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May 13, 2016
Tips for planning your family's summer road trip 
50-plus Great Ideas for your family_s best summer vacation
Dear Family Travelers:

AAA reports that as we look forward to the lowest gas prices in years, record numbers of families are planning to hit the road this summer. According to a recent AAA survey, more than one-third of Americans (35 percent) are planning to take a family vacation of 50 miles or more away from home.
I wonder as families want to stay closer to home if we're going to see a return to that golden era of family road trips in the 1950s and 1960s. How did they do it? No tablets to amuse the kids! No GPS! No seatbelts or safety seats!
But there are plenty of the same issues-squabbling siblings, more bathroom stops, hungry kids when you've just left a restaurant.
Here are some tips to help you road trip happier this summer:
  • AAA recommends you get the car checked out and map out a route in advance to make the most of the road trip. Let the kids help plan the route. Where would it be fun to stop?
  • Plan frequent stops, about every 100 miles or two hours, to remain alert. Apps like AAA's TripTik Travel Planner can help families find hotels and restaurants, gas prices and fun stops.
  • Encourage each member of the family to create a playlist that everyone can enjoy.
  • Plan to get to where you are staying in time for a swim, whether you are at a campground (most KOA Kampgrounds have pools these days) or a hotel.
  • Bring a cooler so you can picnic for lunch. Make sure each member of the family has a water bottle. They can decorate it with souvenir stickers found along the way!
  • Get off the fast food track for meals when you can. Use Yelp or another app to find locally-owned restaurants. Ask the hotel staff where they take their kids.
  • Keep a first aid kit at the ready. Ditto for paper towels and spray cleaner for unforeseen messes.
  • Insist everyone get off their devices for part of the ride. Pick up some audio books at your local library or download from a site like Audible. Your school or children's librarian can give you suggestions. Try a book set in the region where you are traveling!
  • Have some treats handy. They come in handy when everyone has been in the car too long!
  • Have a "surprise" grab bag. The kids can choose one when you cross a state line!
  • Try the old car games you played on road trip. When was the last time you played "I Spy" or Road Trip Bingo? Minitime.com offers their picks for the 10 best road trip games.
  • Encourage the kids to start a collection. They can buy a pencil, a sticker, a patch, a pin....when you stop and that will discourage them from seeking out expensive souvenirs.
What's in your collection?


 Find out what local and visiting kids have to say about nine great American travel destinations through our Kids' Guides Series from Globe Pequot Press.
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