Whitney Russell
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7 Tips to Have a Stress-Free Family Road Trip

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family road trip tips
Make family trips more fun and less stressful for everyone with these essential tips

Help everyone stay calm and have an enjoyable journey on your next family road trip with these seven suggestions.

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Mentally prepare yourself

meditating by water
Don’t let family road trips steal your joy…or sanity
Photo: Pixabay

Traveling with your family typically means a longer travel time with more frequent stops than if you were driving solo. Mentally prepare yourself before the trip for this slower pace. Plan on making a pit stop every 3 hours for bathroom breaks and so everyone can stretch their legs.

Pack safe and healthy snacks

Avoid giving babies and toddlers finger foods and bottles without supervising them, especially while they are in rear-facing car seats. And steer clear of sticky snacks for young children to minimize the mess. Instead, pack healthy foods like veggies and fruit to reduce the chance that young ones will exhibit sugar-induced hyperactivity and mood swings on the trip.

Hydrate sparingly

With a little forethought, you can make sure everyone stays hydrated on the trip while minimizing bathroom breaks. Smarter Travel’s Christa Terry suggests snacking on grapes and letting everyone drink as much as they want approximately 45 minutes before the next bathroom stop.

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Pack a variety of activities

coloring book
Coloring books are a travel-friendly low-tech activity that kids and adults can enjoy
Photo: pxhere

While tablets and built-in vehicle entertainment systems are a great way to keep children happily engaged in the backseat, make sure to pack non-electronic pastimes. Books, drawing pads, travel games, and other low-tech activities are great options.

Have exercise breaks

Pack balls, bubbles, and jump ropes to participate in some active playtime at rest stops. It’s a great way to release some energy while stretching your legs — and will help boost morale when the time comes to get back in the car.

Keep the cabin clean and secure

Pack baby wipes, basic cleaning supplies, and a few garbage bags to keep the cabin area tidy and help create a more zen environment for the journey. And make sure to secure your luggage and keep it separate from passengers to keep everyone safer in the likelihood of a collision.

Say “yes” sometimes

Take time for fun detours you might encounter on the way, whether that be a local fudge shop or pizza joint or a random roadside attraction. It can be as simple as stopping at a nearby park to let your kids play on the playground or wade in a stream.