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10 From GEM: 10 Tips To Survive A Family Road Trip

Creative Commons/ResorTime.com

Creative Commons/ResorTime.com

10 From GEM:
10 Tips To Survive A Family Road Trip

 

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. Over 75% of Americans are taking a summer vacation this year. If you’re one of the millions that will be hitting the road with your family, you’ll definitely want to keep reading for 10 things you can do to survive the trip and make it fun and memorable for everyone.

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 1. MAKE A CONTRACT
BEFORE YOU GO

Creative Commons/wstrachan

Creative Commons/wstrachan

Before you go, it’s an excellent idea to have a family meeting where everybody discusses their expectations for the trip. Writing a contract can psychologically make it much easier not to engage in behaviors that disrupt unity. Discuss things you want to have happen or not to happen on your trip. You might want to limit or eliminate the use of gadgets so that the family actually talks to each other. Your son might request that the family spends a maximum of 30 minutes at a rest stop because he knows how you love to chat up strangers. Allow each family member a say in what goes in the contract.

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2. TRAVEL MULTI-GENERATIONALLY

Creative Commons/iNgage

Creative Commons/iNgage

Parents are getting smart and taking extended family members on trips. Grandparents have more patience with grandkids and are skilled at defusing sticky situations. Teenage nieces or nephews can be an extra pair of hands and eyes to watch over little ones. A sibling of yours can help out with driving, especially if you’ll be traveling long distances.

Read more: Ask Rene: How Do I Handle My Granddaughter’s Grabby Guy?

3. TAKE THE FAMILY PET

Creative Commons/Megan Finley

Creative Commons/Megan Finley

It can be fun to have your pet join you on a trip. After all, your pets are part of your family! You don’t need to worry about boarding your pet or asking someone to check on him if he’s with you. Many hotels and restaurants are pet-friendly, particularly in areas that cater to vacationers.

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4. SLOW DOWN

Creative Commons/fatboyke

Creative Commons/fatboyke

Taking a vacation where every moment is planned is so last year. The new vacation is called a slowcation. Schedule less and go off the beaten path more. If something interesting catches your eye, investigate it—even if it’s a few miles out of the way or you lose a little bit of time. With your family’s tightly-packed schedule during the rest of the year, it will be refreshing to just see what happens.

Read more: Ask Rene: My Mom, My Kids, My Vacation NIGHTMARE!

5. PLAY OLD SCHOOL GAMES

Creative Commons/photo.lady2000

Creative Commons/photo.lady2000

You lived through it, so you know there was a time when there were no DVD players, game consoles, laptops, and cell phones to while away the miles. You played games like I Spy, the Alphabet Game, the License Plate Game, and 20 Questions. And you had a good time. Yes, it is easy to quiet the kids down with a movie—and you should do that whenever necessary—but get enthusiastic about introducing car games from days of yore.

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6. EVERYONE GETS A CHOICE

Creative Commons/MyFWCmedia

Creative Commons/MyFWCmedia

Let everyone decide on something they want to do or see on the road trip. It’s so much easier if everybody feels like they have choices when it comes to the vacation. You can plan ahead on this one. If your kids enjoy fishing, but that’s not part of your plans at your ultimate destination, find a lake or river on the way where they can fish.

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7. EVERYONE GETS A JOB

Creative Commons/dichohecho

Creative Commons/dichohecho

When people don’t have anything to do, they get bored—and it doesn’t only happen to kids. Idle people can quickly get cranky and unpleasant. Head off trouble by giving everyone a job. You might need a navigator to keep track of where you are and where you’re going, a banker to be in charge of how petty cash is spent, and a scrapbooker to take pictures and write journal entries about the trip. Switch jobs halfway through the trip or on the return trip so everyone does each job at least once.

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8. BURN OFF EXCESS ENERGY

Creative Commons/lambertwm

Creative Commons/lambertwm

Every few hours, let everybody out of the car to stretch their legs. Take along a few items like a jump rope, a ball to kick around, and a Frisbee. They’re easy to pack and the kids will be happy to play. It’s amazing how just 15 or 20 minutes of play or light exercise resets everybody’s mood.

Read more: 10 From GEM: Fun And Easy Things To Do With Your Preteen

9. REMEMBER THE PAST

Creative Commons/topshoppingmall1

Creative Commons/topshoppingmall1

If you have a DVD player or laptop in your vehicle, take along some home videos. How often do you really get a chance to look at them at home? I’m guessing not much. What a great way to pass the time and catch up on memories. Your kids will love looking at your wedding video and video of themselves when they were babies.

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10. SHARE YOUR FAMILY HISTORY

Creative Commons/Juan,2,3,4

Creative Commons/Juan,2,3,4

In the same vein as number 9, how often do you talk about your family history? Every family has interesting stories and characters, and a road trip is a great time to share this information. Talk about little known facts or trivia. After all, you have a captive audience!

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What will you be doing to survive your summer road trip? What are your best ideas for a vacation everyone will enjoy? Share your tips below.

More From GEM:

10 From GEM: 10 Tips To Keep Your Kids Off The Summer Slide

10 From GEM: Spring Break Edition: 10 Ways To Save Money On A Road Trip

5 Ways to Save Now for Next Year’s Summer Vacation : Parentables

 

 

picmonkey alexis

Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is a stay at home mom and writer who loves all things chocolate. Read more about Alexis on her blog lilliebelle.org, email her at alexistrasswalker@gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5.

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