have double of everything. This also includes snacks. I don’t care if my youngest doesn’t eat chocolate. If I bring a chocolate chip granola bar for my oldest, you better bet your butt I’m bringing one for her too. I call this the theory of “Don’t poke the beast”. Your child turns into a beast when they can’t have something that they “think” they want. In order to alleviate this, just bring double of everything.
Know that there will be melt downs.
It is highly likely that on a long car trip there will be melt downs. The best way to avoid them is to keep yourself calm and expect them. Traveling is a definite stressor for me. Between the packing and all the arrangements I’m usually a bundle of nerves and my kids sense this. Luckily, Hertz makes me less stressed with their ability to have a car that fits our need every time. It’s a win-win! Less stress always means that I’m more patient with my girls and less likely to snap at them, which in turn alleviates the chance of feelings getting hurt and frustration building up.
Keep a couple of surprise activities with you.
In the basket that I set between the girls, there are usually coloring books and games that they’ve seen before. I usually pick them up from the dollar section at Target. There are times when you can sense that they’re at the end of their rope and likely to lose it relatively soon. This is where I break out the hidden gems – games that I know they’ll love. This adorable one is from My Paper Printables. It is part of their amazing club that they offer. If you’re on the hunt for printables, you’ll definitely want to check them out. They are just so cute!
Share memories from your childhood.
My girls love hearing stories about my husband and I from when we were young. They find it so interesting to hear about their aunts and uncles as kids. Sometimes the best way to grab your child’s attention when stuck in the car is to start sharing stories. With the holidays right around the corner, it is the perfect time to talk about your childhood traditions. You might even create a new tradition for your own family. Traveling on long car rides can be stressful for everyone, but if you come at it from the right angle it can create a lasting memory for your children and it won’t be that of dread.
Take advantage of the programs that the rental company offers.
Finally, as you make rental car arrangements for this holiday season, take a look at offers that may benefit you and your family for an added bonus. For example, right now Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members can participate in the Great Gold Giveaway for a chance to win 1 million Gold Plus Reward points, which can be redeemed for up to four years’ worth of free rental days. One million points can also be redeemed for 30+ free roundtrip flights in the U.S. or 200 hotel nights with participating Hertz travel partners. The sweepstakes also includes more than 1,000 runner-up prizes. For each qualifying rental completed from September 12 through December 31, 2017, Hertz Gold Plus Reward members who reside in the U.S. will receive automatic entry for the sweepstakes – no sign up required. If you aren’t already a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards member, you can sign up for free here.