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Time For A Road Trip For Eveyone

Hurray! Summer is around the corner. That means it’s prime road trip season.

Deciding on a family road trip can be a daunting challenge, not to mention an exercise in patience. However if you prepare ahead of time, the trip can be one of the most memorable experiences of your family's life.

Here are some quick and easy tips for making your family road trip a fun and safe one.

Pack healthy snacks
Before her trips, Lane gathers all kinds of goodies, including cereal, dried fruit, nuts and chocolate candies, and lets everyone make their own trail mix using storage bags. Richards, meanwhile, likes to serve frozen grapes on the road, which also can be stored in brand storage bags. The grapes are like mini popsicles and keep other food cool.

Make that a water
Stick to water for everyone. It’s healthy, you can refill bottles at rest stops and spills won’t stain the car, Richards notes.

Bring a piece of home
Packing blankets, pillows or favorite toys will help make the backseat cozy for kids.

Employ tour guides (your kids!)
Let your children in on the planning. Have them help research hotels and attractions along the way. They’ll be that much more excited.

Keep’em busy
Go high tech and bring portable DVD players and smartphones with fun apps (see below), and go low tech with printable road trip games, and a deck of cards or the license plate game by Melissa & Doug, named best road trip game by Manny Ruiz of the blog Papi Blogger.

Some parents stop at the dollar store or library pree-trip and surprise the kids with books or toys along the way.

Be prepared
Pack a first aid kit, car emergency kit with flashlight, blanket and jumper cables, and extra food and water in case you get stranded. (Traveler Tip: if your car overheats, turn off the air-conditioning and turn on the heater to take heat away from the engine.)

Sing a song
Lane says her family belts out “Holiday Road,” the theme song to National Lampoon’s Vacation at the beginning of every road trip.

Bag it!
Recommends packing one overnight bag with everyone’s essentials (toothbrushes, pajamas, swimsuits, underwear, etc.) so you don’t have to lug, unpack and repack multiple big suitcases at each overnight stop.

Take a dip
Stop at hotels with a pool. Plunging in the water after a long car ride helps everyone unwind, says Richards. If your hotel doesn’t have a pool, ask for directions to the nearest park and let everyone run around before you settle in for the night.

Don’t push it
Stop often. And don’t drive while tired. You’ll have a happier, healthier car ride if you stop regularly to let everyone move around. Lane loves to check out quirky tourist attractions and pack picnics for rest stops. Some moms pack big bags full of rest stop toys: a jump rope, balls and sidewalk chalk for a game of hopscotch or four square.

Embrace your inner tourist
“There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist,” said Lane, noting that some of the most touristy outings are a kid’s favorite. There’s no need to go off the beaten path because “the kids haven’t ever seen what’s on the path,” she joked.