How to Survive a Road Trip with Family

There aren’t many topics that are more near and dear to my heart than road trips and family travel. That’s probably because I got my start traveling the USA with my family on road trips. We went everywhere. I can’t describe it, but there’s something special about road trips. However, there are some serious downsides. In my case, I do a lot of travel with family. I’ve become quite the pro at not killing them while on the road. Here’s how.

1. Music

My dad, bless him, loves Classic Rock. While this is a wonderful genre to jam to and sing along in the car, it gets a little old after the same songs start to repeat. I’ll shove some ear buds into my ears and jam to my own music. It’s during this time, I’ll tune everyone else out and focus purely on my own happiness.

2. Ear plugs

The importance of ear plugs goes all the way back to our road trip to DC in high school. I’d forgotten to pack them and refused to sleep a single night in the same room as my parents without them. Late the first night of the trip, my dad drove us to a Walgreen’s to buy some. Since then, they go everywhere with me.

I’m a light sleeper and don’t do well in new places with noises that I’m not used to. Ear plugs help to mute those sounds. I remember many a night in Dublin when the street was loud. I would put those ear plugs in and sleep like a baby.

3. My own pillow and blanket

I’m a cuddler, and I found out the hard way that people don’t like to sleep with me. I remember a road trip not too long ago where my family literally drew sticks to see who would have to sleep with me. Jerks. I began to pack my pillow and blanket with me. I can wrap them around me and cuddle with them. I didn’t want to cuddle with my family anyhow.

4. Food that I packed

Food is always a must have when traveling. Just make sure you have the food that YOU want. My mama always packs good snacks for us to eat in the car, but that doesn’t mean that she remembers to pack things that I like. I have to make sure to grab those things myself.

5. Books on books on books

Not everyone can read in the car, and I do understand that. But for those of us that can, read baby read. I used to take four or five books on road trips as an emergency go to. Now I have my Kindle and am never short of books to read. Getting lost in a distant adventure is my favorite way to pass time while on the road.

6. Sleep 

I have to be really tired to sleep in a car, but it’s another great way to pass time and tune out the family.

7. Knowing that it won’t last forever

Road trips are temporary. No matter how bad your family may be annoying you, it will not last forever.

8. Sense of humor

Dad jokes. We all know they are super lame, but laugh at them anyways. Your dad will be greatly appreciative of it. My dad tells some pretty good ones though!

Keep in mind too that when things go wrong, it’s your sense of humor that will keep y’all sane. Laugh. It’s good for the soul.

9. Take crazy road trip pictures with my sister

This is a tradition that began a long time ago. She and I will sit in the backseat together and take about 127 goofy pictures together. It gives us something to do and a good memory to look back on later. Those are some of my favorite pictures from our travels.

10. Sometimes leaving them for a little while

One of the biggest struggles while on a road trip is the constant closeness. Being trapped in a car with my parents and sister for eight hours is not something I really look forward to. Because of that, I make sure to get some much needed time away from them. Even if that means just taking a quick walk down the hall of the hotel to the vending machine and getting high on chocolate.

11. Talking

Our family has some great conversations while on the road. They don’t always go well (because we have very different opinions on things), but it’s great to talk to each other and see their points of view on things.

12. Showering at night

The four of us stay in one hotel room together. In the morning when we go to get ready for the day’s activities, it can sometimes be a small madhouse. I found that when I shower at night, I can sleep in a tad later the next morning and I don’t have to get in the mess that is getting ready in the morning.

13. Trying my hardest not to say snarky comments

I’m really sarcastic as I’m sure some of you have figured out from my writing. Sometimes I get asked questions that I either don’t know the answer to or don’t want to answer. When that happens, I tend to give a snarky response. I try my hardest not to do that while on the road because it can cause an awful fight.

14. Remembering that the trip is supposed to be fun

This is the most important thing. Sometimes things start to really get under your skin or go really wrong. When that happens, try to remember that you’re on this road trip to have fun and spend time with your family. I know it’s difficult to look at it that way at times, but that’s really the most important thing about family road trips.

As you all read this, my family and I are on a road trip to Orlando, Florida. We left our sleeping hometown bright and early at 6.00am. It’s about a nine hour drive ish (pending stops and traffic) to Orlando from here. I will be with my family until Saturday.

I will be implementing all of these during the next five days.

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