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Tips for Surviving the Summer Road Trip

Road-TripYou can probably hear it already: kids yelling and crying, fighting over what to listen to, what to watch and which toy or food is "MINE!" Sometimes a picnic is no picnic, and when you are taking a road trip on summer vacation, squabbling, screaming kids can get your vacation off to a really bad start.

But can you imagine a ride where everyone is laughing, talking or quietly enjoying the drive? It can happen! Just follow these tips for surviving the summer road trip.

#1: Pack Plenty of Goodies

First and foremost, pack plenty of goodies. Stopping to eat can hurt your drive time and your budget. Pack nonsugary snacks like apples, oranges and grapes, but also individual snack packs, like one with a sandwich, chips and cookies. That way there's no fighting over food; everyone has their own pack.

#2: Pop in a Movie

How long will your drive take? Two hours? Ten hours? Thank heavens for modern technology! Even if you don't have a drop-down screen in your car, just bring your tablet or iPhone and log in to your Hulu or Netflix account to quiet down the kids. Try to pick a movie or show they want to see but haven't yet seen so they pay attention.

#3: Bring Headphones

This tip goes hand in hand with tip #2. Little earbuds or cheap noise-cancelling headphones are a lifesaver on a long road trip. Buy a pair for everyone — except the driver, of course — so that everyone can enjoy their own form of entertainment. Those wanting to watch a movie can plug in their earbuds; those wanting to listen to music on their phone can do that too.

#4: Come Up With Road Games

For really long road trips, once you've eaten all the snacks and watched movies and listened to music until you can't any longer, it's time for road games. Pick a few good ones like picking out different state license plates, singing show tunes, playing trivia games or taking the scenic route.

#5: Make Time for Potty Breaks

One way to keep the kids from getting too antsy is to make time for potty breaks. You don't have to stop every 30 minutes, but plan to take at least two or three potty breaks at spaced intervals to give everyone a chance to get out of the car and stretch their legs.

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On-the-Road Safety Tips Checklist

Finally, before you take off, remember your safety checklist. This will help you avoid a total disaster when trouble arises. Mark these off first:

  • Pack an emergency roadside kit.
  • Make sure your AAA is up to date.
  • Check your spare tire.
  • Don't forget to bring your phone charger.
  • Always carry extra cash.
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