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How to Take a Family Road Trip Comfortably

Updated on March 18, 2013
The art of car travel can be acquired!
The art of car travel can be acquired! | Source

A Family Road Trip

The romantic idea of a road trip can become a nightmare away from home - while confined to a moving vehicle - or a joyous journey. But nothing good ever came without a little work, did it? Are you ready for the little bit of work beforehand to ensure a successful big road trip with the family? Yes! You are ready!

The last major road trip I took was with my three children. I, alone, drove 15,000 miles in four months, with a 7 year old, 12 year old and 14 year old to 40 states and another country - Canada. I can see your face already, as I've seen many times before on other faces. No, I'm not crazy. I'm just a travel writer. The recessive gene for a desire to travel non-stop is present in my DNA. The only thing that stops me is a sound holiday at home with the family and very cold weather, which I detest, but which shows up in most of my country (The United States) during the winter months. So, I've taken a brake for the winter and returned to my hometown. But like all migratory birds, I will be flying away when the snows melt away and the sun appears in the late spring.

While a challenging scenario to travel with two in diapers, it can be done!  These two are watching a video on the vehicle's DVD player. They are kept satisfied with drinks and toys (behind them).  Mom and Dad prepared correctly for this road trip!
While a challenging scenario to travel with two in diapers, it can be done! These two are watching a video on the vehicle's DVD player. They are kept satisfied with drinks and toys (behind them). Mom and Dad prepared correctly for this road trip! | Source

Things To Take On a Road Trip - Road Trip Necesities

For an actual list of exact items to bring and how to stow them, click on this link to see what to take on a road trip.

Babies, Kids, Elder Family Members... On Road Trips

Each of these unique kind of passenger requires a separate category for they have special considerations you may not, as yet, have considered.

Babies. Infants are those in diapers. We'll include toddlers for this category. This is a tough bunch. I've done it. While I don't recommend lengthy trips with children of this age, it can be done, with a little planning, a lot of patience, and the ability for the parents to be flexible. Can you be flexible? Again, that's required for travel with infants and toddlers. I have a special article just on this topic alone and you will want to be prepared for what this type of trip will include by reading Keep Your Sanity While Traveling By Car With Baby.

Kids. These are the young ones that are out of diapers but not old enough to help you drive! They bop each other on the head when you aren't looking, steal things from each other, have to go to the bathroom (a lot and when there isn't a bathroom in sight), and they have a lot of energy! They also sing at the top of their lungs, laugh at most of your jokes and are kind of funny themselves. So, it's a bit of a wash as far as the pros and cons go. Some great ways to entertain them: laptops, tablets, DVD players, MP3 players, or old-school tried and true toys such as coloring books, magnetic travel board games, card games, or reading books.

Elder Family Members. These are family members who forgot they already told you the story of when Uncle Henry fell in the pool about a hundred times. These are the family members that have to use the bathroom once an hour or WILL wet their pants (so much worse than just stopping for a bathroom break - even if it's just for them to use a bush!). These relatives might be able to help you drive but they might also forget where they're driving (as in they forgot they were supposed to take that exit you mentioned before you took a nap). They might not be able to drive anymore. They might be great at keeping you awake as you drive (a plus!) but they may be highly unskilled at keeping quiet when you want to sleep and someone else is taking the wheel. They may grill you on your lifestyle, your clothes, your choices and you may be trapped by a relative you suddenly don't want to spend the next ten hours with on the road. They may need you to remind them of what medication to take and when to take it. The last thing you want is for someone to miss their insulin shot or high blood pressure pills when you don't have a clue where the nearest hospital is! Just keep these things in mind when traveling with an elderly family member. But on a positive note, you can really learn about your family history this way, get the dirt on mom and dad, and find out that your old Pappaw served in the Great War and got a Purple Heart - family pride! The other good news is they don't have the same entertainment issues the young ones do!

Long road trips can be peaceful. Hey, sometimes siblings do get along!
Long road trips can be peaceful. Hey, sometimes siblings do get along! | Source

Planning For The Road Trip

"Failing To Plan is Planning To Fail!" I don't know who said this quote but if you do, let me know. Truer words were never spoken.

Plan ahead and you will enjoy the journey, as well as the destination. You may not have infants, kids or elderly companions in your car, but if your travel companions aren't on the same page as you, that could be a major problem. Set some travel rules with your buds and talk about what each of you expect to get from the trip and what places each of you wish to stop at along the way.

Now that we have covered some of the topics you may not have originally considered, check out How To Enjoy A Car Trip for the must-have lists to maintain your travel sanity! This link has the short list of what you just must have if you plan to travel by car - as in a specific supply list and necessities you may not have considered.

Remember to Pack Your Sense of Humor!

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