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Five Tips for Taking The Kids Roadtripping

Aaahhh… the road trip. It’s a great American tradition immortalized in movies (“National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” and even “Rain Man”), in books (Kerouac’s “On the Road”), and in music (from Johnny Cash to R.E.M.). And although it’s fun and exciting to be on the open road with nothing but adventure ahead of you and the sun at your back, if you have antsy kids in the back seat who constantly ask “Are we there yet?” when you may not know where “there” is, the trip can be just a tad less enjoyable.

The good news is that if you think ahead… just a little… you can make those long stretches through Texas and old roads with nothing but rolling hills around you a little more fun for the kids and yourself. With this in mind, here are five tips to help make your road trip worthy of a song:

  • Rent a Car. If you drive a compact or even a mid-size car, do yourself a favor and get a roomier, cushier car rental with some of the extras (like GPS and an upgraded sound system). Not only will comfy rental car make the ride more enjoyable, but with GPS everyone can track their progress against a map – and with an upgraded sound system, the whole family can rock out as they sing along to their favorite songs.

  • Entertainment. Entertainment. Entertainment. If the car you’re driving doesn’t have a built-in DVD player, either snag a portable one or bring your laptop, car charger and headphones so the little ones can watch their favorite movies if they get bored with the scenery. And don’t forget to pack a little bag of books, coloring books, activity books and their favorite stuffed animal. Combined, all of these things should save you from miles of complaining due to boredom.

  • Snacks. Nothing makes a kid (or grownups) crankier than hunger, so pick up a small, soft-sided cooler and pack water, healthy snacks and a few decadent treats.

  • Regular Stops. If you have a GPS system or you’ve rented a car with one, take full advantage of the system’s ability to point out places of interest along your route. This will let everyone stretch their legs, get some fresh air and make the ride more fun and spontaneous.

  • Hit the Road Early or Late. By missing traffic in major metropolitan areas, you can minimize everyone’s time in the car… which makes for happier passengers all the way around.

When you’re traveling with kids, the cost of lodging and meals can really add up, so to help keep your expenses down try to find hotels and restaurants where kids stay/eat for free. And if your hotel has free breakfast service for all, even better!

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