Summertime means road trips with the family, friends or by yourself with one hand surfing on the airstream and the radio cranked all the way up. As fun and exciting as road trips are, though, the road map often directs adults toward weight-gain and children toward boredom. We know, because we – the two families behind this business – have six kids between us, and we’ve traveled a lot of miles, both together and apart. Like I discussed on Get Fit Now Radio, road trips are anything but healthy and fun if you don’t plan ahead.
Having a “fitter” and “funner” travel experience is more than just plotting bathroom breaks and putting some games in a satchel. We have some ideas that will minimize the moaning and groaning – both from the backseat – and from the scales when you get home. Here are four tips we think will inspire and energize you to make your next road trip healthy, fit and fun!
1. Check your map for active stops, not rest stops – Instead of basing your stops on when everyone’s bladder is full, do an internet search for playgrounds or walking trails near the cities and roads through which you’ll be traveling. You can search for short hiking trails, imagination stations, water parks, zoos, museums or anything you think your travel-mates would be interested in. Stopping to play for an hour might add extra time to your journey, but it will also add extra fun and movement! Plus, if you have two adults, one can go fill up the tank and purchase supplies while the other runs with the kids. Another plus is that parks usually have bathrooms that are cleaner than rest stops!
2. Cram your cooler with yummy, healthy treats – Do not, do not, do not plan to buy food at gas stations. Truck travel stops seldom have fresh foods, and you’ll be consuming more food coloring, preservatives and calories than any type of real nutrition. Ask your traveling companions what their favorite, healthy treats are and then fill a cooler with the organic versions of those treats! Things like grapes, bananas, string cheese, energy bars, pre-made smoothies, greek yogurt, 100% juices, and more might all seem expensive when you’re buying and packing them, but it’s more expensive (to your wallet and health) to buy junk food along the way!
3. Create small busy bags or baskets for everyone – Even adults need something to do with their minds and fingers while they travel, but it’s important not to distract the driver. Avoid games and puzzles with lots of little pieces, because as soon as you lose one part, the whole game becomes useless baggage, so don’t bring the whole box of crayons and markers either. Invest in some trivia cards, a magna doodle or etch-a-sketch, a notebook with a zip pouch, a couple of transformers, some yarn and a crochet hook, a few good novels, some new music, a couple of new movies, and read up on road games.
“I packed goody bags for our long trip to Las Vegas a few years ago. It was awesome. I packed the dvd players and they never touched them. This year, we are going to stop and run around the outside of the car, and I told the kids when we get to the LONG desert part of the drive, we are going to roll the windows down periodically and scream out the windows 🙂 LOL Just to get out the frustrations and be silly! We sing, listen to books on cd (this year will be my kindle), we play guess what I am, car bingo, and what ever else we can think of.” –Melinda Todd, Trailing After God
4. Crazy can be fun – Like Melinda said in our Facebook discussion about healthy traveling, getting a little crazy is a fun way to get out the frustrations of being cooped up in a car too long! Invent your own silly thing to do as a group whenever the car is forced to stop by red lights or construction. Have a human wheelbarrow race (one person holds someone else’s feet while they “walk” on their hands). Play clapping games to get your upper body going. Make the car “fly” by everybody flapping their arms out the windows…
What are your ideas? What works for you and/or your family to stay occupied and healthy while you travel? How do you pass the miles without going crazy? Listen to me talk about this with Eleni K. of Get Fit Now Radio!