family dune buggy

I love traveling and long, leisurely road trips are near the top of my list. That fondness grew from traveling with parents who were game for adventure. They didn’t feel compelled to get us to our destination in record time. I’ve had to strive towards that especially when traveling with my young son. It’s helpful to have some family trip tips to fall back on.

Stress free family trip tips:

1. Don’t overbook: When there is space in the journey for getting-out-of-the-car kind of wandering that is spontaneous, kids will retain their sense of adventure. More airports are installing entertainment and play areas, so encourage exploring within limits. It’s also important for future trips, as they’ll learn to associate travel with shared family time and enjoyment.

2. Leaving time to take side-trips is another way to keep everyone happier. When the driver can pull over at a picnic site and take a short nap while the kids play, or stop at an interesting road-side attraction to stretch everyone’s legs, road trips will jump from endurance contests to cool explorations of the world.

3. Keep work commitments to a minimum. Taking business calls while in line at Disney world is only advised in emergencies. Keeping family time focused on being together will go far in creating lasting memories. I know it’s hard to disengage from the Blackberry but find balance, perhaps scheduling your online time daily so everyone feels that their needs are being accounted for.

4. Allow for and expect differences of opinions. There’s nothing like an invigorating discussion about where to go and what to do to bring out latent independence in kids and adolescents. Encourage not dissent but communication. Kids want to be included without losing the sense that they’re being guided and cared for.

5. Too much togetherness: On journeys longer than a weekend, structuring time apart, i.e. one parent taking the younger ones to make snow men while the other siblings go window shopping, makes for more satisfaction all around.

It’s precious time together. May these family trip tips help.

Copyright 2010 Elaine Masters, RYT