UNITED STATES—With the summer season upon us; it’s time for a road trip! Road trips are family traditions for many of us, some can be loads of fun, but others can be disasters. I’ll argue with any road trip the planning begins months in advance. Very rarely does a road trip just happen on the fly. Why is that? Well when you have kids it’s not as simple as one would hope for things to be.

The age of the child makes a big difference. If you’re taking a newborn, which is rare, they’ll probably sleep through the entire ride; if you’re dealing with kids between the ages of 3-6 you might encounter lots of cries and rambunctious behavior. Trust me; a 3-year-old might be more trouble than kids between the ages of 7-10.

The younger the child the more inquisitive they become. They’ll want something to snack on, they’ll want something to eat, they have to use the bathroom, and the car seat is uncomfortable or even worse they’ll ask a million times, “Are we there yet?”

That is a question that can be quite annoying; I now feel the pain that I projected onto my parents. When it comes to that long road trip, anything that results in more than 8 hours in the car, think of things that can keep the kiddies occupied. A tablet, coloring books, toys, video devices can all keep them occupied so that you’re able to focus on the road. Having to turn around to warn the kids and passengers to behave could turn badly.

Make sure that you pack all the essentials. The thing about traveling is we ALWAYS forget things! No matter how much preparation goes into planning the trip of the lifetime, something slips the mind. How can you prevent this? Make a list. On that list be sure to cross off all the times that you have. Some things are minor and can be picked up along the way, somethings like medicine, not so much.

Plan for stops along the way. The driver will inevitably need to get out and stretch after so many hours. Of course, the primary reason for stopping is that you will have to use the restroom. Try to have everyone use the bathroom before getting on the road. It’s also imperative to limit the amount of fluids you allow children to drink while on the road.

Bring a cooler. Why? Well you can pack fluids and snacks to cut the costs that may be sent buying food on the road. Yes, we all love that stop at the gas station where we load up on goodies, but why bother if you don’t have to do so. Plus, you can save a ton of money by planning ahead.

Music is a must. Everyone has a different taste when it comes to the musical arena, with that being said I would argue that bringing your own iPod, iPad, tablet, whatever device you use to store your music is key to having a good time. The last thing you want to have happen is to be stuck in a car for hours listening to music that you may not be too fond of.

Now that we have discussed the dos and the don’ts of a road trip, the crucial thing to remember is that it’s all about FAMILY! The goal is to mingle and have good times with the people that you love. Of course, a few bickers or fights might occur between relatives, but try to keep things to a minimum if at all possible.