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Surviving Family Trips

Contributor ,

ccording to the United States Department of Energy, travel continues to grow in popularity every year. The department predicts that even more people will be on the road this year.

And while traveling with your family can often be a super way to spend quality time together, let's face it: it can also be stressful. Increase your chances of a fun, stress-free and safe vacation on the road with kids by following these simple tips:

Beat Boredom with Child's Play

"Are we there yet?" Why is it that those words are always uttered exactly at the moment when mom and dad's own energy levels are at their worst, making it easy to lose patience? Prevent a tired response you'll have to apologize for later.

Make sure your children have something to play with. It will keep them entertained, alert, and, hopefully, behaving kindly towards one another. Magnetic board games, portable video games and classics such as the license plate game, "I Spy" and the alphabet game will keep your kids in good spirits and actively engaged no matter how long the highway is.

Stop Smart

When stopping at rest stops, make sure that the kids getting back in the car don't also bring the bacteria and germs they came into contact with in the bathroom. Bring products that keep your clan healthy, such as liquid sanitizer for the hands and Lysol Disinfectant Spray, to kill rest stop germs that can be transferred from the rest room to the surfaces in your car.

To prepare for those inevitable spills and "oops" moments, keep wet wipes and paper towels within arm's reach.

Savvy Eating

Smart families know that joining the thousands of other travelers re-fueling their bellies at the convenient but often-times unhealthy roadside restaurants isn't their only choice. Keeping a small cooler in the backseat filled with healthy snacks like string cheese, bottles of water, fresh fruit, and cut vegetables is an excellent way to avoid losing precious time in line during vacation.

If you opt to stop instead of keeping food in the car, consider the grocery store instead of the fast food restaurant. There's plenty of healthy fare at low prices, and you'll probably find that it's less crowded than the roadside restaurants catering to travelers. Just by going a few extra miles away from exits, you'll open up your gustatory possibilities without expanding your waistline.

Keep Everyone Happy

There are plenty of kid-oriented vacation destinations that are sure to please the young ones. But can the adults in the group have fun there, too? With proper planning, family vacations don't have to be exclusively kid-centric. Mom, dad, and the grand parents can have fun in the same places as the kids if you pick the right venues.

Some popular family spots all can enjoy can include Williamsburg, VA; Disneyworld in Orlando; or Yosemite National Park.

Family vacations can be chaotic. Yet they can also be immensely rewarding. Just by keeping these tips in mind, you can help ensure safe and happy travels -- at least until you get to your destination!

Mitzi H. Hewitt


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