Five Speedbumps That Will Wreck Your Family Road Trip

by Rob Elliott

HarperKids
Jun 28, 2017 · 5 min read

The beach and the pool, theme parks and camp grounds — summer is awesome! Yet the best-planned vacation can be ruined before you even get out of the driveway. Road trips in the car can be a torture chamber of bickering, barfing, and “Are we there yet?!” Is it possible for driving with kids to be fun instead of frustrating? Is our only hope found in TV’s and tablets for all? Some of the best memories of family vacation can come from time together in the car. Avoid these five speedbumps, and you can have the trip of a lifetime.

Speedbump #1: Failure to Plan

Speed bump #2: Sick and sloppy

A trashy car isn’t a happy place to be, either. A supply of baby wipes, paper towels, trash bags, and anti-bacterial cleaning wipes let you freshen up your space every time you stop.

Speed bump #3: Rushing and rigid

Bank in extra time to veer off course to take in a view or a playground. Freak out the kids by stopping for ice cream at 10 a.m. Play a quick game of tag on the lawn at a rest stop. Put your energy into making memories instead of trying to get there NOW.

Speed bump #4: Road rage

If griping and tattling start wrecking the mood in the vehicle, try some kindness. Start a conversation of “what I like best about you is…”. Create a tally sheet so you can make a mark for every please, thank you, and compliment you hear. When you get to 50, pass out a treat. Have the kids swap seats from time to time so they get a new view and “neighbor”. If all else fails, turn the music up a little louder to drown them out!

Speed bump #5: Leaving them out

Reward your kids for being great travelers. Get a roll of quarters for each one before you leave. Let them know that every time they argue, complain, or ask “How much farther?!” it will cost them a quarter. Any money left at the end of the drive is theirs to keep for souvenirs. Create a secret stash of surprises — crafts, trinkets, or dollar-store items — to pass out as a prize every 100 miles. Toss them a gummy bear when you catch them being nice to their sibs.

Find ways to let your kids know you’re excited to be together. You see them trying to be patient when the day gets long. You’re thrilled for time to have fun because they’re your favorite people ever.

Let a little planning and a lot of laughter make this your best summer ever as a family. Drive safe!


Rob Elliott is the author of Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, More Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, Laugh-Out Loud Animal Jokes for Kids, Laugh-Out-Loud Doodles for Kids, Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids, Laugh-Out Loud Spooky Jokes for Kids, Laugh-Out-Loud Christmas Jokes for Kids, and Laugh-Out-Loud Awesome Jokes for Kids. He has been a publishing professional for more than twenty years and lives in West Michigan, where in his spare time he enjoys laughing out loud with his wife and five children.

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