Worst-Case Wednesday: How to Survive a Family Car Trip

Posted by Marissa Stern

Photo via PBS Parents

Summertime is the perfect time for family vacations, and you might want to take a break from flying to spend some good ol’ family time together in the car to reach your destination. Whether it’s a two-hour trip to the beach or an 18-hour drive to Disney World, family road trips are a challenge.

There’s only so long one can play the license plate game without wanting to jump out the car window. But no matter the drive, you have to be prepared for a successful car trip, and The Complete Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook has you covered:

1. Line the seats with a large bath towel or sheet.

The cover will protect the back seat and expedite cleanup later.

2. Leave early.

Start a long trip early—before dawn—to assure that kids will be sleepy and will nap for the first few hours of the ride. If they awake at or near rush hour, pull over to avoid traffic and get a break from driving.

3. Bring along a few key items, but only what you really need.

Essential items include snacks, games, open-ended creative toys, and passive entertainment devices (such as CD players and portable DVD players).

4. Make frequent stops.

Do not expect small children to sit still for more than an hour or two at a time. Make frequent rest stops to switch drivers, stretch, throw a ball, run around, and use the bathroom. These stops also serve to fend off carsickness and keep the driver alert.