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MAKE IT A TRIP THEY WILL WANT TO REMEMBER

Road trips can be amazing experiences filled with fun and memorable moments that last a lifetime. They can also be anxious, irritable, boring and impatient. Now that school is out and families are packing up for trips to their favorite Michigan destinations, we have a few tip to help keep you rolling down the road with less tension - so everyone can enjoy the trip.

Explain The Trip
A lot of questions and anxiety comes from not knowing where your heading and what is happening. All of those questions can take a toll on everyone.  Give children an explanation before you leave.  Be specific.

  • Use Michigan Mitt Maps to show them where the trip begins and ends and points along the way.  In the car, let the kids follow along. They’ll learn a little geography and become more interactive with the journey, using pen, pencil, crayons or Sharpie (which we don’t suggest is used in the car) to draw the route you are on.  Encourage them to place decals along the way of what they see and experience.  Be sure to let them know you will be stopping a few times for gas, food or at a rest stop, so they won’t be disappointed by the delays.

  • Use the Road Trip Activity Book to explore fun facts about Michigan and the Great Lakes, history, early settlers, points of interest, and more.  Have them make entries in the Travel Journal.  This will be fun to look back at in the future.

  • Countdown To Destination(s) – Kids will love this part. Use a sticky note with no more than 3 or 4 points of interest or expectations of visuals along the way.  Encourage them to pay attention and look for these landmarks along the way.  Make it a game and reward them for finding each.

  • Be Honest – Don’t give answers like “we’re almost there” when asked, unless you are almost there.  Often, questions are simply an attempt to get your attention.  Be careful how you answer. 

  • Work It Out — Pull over in safe places like rest stops that allow everyone to stretch their legs and reduce agitation that could be building along the way.  Look for restaurants with play equipment for smaller children.  Be sure to tell them before getting out of the car, they are limited to ___ amount of time enabling you to get back on the road with less drama.  Pack a jump rope for the physical activity back up.

  • Expect Traffic, Construction and Detours —  Keep a positive attitude. Your vacation has already begun the moment you left home.  Stuck in traffic?  This is an excellent time to play “I Spy” and keep everyone engaged.

Planning And Preparation
Planning is one thing.  Sticking to a strict timetable may not always work.

  • Prepare to stop every few hours for bathroom breaks and to stretch your legs. 

  • Scope out parks or schools along the way to break up a trip with some jungle gym action. 

  • Expect the unexpected. Heavy traffic (especially near the holidays).  Make a few extra stops but try and take it in stride. Your attitude will often set the tone for everyone else on the trip. 

 

Comfort
Dress for comfort.  Plan for the expected. 

  • Snacks, drinks, water, paper towel, ziplock with wet paper towels, hand sanitizer, emergency kit and blanket.

  • Prepare for car sickness: plastic bag, paper bag, medication, wash cloth, hand wipes.

  • If you are driving at night, pajamas and favorite stuffed animal help to relax children and sooth their anxiousness.

  • Properly ventilate your vehicle with minimum noise.

 

Packing Your Vehicle
Whether you pack light or your pack the kitchen sink, HOW you pack your vehicle matters.

• Make sure certain items are easily accessible: flash light, water, snacks, diapers, emergency kit, etc.

Don't forget car maintenance!  Oil change, filter, belt check, tire check, radiator, brakes, scheduled maintenance and a full tank of gas.

Limit The Use Of Electronics

Right now you’re thinking, “Yeah right.  That isn’t happening.”  Electronics are the most popular “go-to's” passing time.  It's easier to download apps, than pack the entire toy box.  We don't disagree with that part, but it does not make it the best choice for a positive outcome on a road trip.  Here are a few facts about using electronics on a road trip.

EXCESSIVE USE OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES CAN CAUSE EYE FATIGUE AND IRRITABILITY.

TAKE A BREAK FROM DEVICES EVERY 45 MINUTES.

  • Audiobooks are the best long-term electronic option because they cause less fatigue.

  • Movies / Videos / YouTube should be played on screens that are at eye level.  Looking down a handheld devices, phones and tablets promotes nausea, headaches, sore muscles and neck pain — and over time, irritability.  If you have an in-car entertainment system, super!  If you don’t, find a way to mount the device(s) to the back of the seat or interior of the vehicle.  BRING HEADPHONES or comfortable ear buds.

  • Travel Games — choose games with no or few game pieces (magnetic preferred).

  • Apps — we suggest limited use of apps, unless they can be played at eye level.

  • Sing-Alongs — these make precious memories.  Adult passengers — recording these for future playback will bring back great memories to your family for years to come.

 

We hope these tips will help make it a road trip an experience your family will always want to remember!

TIPS & FACTS — MICHIGAN HAS 62,798 REASONS TO LEARN WATER SAFETY

Great Lakes Big Water

WATER / BOATING SAFETY TIPS —

 

Michigan's shorelines touch 4 out of 5 of The Great Lakes.  Each of them are connected waterways, but individually they are very large bodies of water.  These lakes have unique personalities.  For instance, Lake Erie is very temperamental and can kick up an epic storm by the end of what starts out as the most perfect summer day.

PRACTICE SAFETY OUT ON THE WATER.  There are 62,798 body's of water in Michigan.

We highly recommend contacting the U.S. Coast Guard and taking a 1 day or 3 day safety course before playing on the water.  Stay away from other boaters

and shorelines.

Did you know, The Great Lakes have strong currents like oceans do?  It's called "rip current" or "undertow". Sometimes you can see a rip current from the surface but an undertow is invisible.  Both of them prevents the swimmer from returning to shore.  The harder the swimmer attempts to swim towards shore, the further they are pulled into deeper waters.

 

If caught in a rip current or undertow, remember to swim parallel to the shoreline until the current releases you to swim to safety, or until you can be rescued.  Do not panic.  Avoid exertion.  Remain calm.  Swim slowly.

Always bring a companion.  Do not boat or beach alone.

SAFETY FIRST —

 

If you notice someone who is caught in a rip current,

DO NOT SWIM AFTER THEM.  Alert a life guard.

Call 9-1-1 or alert the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

Yell out to the swimmer (if possible) to give them verbal instructions and encouragement until help arrives.