Road Trip Survival Tips For Parents

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    Road Trip Survival Tips

    In the last couple of years, for multiple moves and vacations, my husband and I, along with two kids under the age of six, have logged more than 6,000 miles on the road. That's over the equivalent of driving from Los Angeles to New York City — twice. And while we've seen several of the beautiful sites this great country possesses, I've come to realize that most of the "traveling with kids" articles I've come across have left out some important details about driving long distances with young kids, such as …
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    1: Travel Time

    Road Trip Survival Tips Take whatever Google Maps estimates for the trip duration and add two hours for EACH child in the car — three hours if the child is under the age of one.

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    2: Proximity

    Back Seat Children in the back seat must be separated at all times, taking into account their varying wingspans. If they are in car seats, a suitcase will work. If they are older, another car might work.

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    3: Fear Factors

    Kids Scream The terrified scream young children make for “There is a poisonous snake in the back seat!” is remarkably similar to the scream of “There is a small fly in the back seat!”

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    4: Cultural Interests

    Kids Under Five Children under the age of five do not appreciate architectural beauty of any kind. This includes the kind you already paid an exorbitant entrance fee for.

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    5: Navigation

    Road Navigation If the road you’re on is about to diverge into three different directions, the names for those roads will be something like 9, 9a and 9n. Confused? Don’t worry, your navigation system will calmly encourage you to “stay on the road your on.”

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    6: Tolerance

    Play Outside Your children can play outside for eight hours in the bright sun and not find it the least bit disturbing, but if it shines through a car window, they will shriek like wilting vampires.

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    7: Nutritional Values

    Grocery Store No matter how much time you spend combing the aisle of your grocery store to find the perfect healthy snacks before you go, your children will only eat the ones for twice the price and no nutritional value found at the gas station store.

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    8: Hygiene

    Cup Holders Cup holders are not for holding drinks. Sippy cups and the like belong upside down on the floor. Partially sucked lollipops and gum belong in cup holders.

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    9: Asking the Right Questions

    Are we there yet Despite what movies suggest, “Are we there yet?” is actually not the most unpleasant question on a road trip. Try, “Daddy, where should I throw up?”

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    10: Eating "Out"

    Road Food Quaint little café that can’t fit your double jogger? There is always the alternative of ordering the food to go and eating in the back of your van with the trunk open. Just keep in mind, this (and possibly the fact that you didn’t have access to a hair dryer that morning), may give people the impression that you’re homeless.

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    11: Just Getting There

    Kids Asleep There is an unspoken, unbreakable rule between spouses that if all the children are asleep, you will stop the car for nothing. This includes hunger, full bladders, and police roadblocks.

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    12: What's Really Important

    Planning After careful planning, monetary sacrifice, tedious packing, and tirelessly driving, there’s a good chance you’re going to get yelled at by a four-year-old for packing the wrong color swimsuit.

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    13: Personal Space

    Parents Sleep There is nothing incongruous about loving your husband and jumping at the chance to sleep in a queen-sized bed alone.

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    14: What Money Buys You

    Hotel Bedding If your hotel has plush bedding, room service, and a hefty price tag, there is a high likelihood of being woken up by the neighbor’s kid at 5 am.

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    Road Trip Tips The good news is most travel magazines leave out other things as well. They neglect to mention the soft warmth of your daughter’s arms as they wrap around your legs and say “Mommy, this was the best day EVER.” They don’t have a leaflet that emphasizes how eight-hour conversations in the car with your husband remind you of exactly why he is still your best friend and the most interesting person you know. And they definitely don’t say anything about the memories. Some moments may certainly not be funny at the time, (like having people donate change on the bumper of your van while eating lunch), but in time, they become the particles that bind us together as families.

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