It's that time of the year! Summer is almost here and everyone's got vacations planned. Are you ready to take off on that cross-country road trip AND survive it with your significant other and kids in tow? 

That there is a pretty tall order. Sure, you and your ‘soul mate’ may think you can handle zigzagging across the continent in the same vehicle without a problem. However, until you do put in a few dozen hours cramped in your vehicle with or without screaming or puking kids in the back seat, you really have no clue what you are getting into. Yes, you may want to see you doctor for a prescription of Valium. Or at the very least, see if you can get something to keep you mellow and chilled throughout the majority of this epic journey you are about to take.


​Well, spending a day, week, weeks or more in a vehicle crossing the surface of a map with kids in tow is going to be a test. It will test your patience. It will test your stamina. It will most certainly test your parenting skills and finally, it will test your marriage. Expect to hit a few speed bumps along the way. That’s normal. But just in case, here are a few tips to help keep you on the right road and thinking happy thoughts instead of plotting where to hide the bodies.


family road trip time
​What is that one cool thing that you think keeps your relationship alive? Aside from all the crazy sex the both of you had before you started a family. You probably talked to each other a lot. Today it is probably texting back and forth, but at least you are still in contact with one another.

​This is a good thing, by the way. So, survival tip #1 is to communicate. That means everything from what today’s destination could be to where to stop along the way, what things to look for and where to eat. It also means that you have to include the kids in these plans as well.
Here’s Why It Is Important
When your partner and the children all get some level of input into the plan for the upcoming day, it takes away a lot of stress. 
It gives everyone a sense of having their input heard and respected. It also gets everyone off your back if you forget to take the next exit. ​That’s because everyone else in the vehicle will be watching and letting you know when you should be moving into the lane nearest to the off ramp. It may take a bit of adjustment for all parties, but just by talking, planning and laughing together, you end up putting off the bad moods, crankiness, irritability and any other party pooping scenario that could cause you to return to your plan of turning everyone in the car into luggage by stuffing them all in the trunk for the rest of the trip.


​There is no denying it. A holiday alone or with family has a fair amount of stress attached to it. The key to getting through this is to maintain a sense of calm. Look at it as a contest and try to be the most relaxed person in the vehicle for as long as possible. The thing is, since you are the head of the household (regardless of what she may think/say) you are actually going to be the one person who sets the pace for the entire holiday.

​Running the daily road hours like a carefully-scheduled Greyhound bus is not going to win you many fans in your family. Sure, everyone wants to get to the next stop as fast as possible but part of the joy of a holiday is to travel at a speed a few notches below light speed so you can enjoy some of the sights and people.
grab a cold one at end of the day
Here’s Why It Is Important
Make no mistake about it. If you can manage the mood of the vehicle by keeping everyone relaxed and calm, you are protecting your own sanity. There is nothing more to say on that.


In addition to staying as mellow as possible to start under the crazy radar, you do also need to just get away from both your spouse and the kids. This has to be explained as part of the pre-trip inspection so that when you finally decide it is time to wander off to the nearest bar, shooting range or casino on your own, you won’t be questioned or badgered for doing so.

​Even if the two adults switch off regularly sharing the driving chores, food preparation chores and everything else your average parent does on vacation, you still need some me time to recharge.
Here’s Why It Is Important
The person in charge always needs backup and a backup plan. Although a vacation should be enjoyable, there are times when the odd hiccup can derail the perfectly executed plan. But instead of getting bend out of shape about it and pointing fingers, taking a well-deserved break from the entire situation is best. It lets you calm down and see things more clearly. Plus, if your get-away-from-everyone choice turns out to be a casino, you may just end up winning enough to turn around the way you were starting to see your holiday drifting.


​This one may sound hard to follow, and it may take some adjustment by all family members, but when you can keep some of the things you normally do at home in the holiday routine, it does everyone a lot of good. Sure, if the kids normally go to bed by 8:00 PM, you can probably fudge that a bit because of the holiday.

​However, don’t be too surprised if following a particularly hectic and active day they end up calling it a night earlier than their normal bedtime. The same thing applies to meal time. Of course, there will be a few extra treats between meals but if your family has a fairly rigid breakfast/lunch and dinner schedule, try to not deviate too much from it.
plan the road trip well
Here’s Why It Is Important
Yes, a holiday is a break away from the normal routine. However, it is not meant to be something that breaks the normal routine completely. Brushing and flossing teeth, regular showers/baths and all the normal foundational activities you and your family follow at home should carry over to some extent into your holiday. If you don’t do this, you’ll discover difficulty in getting back to the normal routine once the holiday ends and everyone is back home. 


happy wife happy life
​Ah, yes. The little woman.

The apple of your eye. The Ying to your Yang. Your partner, lover, wife.

All through the ups and downs of your life spent together, she has always stayed by your side. And for some reason she is doing it as part of this unusually strange getaway you have chosen to take the whole family on.

​Yes, she probably wasn’t sold on the idea at first but with some gentle persuasion and a bit of begging on your part, you managed to win her over. That alone should tell you something about the bond that exists between you.
​She is so important right this moment that you have to forfeit some of the decision making to her. Or at least make it appear that she has a bit more input than you’ve admitted to giving her. Let her choose where you stay tonight and let her make suggestions for dinner tonight. Allow her to have some say.
Here’s Why It Is Important
She is your equal. Even if you don’t always see it that way and as a result, you will both have a much better holiday if you share the workload. That could be just as easy as asking her where she would like to spend part of the day or whether or not ordering in works for her tonight instead of making something out of the cooler you’ve been hauling across the country. Not only will it strengthen your bond, you may end up with a few more of those special naps that can happen when everything seems to be going as perfect as possible.


Travelling together in close quarters with everyone you share DNA with is not natural. We are not built this way but thanks to the fine folks at Winnebago, they see families a lot differently than the average person.

​There are going to be those moments that just happen and words that would normally not have a cutting edge may fall out in such a way that they become harmful. When you consider the stress that the fine folks at Winnebago have contributed to your family vacation, there’s no wonder that flying off the handle happens. The key to surviving this is to just get over the situation as soon as possible so that everyone else can enjoy the rest of the day instead of walking on eggshells to prevent World War III from blasting off.
Here’s Why It Is Important
This is another one of those sanity savers. Sure, stuff happens and things get said. It’s not a contest to see who has the best sarcasm or can make the other cry quicker, louder, faster. It’s not easy spending so much time together. It really isn’t even if that is with the people you love the most. But keeping things in perspective and not taking anger or any kind of upset into your dream state, you wake up the next morning feeling great and ready to tackle the next phase of your holiday with your best friend and the kids.


​Your family holiday is not a death sentence nor is it supposed to be any kind of penalty or punishment. If anything, spending time together with your loved ones should be the thing that memories are made of for both you and them.

​This is your chance to give your children some great memories to carry well into their adulthood and possibly pass on to their children, minus the Winnebago. Your holiday is going to be over faster than you think and so you should keep in mind that the moments you share with your family are vital to the family unit.
Here’s Why It Is Important

Your time together as a family is limited. It is going to expire and you must enjoy the time you have when it happens. 
toddler not happy
Try to suck out as much as possible because you never really know when the opportunity will present itself for another epic family road trip. This is why you should let some of the small stuff go and focus on keeping the wheels between the ditches, the dirty side down and the clean side up. Oh, and to keep moving in the direction of the headlights.


​Surviving a family holiday across the country is doable. It can be done and does not require duct tape and blindfolds. Although the strength of your marriage and the bond you have with your children is going to be stretched to its limit, it will also prove to be a valuable exercise.

​By following the tips we have included here, you will have the foundation to build a great – no, even greater – holiday than you had originally planned. Imagine having such a good time that you’d actually want to do it again with all the same people. It can be your reality. Besides, if you can survive getting through this, then you are virtually bulletproof when any other circumstance arises.

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