Road trips are a right of passage. A fun tradition for some families.  A nightmare for others.  If you want to make your trip more of the former and less of the latter, you need to plan accordingly.

Last summer, my family took our very first road trip.  We packed up our stuff and hit the highway for our weeklong journey with one mission — to hit 4 baseball stadiums in 4 days.

By the end of it, we’d seen a baseball game in St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland.  We checked out the sites, enjoyed the local cuisines, and had an overall incredibly fun time.

Here’s how you can do the same.

Choose The Right Vehicle

Don’t expect to cram everyone in mom’s SUV.  It’s just not going to happen.

Instead, rent out a travel van.  Depending on how many people you’re taking, a 10 or 12-passenger van should do the trick.

That way, you’ll have plenty of space to stretch out and enough room for everyone to sleep (semi)comfortably.

It also makes it easier not having to stop for gas every 200 miles.

Set Logical Stopping Points

how to take a family road trip

Credit-Tabea Damm

We mapped out our trip ahead of time, planning to travel the farthest distance first, then work our way back.

The first day was the longest — a 14-hour voyage from Pennsylvania to St. Louis, Missouri.  But the way back was almost perfectly planned.

Although we saw a lot in a short period of time, it never felt rushed.  By breaking down the distance between your destinations, you’ll be able to plan your trip the right way.

Make Your Own Fun

how to take a family road trip

Credit-NBC Films/Paramount Pictures

It’s not all excitement all the time.  There will be lulls and periods of downtime.  So, if you’re like me, you’ll have to spice things up a bit.

Maybe roll the windows down, blast the radio, start harmonizing, and lock eyes with every driver that dares to come close.  Or bring a board game, like Scrabble.

Either way, when you’re 5 hours from your next stop, sometimes you need to supply your own fun.

Chill Out

This is the most important piece of road trip advice I can offer you.

It’s easy to get aggravated.  After all, you’re stuck in a metal box with the people who know exactly how to get under your skin.

If you find your blood starting to boil, take a few deep breaths.  After all, this is a family road trip.  You’re supposed to be enjoying yourself.

You’re making memories that will last a lifetime and creating stories that you’ll tell your kids someday.

Live in the moment.  Enjoy the time you’re spending together.

What are your tips for surviving a family road trip?  Drop a comment below!

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