How Teens Can Survive the Backseat on a Family Road Trip

Many a teenager looks forward for months to the freedom that a vacation from school brings. A break from school means time to hang out with friends, or just watch television and eat pizza. Unfortunately, when a break from school for the young people in the house coincides with a break from work for Mom and Dad, the result is often a family road trip, which means that your expected week of pizza on the couch can turn into a take-no-prisoners battle to survive the backseat. Luckily, if you plan ahead, you can survive the backseat on your next family road trip with a minimum of suffering. In fact, with the right attitude and some easy preparation, you might do more than survive the backseat: you could even enjoy it.

Spending a lot of time with the people we love can be one of life’s greatest pleasures, but even the most peaceful family will start snapping at each other if nobody has any time or space to themselves. One of the most stressful aspects of a family road trip is the lack of privacy. Even if you make it through a day on the road without any tension, once you are finally out of the car you will probably end up sharing a hotel room with at least a sibling, or possibly your whole clan, and as the hours go by without a break from each other, things might start to get a little bit intense. If you are heading out for a few weeks of togetherness in a small space, finding tactics to occasionally tune your family out so that you can enjoy a little bit of solitude is the best thing you can do. Luckily, there are a lot of ways that you can create a mental oasis in the midst of your family road trip.

The easiest thing that you can do to survive the backseat is to bring your own portable music player and headphones on your family road trip. Blocking out what is going on around you for even just ten or fifteen minutes while you listen to your top five favorite tracks can leave you feeling refreshed and calm. Use your ipod or walkman judiciously on your family road trip, as spending too much time on your headphones can lead to feelings of isolation, or can cause your siblings or parents to feel unloved or underappreciated, thereby creating more tension in the long run. Music can help you survive the backseat by giving you an easy, convenient way to escape stress.

It can be difficult to keep in touch with your friends while you are on a family road trip, but getting perspective on your situation from somebody outside of the car can be one of the best things you can do to survive the backseat. Regularly talking about the stresses of your family road trip with a friend back home can help you see how some of the things that really get your goat might be less important than they seem in the heat of the moment. In fact, once you try to explain them to somebody who doesn’t know your family well, some of the causes of tension or bickering on a family road trip can seem downright laughable. Even if you can’t spend a lot of time on the telephone during your trip, keeping in touch with an occasional call or email can help you feel much more equipped to survive the backseat.

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