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Planning A Road Trip With Kids

family on a road tripWith the holidays fast approaching you might be making some road trip plans.

Is this the first time you and your family are attempting this feat? Have you made road trips before with the kids and vowed that you would never do that again?

As a seasoned road trip taker with four children under nine years old, it is fair to say it can be done without losing your hair (I have discovered how to tug gently instead of pulling) or your sanity!

First things first… have a pep talk with yourself full of encouragement. Take the I-can-do-this motto and own it!

Then, once you can tackle the idea, sit down and make a plan that you want to try to implement. Have a pow-wow with the other adults going and establish the rules. Know exactly how far you will be traveling and break the trip up. Leave room for the unexpected... because although the things that come up on each trip with kids are surprises, the fact that they will happen is not.

"Taking a fifteen minute break for the kids to run around and let some of the pent up energy out is well spent time. It is wise to utilize your fueling stops as fun stops..."

Trying to decide when to leave is difficult. This depends partly on how long the trip is. It also depends on traffic and rush hour in the different cities you will drive through, and when your driving skills are at their best.

If you know you are a morning person, start out in the morning... as early as possible. This will mean packing things to do and allowing time for meals for the children since they will be awake for most of the trip.

If you are a night person, leave in the evening and do most of your driving at night. This is the way my family travels. The children are asleep so there are less stops and we get to our destination faster.

Once you figure out what time to leave, think of things the children need to make the trip fun. So, you'll also want to pack their favorite "stuff" -- toys, stuffed animals, story books, games, puzzles, and anything else that will keep them happily occupied throughout the trip. If you also have a portable DVD player, don't forget their favorite movies or TV show episodes.

Of course, nothing evokes a smile in children faster than their favorite snacks. Also remember to carry along extra napkins or paper towels to clean up the inevitable spill...

Final tip: Everyone will be miserable if the car is full of grumpy, cramped people. It may seem faster to make fewer stops no matter what -- but it is actually the opposite. Taking a fifteen minute break now and again for the kids to run around and let some of the pent up energy out is well spent time. It is wise to utilize your fueling stops as fun stops.

Make the trip fun and next time you need to take a road trip with the kids you might actually look forward to it!

also see in Travel -> Family & Kid-Friendly Travel Tips

About the Author
Katrina Cramer-Diaz is a working mom with a background in education and plenty of experience in parenting. She lives in Virginia with her four children.

More about traveling with kids around the Web:

Road Trip Boredom Busters

How to Survive a Road Trip

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