Set Your GPS Without the Stress: Planning Your Holiday Road Trip

Plan a stress-free family road tripIt's the holiday season, and for many families, that means taking a lot of road trips. But how can you avoid the cries of "are we there yet?" The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman, speaks with Easy Does It host Ereka Vetrini about how to hit the road with ease.

Kaufman notes that many times, families think that they'll "wake the kids up at the crack of dawn and put them in their PJs into the car, and they'll sleep the majority of the road trip. Well this never happens." Instead, when you're heading out on the road with small children, stick to familiar routines so the kids will know what's coming next without much disruption.

Related: 21 fun road trip games

As for a packing strategy, Kaufman says that before loading the car, start with an empty trunk. Then, she says, "Make sure the things you're not going to need accessible are down at the bottom." Kaufman advises packing a tub filled with such items as a soccer ball, a jump rope, or a football so you can take a break from driving and run around with the family. She also says that it's important to pack an emergency kit with the basics, just in case.

Related: 7 dos and don'ts for family road trips

Another must-have to bring along on a road trip, says Kaufman, is a "special object of affection of your child's. It makes them feel comfortable and helps them stick to the routine." In addition, she says, "I'm a big believer in making technology your travel companion." Load up your gadgets with kid-friendly apps-Vetrini likes Charmin's SitOrSquat app, which can locate the closest rest stop for emergency bathroom breaks-and bring along a portable DVD player.

For good old-fashioned fun, Kaufman suggests making a boredom bag. Buy or repurpose a hanging cosmetic case and fill each pocket with age-appropriate activities, such as books on tape, handheld electronic games, or self-contained craft kits. Hang it from the seat back in front of where the child is sitting. "It keeps everything organized, and keeps the kids occupied," she notes. In addition, Kaufman advises bringing along a cookie sheet, which can be used for everything from a table for snacks to a magnetic surface for games.

Finally, Kaufman tells parents, "Planning a family vacation is a lot of work-but what I want you to remember is in the blink of an eye it's going to be gone. So enjoy that moment.

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