Traveling with Kids

Traveling With the Kids Can Be a Mixed Blessing

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By Dixie Brunner

The family vacation is a part of the American dream. You work hard all year to earn one, but it’s often a mixed blessing!

Traveling with Kids : Kanab, Utah Area Guide :

Burn off some of that excess energy when traveling. Photo by Steve Williams.

Vacations are meant to be low-stress and relaxing. Anyone spending 24/7 with their kids, or spouse for that matter, know there’s little relaxation involved. Basically, you’re shut in a small, metal cylinder with people you don’t normally spend that much time with. You’re strangers!

The first days present an awkward, get-reacquainted period.


“So Bryan,” dad says to son in back seat.”How do you like middle school?”

“What dad? I can’t hear you,” responds kid with iPod earbuds on. “I’m listening to my music.”

“I said,” dad shouts, “how do you like middle school?”

“It was fine, dad. But I’m a sophomore in high school now.”


Another problem with younger children – their plumbing works overtime! Akin to Pavlov’s dogs, kids placed in a vehicle, instead of salivating, must use the restroom. Keys in the ignition provide a bladder trigger.

“I’ve gotta go potty,” child whines.

“You just went five miles ago.”

“But I have to.”

“Hold it.”

“I’m going to have an accident if you don’t stop.”

Show me a parent who can call their bluff, and I’ll show you one with more fortitude than I possess!


My husband and I raised four sons. Our long-standing feud was who drove and who was car sheriff. Rough terrain and hairpin curves are nothing compared to keeping law and order in the family vacation vehicle!

“Mom, Jeremy’s looking mean at me,” says youngest son Cody.

“Don’t look at him Jeremy,” I chastise.

“He’s on my half of the seat,” defends oldest son.

“Stay on your own side,” I lecture in monotone.

Space is key to maintaining travel tranquility. Squished together on a cross-country trip tries patience. My husband always packs the car full, and then adds the golf clubs!

“Honey, I think you’ll have to leave the clubs behind this time,” I comment, watching as he packs, crams and shoves an inordinate amount of things into the small travel space.

“No way,” he answers with determination. “Cody, how would you like to ride up on the luggage rack? You’ll be able to see better.”

Most will defend the family vacation. They provide a special time to be with the people you love. It’s a time to make each family member feel loved and needed.

“Mom, we forgot Kyle back at that last gas station,” announces brother Rory happily. “Let’s just leave him, he’s been a real jerk.”

Family vacations are what memories are made of.

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