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Traveling with family can be a double-edged sword: It’s wonderful to create lasting memories while you’re on the road, however, it can be tough to balance everyone’s needs when you consider age and generational differences. I decided to pack up my mom and teenage son for a five-hour trek to Bentonville, Arkansas. Both the foodie and art scenes there fascinated me, and I figured there would be plenty to keep the three of us busy. I did wonder, though, Would we have a good time? Would we get on each other’s nerves? While in the end, it was a great trip, I did learn a few lessons along the way.

1. A Long Weekend Was The Way To Go

Taking off work Friday -- and returning Sunday -- was the perfect amount of time to get away with my mom and son. I didn’t want him to miss a lot of school time, and I think my mom was appreciative of the truncated but jam-packed vacation. As much as she loves me and her grandson, I realized hitting the road with your relatives follows the same rule of fish and houseguests: Both start to get stinky after about three days. We certainly didn’t want to irk or annoy each other, and a long weekend was the perfect amount of time to be together and not have that happen.

2. We Took Breaks (A Lot Of Them)

We built plenty of break-time into our road trip, and looking back, this was absolutely the right move. My mom needed to use the bathroom and stretch her legs along the way a bit more than we did; my son got hungry and wanted snacks on a near-constant basis. By taking our time, going with the flow, and not being in a rush to get to Bentonville -- or get home -- we were able to enjoy each other’s company so much more. Our only goal was to get to and from our destination safely, no matter how much time it took. And of course, the conversations we had along the way were priceless!

3. It’s Good To Have Space

When it comes to transportation, and accommodations, even the closest of family members are more comfortable if they’re not right on top of each other. To make the most of the space in the car, we stashed all of our luggage in the back cargo hold, and only brought the light essentials up in the passenger area with us. As far as our lodging was concerned, we opted for an upgrade and got a suite so everyone could spread out and retreat to their own areas as needed at the end of each day. Having just a smidge of extra room really did make all the difference.

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