You will be taking a road trip this summer. You know it, your spouse knows it, and your kids know it. You can tell by the glassy-eyed, faraway look they get when thoughts of Wally World, OceanLand, or the Wet n’ Wild Waterpark Adventure Palooza pop into their little heads.
You’ve got to think strategically. You have, on average, 250 miles to go each way. Making good time it’s going to take at least 4 hours. With 2.5 kids, potty-breaks, and snack time you’ll be lucky to do it in 5.5. And don’t think for a second that those little monsters won’t be doing anything and everything they can to make you crazy because they will! So listen up, and listen good. Here are my sure-fire tips to maintain that loose grip on what you refer to as reality.
Plan for contingencies. Problems will arise. Be prepared. Pack extra shoes, socks, and underwear. Have your sippy cups, diapers, extra wet wipes, napkins, straws, and snacks in their proper place the night before your trip. Make an extra set of directions. Confirm your reservations the week and night before. Check the hours of operation of your destination. Don’t be caught off guard.
Games, Games, and More Games:
This one I can’t stress enough. I was tempted to make all “5 ways” about games. There are thousands of games that will rescue you from fighting, crying, questions, bickering, slapping, spilling, and/or biting. If you find it important to include everyone in the games you can play family games like the license plate game. Free games abound including tic-tac-toe, connect the dots, simple word games, the animal game from A to Z (everyone names an animal taking turns A to Z), and the Rhyme game. I could go on, forever. For you techies, simply plug the children into your iPhone, iPad, laptop, Nintendo DS, or portable playstation.
This tip is one that’s overlooked. Being trapped in the car for hours is fun for no one and can lead to ill temperament. At a potty-break or snack stop, insist on some quick family stretching. Touch your toes, jump some jacks, hop on one foot, but do some light stretching and activity during every break you get. It will loosen sore muscles, improve blood flow and improve everyone’s mood.
Traveling early in the morning is always your best bet. You’ll beat rush hour traffic and be that much closer to your destination earlier in the day. This one is a no-brainer.
Have Fun, You Are on Vacation: Put your mindset in the fun zone. Stop taking yourself, your family and your life so seriously. Recognize, before your trip, that there will be snags and trouble spots. But also realize that you are going on vacation to celebrate togetherness and build intimacy amongst your tribe. Own that idea. Know that through every little adversity you face you’ll grow stronger as a unit. Having the right attitude going in will do wonders for your mental health and I guarantee make a huge difference to your mental well being.
Remember, have fun out there and buckle up!
Kara Fox is a style and travel blogger for MyBriefcases.com, the premier retailer of fine leather briefcases for men and women, messenger bags for women, and luggage of all kinds.