(NC)—If you're like the 79 per cent of Canadians who plan to travel with their family this summer, according to the BMO 2012 Summer Travel Survey, you may be considering a road trip. Loyalty program Air Miles offers some dos and don'ts to ensure the road isn't too bumpy.
• Do take the high-traffic route: Stick to popular roadways, offering key amenities that kids need often – such as rest stops for snacks and bathroom breaks. Back roads are risky if your car breaks down, so it's best to avoid them. Ensure you have a functioning mode of communication, such as a cellphone, in case you run into car trouble.
• Do book your space at the inn: The laissez-faire approach to road tripping from your pre-kid days is over. Book hotels along your route before you hit the road to save time. Include kids in the decision making so they will feel part of the plans and can look forward to reaching the chosen destination every day. Consider taking advantage of a loyalty program like Air Miles and putting your purchases on the BMO Gold Air Miles MasterCard, to stretch your dollar further. In fact, 16 per cent of Canadians say they'll be using loyalty program miles to pay for a hotel this summer. But, for those of you who'd rather save miles for a rainy day, take advantage of the opportunity to earn more by booking rooms at participating partner hotels along the route.
• Do pack plenty of food and water: Hunger can strike anytime, and being stuck in a car with a ravenous child is no fun for anyone. Pack portable, healthy snacks to curb hunger between stops.
• Don't forget the importance of in-car activities: More is always better than less. Kids can tire of activities quickly, so don't assume that a single colouring book is going to cut it, or that kids of different age groups will be entertained in the same way.
• Don't forget to incorporate kid-friendly activities into your overall vacation plan. Whether you're planning to eat pancakes at the Calgary Stampede, ride rollercoasters at Canada's Wonderland or watch Canada Day fireworks on Parliament Hill, ensure that you're giving the kids something to look forward to. Riding in a car for a long period of time is bearable for little ones when they know the car is going somewhere fun.
Find out more about making your loyalty program work for family road trips at www.airmiles.ca.