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Family Vacation: The Art of the Road Trip

road tripIf I have learned anything from Clark Griswold, it is that this is crazy. Also, the family road trip is one of the most frustrating yet wonderful experiences that we as parents can share with our children. But mostly the crazy.

We just completed a holiday road trip from Los Angeles to Tucson, Arizona (and back again), and while there are far longer and more treacherous trips available, the eight hours spent on Interstate 10 are, in my opinion, enough.

As you know, there are a number of concerns one has when planning an extended car ride, namely safety, comfort, snacks, and the syncing of bladders (actual order may vary). Here’s how we do it:

  • Safety: I usually start with an oil change, checking tire pressure, wipers, fluids, and making sure that we have jumper cables, a few tools, and a current insurance policy. Also, plenty of rest prior to the drive.
  • Comfort: The first thing I do is clean the car inside and out. I know, it gets really messy in a hurry, but starting a road trip in a clean car just feels right. The next thing I do is make sure that there are plenty of tissues for noses and books for the kids. Depending on the weather and distance I also like to have a blanket, pillows, and perhaps a stuffed animal for each of the boys. Lastly, and a case can be made that this is also a safety issue, I make sure that there are working chargers for iPhones, iPods, or any other sort of entertainment you might let the kids enjoy on long trips.
  • Snacks: We generally take a bag of assorted goodies, ranging from sunflower seeds to pieces of fruit. Sometimes we will pack sandwiches, cookies, and various other items that will save time and money along the road. We always pack lots and lots of water.
  • Syncing bladders: Good luck on this one. While we have yet figured out how to sync our respective business to one another, we do try to time necessary stops with the needs of nature, which means everyone pees at every gas station, big ball of twine, and Starbucks.

All of the above are very important, obviously, but what really makes a road trip special is the time together. Whether playing highway games (license plate tag, billboard alphabet, etc.), singing songs, or just having a conversation, the road is long and winding, but it doesn’t have to be lonely. Memories and miles, people, memories and miles — nothing crazy about that.

How do you make the most of a family road trip?

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Whit HoneaRead more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble, Disney, or most rational people).

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