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With vacation time in full swing, families everywhere are getting into their cars and hitting the road. While most of the planning goes into where you’re going, we’re looking at how to get you there with your sanity intact.

Here are some of our tried and true methods. Please add your own in our comment section below:

  • Schedule a thoughtful time to hit the road. Instead of leaving after nap time, leave an hour before. It is better to start off with a sleepy child in the car than an energetic and alert one!
  • Thoughtfully choose the toys and activities you bring. Pack a backpack for each kid. Include a pack of crayons, a workbook or a coloring book and activity pages (millions of internet sites would be happy to supply you with those). Include a surprise or two in the backpack – a deck of cards, Matchbox cars etc. Wrapping each surprise adds on extra car-activity for your kids – unwrapping.
  • Keep a supply of small toys and activities with you to hand out during long stretches of driving.
  • Download plenty of books on tape to your iPod. iTunes has a selection with books for kids of all ages.
  • Create playlists with songs your kids love to be played along the way.
  • Baby wipes and hand wipes should be easily accessible. There will always be a spill or two along the way.
  • Put a box of Ziploc sandwich bags in your glove compartment. They are great for doling out snacks throughout the trip.
  • A trip to the public library before you leave gives your kids new books to look at on the way.
  • Bring along your child’s favorite toy. With so many new things in the car and a whole new destination, sometimes they appreciate the familiar.
  • Plan to stop often along the way. With small children in the car, you shouldn’t plan on driving more than two hours without a rest stop. Find someplace with a bit of grass and a bathroom and give yourselves 15 minutes to stretch out before continuing on.