Toward Stress-Free Travel By Emily Kaufman, the Travel Mom
Families take an average of 5.3 road trips each year. With a little planning
and organization, parents can save their sanity and make travel time easy and
stress-free for the whole family.
One of the single most important things you can do when you travel is to
prepare as much as possible beforehand by getting directions and planning your
route. Parents need to be flexible and prepared for the unexpected traffic
delays and car troubles and keep in mind, when you get tense – so do your
kids. Also, make sure you look into alternate routes just in case roads are
closed or traffic is unusually heavy.
When you’re on the road, make your travel times an enjoyable experience for
everyone. Here are a few ideas to make the miles pass faster:
Create a “Boredom Bag” for each child, with age-appropriate toys such as
crayons, activity books and electronic games.
Pack a baking sheet in the back pocket of the seat, which the kids can use as
a desk for coloring or as a tray for snacks and mealtimes.
Don’t forget the comfy favorites like pillows, blankets and stuffed animals so
the kids can feel comfortable napping in the car.
When the kids start to get a little anxious, play word games and reward them
with little trinkets, stickers or goodies from your “Surprise Bag.”
Help small children select special toys that are appropriate for car travel
and make sure they pack a “blankie” for nighttime.
Make the most of your stops by choosing locations that allow you to grab
snacks, get a cup of fresh coffee or a cold soda, give everyone a bathroom
break, and gas up the car at the same time.
Take advantage of convenient timesavers, such as Speedpass™, which can be used
at Exxon and Mobil gas stations and On the Run® convenience stores across the
country. Speedpass allows you to quickly pay for gas or convenience store
items with the wave of your hand, so you can get what you need and be on your
way in a flash.
A road trip is a great opportunity to create family memories -- it’s about the
journey, not just the destination. You can relish the quality time together
and build memories that will last for years to come.
Emily Kaufman is The Travel Mom. She appears on television, in print, on
the radio and online as an expert in travel. Emily is the travel contributor
for Good Morning America and The View. She writes the annual travel feature
for Woman's Day Magazine, and will be a published author with a series
entitled "Are We There Yet?" with Broadway Books. She is also heard regularly
on ABC national radio.