Hitting the Road with the Kids, with Dream Dinners in Tow

It’s that time of year when we begin thinking of trips over Spring Break, Memorial Day and throughout the summer. The calendar fills up quickly, and so do mom anxieties when trying to make sure every detail is in place and the trips ahead are memory-worthy, not in the Griswold family sort of way.

The Dream Dinners team is always looking for ways to simplify planning, and road tripping is no different. Most of us have raised our kids and some are still juggling high school and middle school schedules, while a few are still changing their kids’ diapers. We are always talking trip hacks to make everything so much easier on the entire family. Adventures should focus on the journeys and destinations, and that’s possible when a few tried-and-true planning steps are handled right from the get-go.

One way to get the kids psyched about the trip, not just the days out of school, is to bring them in on the planning right from the dream stage. When they are excited, the anticipation well outweighs a last-minute food stop.

There are ways to get the kids involved. Start with a list of destinations, break out the maps and research at the library, or online, all the details about where you hope to land. If you use a paper map, which is so much more fun to mark up Ken Jennings-style, take time to point out some fun spots along the way. Are there scenic vistas? Giant trees? Historic markers? Hikes? Places to play?

Get the kids thinking about what they need to pack (for sun, snow, temps) in order to be comfortable outside and while traveling. Have them pack their travel entertainment, favorite snuggly animals, and if older, journals, books and writing tools. Games are always fun for all ages. Blankets and pillows for the car are important if you have a few long hauls planned.

Using the map, mark where you may have a chance to get out of the car to stretch and relax. A little play time can shake off the car blues, and a well-packed lunch is always a must. Snacks, too!

With Spring Break travel in mind, our culinary team put together five pan meals for the March menu that can easily stack in your cooler and cook from frozen after a great day of exploring, adventuring, learning, playing and simply, vacationing.

We’re always thinking of ways to make family travel easier, and we’ve learned a few tricks along the way. Dinner planning doesn’t end when vacations begin, so hopefully pan meals or any Dream Dinners meals for that matter, will help make those road trips just a wee bit easier. There are many other Dream Dinners that can be eaten cold, cut for sandwiches or to top salads. Be creative.

Happy Spring!