Multiple days on the road and countless hours packed close together in the truck or minivan can seem like the perfect recipe for familial disaster. But it doesn’t have to be. Taking a few measures before you leave the house and keeping your wits once on the road can help ensure your trip is the best ever.
1. Divide and conquer. Before you leave the house, sit everyone down, make some assignments and figure out the division of labor. Everyone gets a job. Then create a schedule and rotate the jobs around the family so that no one’s stuck washing dishes every night.
2. It’s a family of volunteers. Make it clear before you leave that everyone should be prepared to volunteer for that one unforeseen task that needs to be done.
3. Be thoughtful. If you’re the one making the meal some night, cook like you’ll also be cleaning up. That way you won’t be tempted to use every pot, pan and utensil you’ve packed to whip up your masterpiece. By the same token, if you’re the one in charge of cleaning up after dinner, clean the dishes and work space like you’ll be the one cooking the next meal.
4. Mom’s not the maid. That’s right, pick up after yourself. No one wants to clean up your card game or the mess from your insanely crumbly granola bar. Keeping your vehicle and camping area neat and tidy will help everyone keep their sanity.
5. You’re not running the Ironman. Know your limits and the limits of your family. If kids are tired or mom and dad need a break, take a break. Linger that extra hour at the campground or at the park where you’ve stopped for lunch. It’s better to travel at a smart pace than push everyone to the edge of their sanity by being relentlessly driven to reach that next destination.