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How to Survive a Family Road-Trip Vacation


Vacations are supposed to be fun, right?

You could debate against that quite convincingly…all you need is to select any random mother of young kids and ask for her opinion about 6 hours into a 12 hour road trip. Chances are you’ll be clobbered with a neck pillow or worse.

On the other hand, if you ask a mother of older kids or one whose taken many, many vacations with her family, she might just tell you that vacations actually ARE a lot of fun if you know how to pull if off. With little ones, it’s not a simple task but neither is it out of reach.

All you need are a few supplies.

The Just-in-Case Case:

Before you ever even begin to think about how to keep everyone happy and well-entertained, you have to think about keeping them safe, healthy, dressed, and clean. Here are the must-have supplies for the Just-in-Case Case:

  • Basic first-aid kit. Someone WILL scrape a knee, at a rest stop, miles from the nearest place that sells band-aids. It’s Murphy’s Law of Vacations.
  • The essentials from the medicine cabinet. Something for a headache, a tummy ache, and sunburn are non-negotiable. You might also want to include allergy medicine, cough syrup, and other medicines.
  • Plastic baggies…because they’re just so useful.
  • Trash bags. They can be used for sandy shoes, wet towels and bathing suits, and as a makeshift dirty laundry hamper.
  • Safety pins and a small sewing kit.
  • Small notebook and a pen.
  • A permanent marker to label everything from cups to souvenirs.
  • A pocketknife and some scissors.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Baby wipes and tissues.

Of course, you can add anything else you think you might need on the road.

People Fuel:

Buying a candy bar and soda at each pit stop along the way can get expensive and very not healthy. So stow a cooler or ice chest in the car and fill it up with sustenance. Fruit, trail mix, and beef jerky are all great for road trips and aren’t as fattening as candy. Juice and water are also good to have on hand.

There can be snack-splurges along the way, but you won’t have to worry about your kids surviving on sugar and caffeine alone for the entire trip.

Beating Boredom on the Road:

Car trips can be excruciating for someone with a 15 minute attention span. Lots of entertainment is key to taking road trip vacations with the munchkins. Pack a bag with books, travel games, Mad-Libs, audio books (either ones the whole family will like, or paired with headphones), coloring books, and drawing pads.

You could also allow your kids to take their school backpack or other small bag, and put together their own keep-busy-kit. Just make sure they run the bag by you for approval before you leave. It wouldn’t be fun to discover the family hamster as a stowaway halfway to your destination.

Another fun thing for kids is to invest in a bunch of those little disposable cameras. Each kid can carry one and take his or her own photos. It is interesting to see what they come up with (kids are quite creative), and you will add some flair and diversity to your vacation album.

The Tools in the Trunk:

There are some things that you won’t want to leave behind that really don’t have much to do with the road trip, but have everything to do with making the rest of the vacation livable.

A stroller is something that will save your back, your arms, and your sanity. Vacations usually mean walking to places or through places, and tired little ones can even nap in them.

Blankets and small pillows for the road might be useful for really far off destinations. You also might consider a cushion that allows you to lean against the side of a car seat if you are nursing…yep, it can be done in the car.

Water toys and beach towels are something you might want to take along if you expect to be near a pool, lake, or beach.

A Sense of Humor:

Don’t lose track of the reason you’re on vacation. The idea is to have fun…sometimes plans change, sometimes things take longer than you expected, and sometimes you have to roll with some punches.

Just take a picture, laugh, and remember that vacations, people, and families are not perfect…it would be really, really boring if they were!

Source by Laura Cecil

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