Are we there yet? A guide to the family road trip
Our colleague Janet Keeler has written a good guide here to getting through a family road trip with your sanity intact. In addition it was paired with this intriguing list of suggestions for a family friendly destination.
Most of us have only seen a small fraction of the United States, Janet writes, a treasure chest of vacation possibilities. According to a Hotwire/Harris Interactive survey, 72 percent of adults haven't visited the Alamo, the site of an important battle in the Texas revolution against Mexico. And another 65 percent or so haven't visited the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty or the Golden Gate Bridge. The White House? More than half haven't seen where the president lives.
So there are plenty of places to go. The real issue — besides discretionary funds — is what to do in the car. Or how to keep the peace. Some ideas:
Electronics: We can have a debate about whether it's good to let kids tune the world out with their many devices and don't interact with the rest of the family or notice what's going on outside. Check equipment and batteries before you leave home. Perhaps you can use the travel time to get the kids to teach you to use your smartphone or iPad.
Movies: Redbox movie rentals can be returned anywhere, including another state. We watched Avatar last summer from a rental we picked up in North Carolina and returned it to a storefront in St. Petersburg. You can even get an app for your phone that shows where the nearest Redbox kiosk is.
Snacks Bring them. Drinks, too. It's more economical to pack fruit and other goodies than to stop every time someone's stomach grumbles. Watch the salty snacks, which will make them thirsty and require more bathroom stops. And about those bathroom stops, don't make them feel guilty when they have to go. Take a deep breath and pull over . . . for the fifth time.
Comfort It's not just little guys who can use a blankie or favorite stuffed animal. Let everyone bring something to calm the savage breast. A favorite pillow or soft blanket doesn't take up too much room. Let them travel in their slippers or stocking feet (just make sure they can get to real shoes for stops). If your car is really too small for a long journey, consider renting one. That's still cheaper than flying. Bring a first-aid kit.
Read more of Janet's tips here.
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