Stress Busters for the Road

Automotive, Home & Family
on May 23, 2004

Whether youre planning a vacation to Disney World or a visit to Grandmas house, the tips and ideas below are designed to minimize tension and promote carefree family car travel.

  • Think ahead. Steve and Ruth Bennett, authors of By Land, By Air, By Sea, suggest that youngsters who participate in planning and packing, take a personal stake in the success of the trip. Team up to get information from tourist offices and block out a sightseeing route. Tourist guides such as Fodors, state maps and Internet sites like identify family friendly restaurants, hotels/motels and activities.
  • Let children select a favorite small toy, book, magazine, pad, pencil or crayons to take along. A brightly decorated homemade shoe-box travel organizer with cardboard partitions, limits the stuff crammed into the car and cuts down on the number of times a parent needs to pass things back and forth.
  • The guessing game, I Spy (I spy something ugly and its moving up your arm. What is it?) and observation activities like License Plate Log, where children remember plates by state, color, numbers and/or letters are easy to play.
  • Adventure diversions such as Natural Collections (stop the car in a scenic spot to find souvenirs such as leaves, rocks, shells or twigs) and First Impression, a point game where the first to spot a change in terrain, climate, dress, food, architecture, streets and sidewalks helps your kids see their new environment. Give A Tour, converts a paper towel tube into a microphone. Your child becomes the announcer of Homes Of The Famous, History Trail or Exotic Zoo.
  • Sing along to This Land Is Your Land or Row, Row, Row Your Boat. If siblings are rambunctious try, The Silence Game. Two minutes of absolute quiet, until someone forgets and giggles or speaks out, gives everyone time to calm down.
  • Larry Farber, certified yoga teacher/certified social worker tells parents, Its best to exercise before you go and take a break for every hour of driving. Get out of the car, bend your knees as you fold over toward the ground and stretch up toward the sky. Repeat several times. You are in close quarters, Farber cautions. Breathe deeply and avoid arguing.

Be flexible. Vacation travel can be the ideal time for family members to listen and learn from each other as well as a time to relax and have fun. Lighten up and enjoy the ride.