Great Family Road-Trip Tips
Choose the Right Time to Travel
By Kathy Buckworth
Even if your mommy-tolerance levels are on par with those of Mother Theresa, chances are your endurance will be put to the test on a road trip. Luckily, creating a calm and happy drive can be as simple as adhering to a few simple rules. First, make sure you've covered the basics – snacks, water and bathroom breaks – and then move onto the more “advanced” needs, like toys, DVDs, Game Boys, etc. Having lived through many traveling excursions with four young children, I've found that being prepared makes for a (relatively) smooth ride. Make like the Boy Scouts and use these tips to get ready for your road journey.
Choose the right time to travel
When deciding on departure times, consider leaving early to avoid traffic and extra time in the car. “Rather than wait for my hubby, who gets stuck in rush hour, I go ahead to the cottage with my two- and five-year-old,” says Nadine Hughes, a mom of two from Oakville, Ontario. “On Monday, I'm usually on the road by 6 a.m., which means the kids are so tired they sleep half the way, anyway.”
And what of night travels? While the idea might seem appealing (you've got the road to yourself, and the kids aren't likely to stay awake for long), keep your passengers' ages in mind. School-age kids may deal better with late-night trips since they'll likely just nod off, but toddlers and pre-schoolers may need help falling asleep or getting comfortable. You need to stay safe, too. Research suggests that staying awake for 18 hours or more produces performance deterioration equivalent to driving while drunk (specifically, a 0.05 blood-alcohol concentration). If you're yawning frequently or having difficulty staying in your own lane, roll down the window, sing along to the radio or stop for a coffee and a stretch.