Surviving the Drive: Family Road Trips Made Simple

With the summer travel season quickly approaching, many families are planning to take to the road in order to escape the stress of the daily grind. A poorly planned family road-trip can be a greater source of frustration than many families realize. Unfortunately, these families tend to encounter this frustration halfway into the vacation, at a time when little can be done to remedy it.

According to Liz Walsh, president of the backseat entertainment company Survive the Drive, the level of stress during the trip is in direct proportion to the quality of planning done before pulling out of the driveway.

"It is so disappointing to make travel plans in order to promote family 'togetherness' only to get to the destination with parents and children at each others' throats," said Mrs. Walsh, who is also the mother of four children under the age of eleven. "But when parents discover how simple planning can make the trip fun and memorable, the difference in the quality of the actual vacation is measurable. Having the right tools on the road can make all the difference between the success and failure of the actual vacation."

Mrs. Walsh suggests that parents take time to plot out a trip that includes pre-planned rest stops, a cooler of refreshments (to avoid high-priced rest stop and fast food prices), music and books on tape, and lots of activities for the kids in the back.

Parents can obtain travel tips, maps and weather information; rent or buy a specially-designed TV/VCR unit for their car, SUV or van; and shop for "Survival Gear" (activity kits, games, books and crafts) by visiting www.SurvivetheDrive.com or calling the company toll-free at 800/573-6018.

Liz Walsh's Five Secrets for Surviving Family Travel

Want to get to your vacation with your sanity in tact? Here are five ways to make getting there "half the fun":

Play by the Rules: Keep everyone occupied with Ghost, 20 Questions, Punch Buggy and License Plate Bingo, then try a scavenger hunt, a tin foil sculpture contest and Penny Ante. For rules and more games, visit www.survivethedrive.com.

Roll Tape: Borrow an idea from the airlines: show a movie. Rent (or buy) a TV/VCR made to play in your vehicle, hit "play" and go. Call 800/573-6018 to make a reservation.

Travel Off-Peak: Leaving before sun-up or after dinner can help avoid the worst traffic.

Join A Club: For peace of mind, consider joining AAA. Besides towing service, many provide pre-planned routes, discounts and insurance.

Be Prepared: Keep a well-sealed, up-to-date first aid kit, that includes headache, pain, allergy and stomach medicines, Band-Aids and anti-bacterial cream. Include the phone numbers of your doctor, dentist, and medical insurance company.

To obtain a free "How to Handle Common Travel Emergencies" card to store in your glove compartment or trunk, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Survive the Drive, Common Emergencies Offer, 28 W. Eagle Road, Havertown, PA 19083.

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