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Packing fun into the family road trip

It’s a classic family vacation scenario. In the sixties, parents loaded up the wood-panelled station wagon and headed out on the road. Today, it’s probably a minivan or SUV. Though the vehicles have evolved, the basic ingredients of a family road trip are the same: parents, kids, maybe the family pet and whole lot of luggage.

It takes just a little planning to minimize the stress of family holidays and maximize the fun.


Take care of necessary pre-trip maintenance
  • Make sure your oil is on “full”. That also goes for all fluid levels including power steering, coolant and brakes.
  • Check tires for wear and inflate them to the recommended pressure level. Ensure your spare is in good shape and ready to go.
  • Make sure the children’s car seats are properly installed.
Stock up on fun and games
  • Before you leave, pay a visit to your local library, book store or dollar store and pick up some items that will help pass the time.
  • Talking books—Younger children love stories by Beverly Clearly, Roald Dahl and Dr. Suess. These stories will engage even Mom and Dad. Still on the topic of CDs, don’t be afraid to get silly with comedy selections from Bill Cosby, Weird Al Yankovic or the Arrogant Worms.
  • Magnetic Games—Thank goodness for the grippy little magnet that makes it possible to play board games over even the bumpiest terrain. Usually inexpensive, you can pick up mini magnet versions of many board games such as backgammon, Chinese checkers and Battleship.
  • Sticker and colouring books—Usually inexpensive, these books can keep kids busy for long periods of time.
  • Summer Santa gifts—Sometimes you’ve done your best to keep the kids amused, but spirits start to flag. Take along a stash of inexpensive, age-appropriate toys that you can dole out in moments of need. For the very little ones it may be a board book or a stuffy, for the older kids, a puzzle, a kaleidoscope or a lump of playdough.