How to Tackle A Road Trip with A Full Family

Did your last road trip with the family feel like a sequel to a National Lampoon movie? Road trips are notorious for being a milestone, a time to bond with those in the car, and a way to create often hilarious memories. Americans are driving less, but those who don’t want to take on such a journey need to prepare more than ever. Many families want to avoid screen time since that negates the entire purpose of spending time on the road. That was a given just a few years ago, but now? Little ones are seemingly addicted to technology, and going cold turkey on a road trip might not be the best approach.

If you want to have the best road trip possible with the entire family, consider these preparations:

  1. Establish rules for technology and behavior beforehand. Do your kids already fight side by side even on short trips across town? It’s going to get ugly on a road trip. You may need to change around the usual seating arrangements or rent a vehicle that offers captain chairs or three roads to give everyone some peace. Many road trip gurus think you should have a crossover SUV for the best experience, but no matter what vehicle you choose think about how the passengers will interact.
  2. Let everyone have a fun responsibility. Make sure everyone has a say in the activities, from the roadside attractions to the type of food. Having a say lets kids feel more engaged in the process and will get them excited about “their stops.” It also gives you more time to spend together before the trip researching and planning.
  3. Expect shorter stretches and plan for plenty of breaks. Anyone cooped up in a car is going to get cranky. When you schedule stops, encourage some exercise. Running or playing around in a park can help relieve some pent-up energy. It can be challenging for adults who are used to blazing through the highway, but remember that a family road trip is about spending quality time together—not getting to destinations as quickly as you can.
  4. Get the vehicle checked before the trip. If you don’t rent a vehicle, make sure yours is in perfect working condition and that your roadside service is adequate. It’s frustrating enough having a car breakdown with all adults. Add in kids, and it can turn into a nightmare at best and dangerous at worst.
  5. Pick the right snacks. Choose snacks that are easy to transport and are full of protein and complex carbohydrates. Sugary treats promote fast changes in blood sugar levels, and that won’t end well in a small confined space with the family.
  6. Introduce your favorite road games from childhood. From the alphabet game to a gentler version of slug bug (depending on the kids), it’s time to re-visit what make road trips special for you as a child.

With a little planning and some pacts made beforehand, you can survive the season of road trips even with a full car. What are your best tips for making road trips a blast for the whole family?

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