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It’s the holidays. Your family really wants to see your little ones (and maybe even you).  This means you get to load up the minivan and head out for a few days of family fun aka pretending you like your in-laws.

Let’s put aside the screwed up nap times and sleeping arrangements. Or the fact that instead of listening to your husband snore, now you have to hear your father in-law, and he’s worse.  The first step in this joyous time is getting everyone there, in one piece and hopefully sane.  Here are some completely random tips that will help you make it thru a road trip with your child and/or spouse (because really many of these tips can apply to either).

1. Snacks, snacks and more snacks.  You must come prepared for any demand. Your kitchen is no longer accessible and you have no idea if it’s going to be a teddy graham or Goldfish kind of day. And let’s be real, on a car ride longer than 2 hours, it’s both. Be prepared and bring every snack item your child (spouse) likes.

2. Bring Technology. Sure, you can say screen time is bad for a child’s development. Well so is screaming at them to shut the hell up, so lets pick the one that keeps you looking like the good guy. It can be a dvd player, iPad/tablet or cell phone, just have something that when you’ve reached that do or die point in the trip, you can pull it out and they will shut the hell up, only you didn’t have to say it.

4. Do not put on a radio station that only plays Christmas music. At least one person in the car will think this is a good idea. It is not. The other people do not want to hear 3 different versions of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, mixed in with those random new Christmas songs which all suck. A radio station that has at least some regular, everyday music will help everyone in the car keep from wanting to shove a pencil in the ears. Bonus if you can negotiate complete radio control for the ride.

5. Do not bring up issues that you’ve been meaning to discuss with your spouse. It may seem like the perfect time, you don’t have anything else to do but talk, and now they can’t walk away from you if things get heated. The latter is the very reason you cannot bring up issues on long car trips. You are trapped. Now if you really get into it and someone is going off the deep end, there is no escape. No taking a walk or going to another room to cool off. It’s just two pissed off people sitting in a car for another how many hours. Not to mention if you bring something up too close to your destination, then you have to squash it while you greet family. Save yourself the angst and continue to suppress your underlying issues.

6. Establish who is in charge of the directions. Fights always ensue when one person says “you should take this way” and the other person disagrees. Present your case ahead of time, and this way if you don’t win, and your points on why your way was better, you will be validated and get your way next time. This one is a win the war, not the battle sort of scenario.

7. Wear comfortable clothing. You will be crawling over seats looking for goldfish, juice boxes, the iPad or the toy your child has to have in order to sleep, but keeps throwing on the floor. Hopefully you’ll have time once you arrive at your final destination to get into nicer clothes before being dragged to Christmas Eve mass, where you will continue to search for the Goldfish, juice box and toy.

If you have any additional tips, please share!

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