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Top 10 Tips For Taking Road Trips With Kids by Kat Saveal

Like many other families, our family takes a number of road trips each year. We have three beautiful young daughters and people often say to me how can you stand to take road trips with young kids. In fact, I love taking road trips. I now prefer them to traveling by plane. Here are my top 10 tips for having a fun and non-stressful driving vacation.

1. Leave early in the morning, before Breakfast. This way you can get a few hours under your belt while the kids (hopefully) sleep in the car. Then stop for breakfast.

2. If your budget allows, buy your child(ren) a new toy for the trip. Do not let them play with it until you are in the car and on your way.

3. Bring along a portable DVD player if your car does not already have one. For long trips, pack at least 3 or more DVDs. Its even better if you can buy a couple of new ones to keep your childrens attention better.

4. Pack a cooler with lots of your kids favorite snacks, drinks and sandwiches. Keep the cooler handy in the car, so you can just reach in and give them something. Packing your own food saves on costs.

5. Stop at a nice rest area to eat your meals. This will be less stressing then hauling the kids into a crowded McDonalds. When we travel from Texas to Maryland each year we stop at a beautiful rest area in Tennessee. It has nice bathroom facilities and is located on several acres giving the kids a chance to run around and exhaust some of their energy.

6. Stop every 3-4 hours. If you are traveling with small kids like us, you will really want to take advantage of this tip. Kids dont have a concept of time. By the time 3 hours goes by in a car it seems like forever to them. Even stopping at a gas station and letting everyone get out of the car and stretch their legs for a few minutes really works.

7. Play car games. A favorite of ours is Cops and corVettes. One point is given for every police car spotted and two points are given for a Corvette. But if you call a car and its not correct then you deduct the points. It even helps to spot that hidden police car before he spots you!

8. Bring plenty of pillows and blankets. Children are more likely to sleep in the car if they are comfortable.

9. If you plan to stay somewhere overnight before traveling the next day, pack everything you need for the night in one bag. That way when you get to the hotel you dont have to unload the whole car. I buy the biggest Ziploc bags I can find and put my childrens clothes in them and write their name on it. Then I only take what is needed.

10. Check the hotels to see if they offer free breakfast. Our favorite hotel to stay in is Holiday Inn. Kids stay and eat free. If we arrive at the hotel in the evening, they can eat dinner for free and then breakfast the next morning. Once again it saves on costs, especially if you pack your own lunch.

I hope these tips help you on your next road trip. Source: Kat Saveal Co-owner, The Cue Zone

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