Everyone goes on a road trip on occasion, from family outings to the collegiate quests, the road trip is something that is ingrained in our vernacular and in our culture. Movies such as National Lampoon’s Family Vacation and Little Miss Sunshine spread humor about the plentiful misadventures that can arise out of these situations. What I know I can offer is to shed some understanding on this: road trips can be extremely painful; riddled with paternal issues that children may not have noticed and yet healing when the issues are taken care of and resolved. When one resolves these issues, it definitely leads to a stronger and healthier family. Here are a few tips for older families that are about to go on road trips.
1, Acquaint yourself with the technology that can best benefit you. Learning how to use GPS and using the technology that is in cell phones can provide a great advantage to the learning the locale and figuring out where you are. Downside: Make sure that there has been adequate practice with the technology and if needed, make one person from your family the designated navigator when operating the GPS.
2. Keep the lines of communication open. This rings true, when one practices open communication it leads to better conflict management strategies, even better resolving the tension and releasing blame. Having an open line of communication also sets clear boundaries.
3. Do not scapegoat anyone. A great example would be from my own experience, my mother had been late for almost every single stop througout the trip and when we were at the destination, I was blamed for having a mean attitude and rude behavior. When scapegoating happens, it focuses on a single person what may have went wrong during the trip that the person had nothing to do with. It also creates tension and more conflict. Avoid this method of escaping, and take responsiblity for actions taken.
4. Have an itinarary planned. Also from out of experience, it is better to have everyone understand that there are certain places that are going to be stops. This is a clear no-brainer, and can also be dropped because of the improvisation of the stops (bathroom, eating stops are OK to be improved…sight-seeing ought to be decided upon).
5. Have clear boundaries set. This should go alongside having open lines of communication, but I wanted to further develop it here. Having clear boundaries set amongst the entire group allows for understanding when certain events are and where everybody is supposed to be at certain times. It also keeps everybody in check. The parents are still parents, and should have that authority.
6. Maintain respect. Everybody is an adult, and so should be treated as such. It was so odd that when I was amongst other family members that I received (and gave) so much respect to those who did the same back. Children, it is okay to be silly but don’t cross the line. Parents, it’s okay to have fun and let loose. However the bottom line is to respect each other. If respect is lost throughout the trip, then it will be disastrous.
7. Have fun. The ever-so cliche last tip is remarkably true. The goal of going on a road trip is to have fun being on the road and getting to your location. It’s an adventure, a quest. So treat it like one.
Yes, roadtrips can be frustrating and anger-inducing at times. However, sit down and relax, think about these seven things and reevaluate your frustration. Handle it well, and the fun will never stop.