Road trips have always been a big deal in America. According to Sunset, more than 90% of Outdoorsy survey respondents said they plan to take a road trip this year. Some of those respondents will undoubtedly be traveling with their families. This can be a daunting prospect if you’re a first-timer or you simply haven’t mastered the art of planning and surviving a long trip in a car with your significant other, children, luggage and more. Find out how to make the most of your 4-wheel family adventure below.
Plan Well In Advance
There’s a good chance your family road trip will hit a speedbump or two if you leave planning to the last minute. Leave vague ideas for trips to the neighborhood park. According to Outside Online, planning your route should be part of your preparation. Use the recommended Google maps route if your goal is to reach your destination in the shortest time possible. It’s worth remembering that, when it comes to road trips with the family, the journey is part of the experience. No one’s likely to enjoy spending 20 hours on a soulless expressway filled with 18-wheelers, so consider taking scenic routes and backroads for a more enjoyable trip.
Your planning should include making sure you know exactly what you need to take with you, as there’s no turning back. This includes food (think tasty and nutritious snacks rather than junk food), clothing, medical supplies, and entertainment for the kids.
Get Your Vehicle Serviced
A vehicle breakdown on a family road trip is not something you want to encounter. If you want to reduce the chance of this, it’s best to get your car serviced before you set off. Mommybites recommends that the service should include, among other things, changing the oil, checking the tire pressure, and checking the AC filter. You should also ensure that you have everything you need to change a tire.
According to Investopedia, the national average cost of towing a car is $109, but the actual cost depends on the towing distance. With that in mind, you might want to consider getting a roadside assistance plan just in case your car lets you down.
Keep The Kids Happy
The single greatest challenge on any family road trip is keeping your kids entertained enough to prevent them from getting bored and restless. This requires a flexible, multi-faceted approach. Backroad Ramblers offers a few helpful tips on how to do this. In addition to downloading games, movies and audiobooks onto a laptop or tablet for your children (and agreeing on screen time), you can play car games. Put together a collection of car-friendly options such as travel editions of Scrabble and Battleship, as well as Uno, Mad Libs, and Bingo. You can also add coloring books or drawing pads and crayons to the box.
Another way to entertain your children while involving them in the family road trip is by letting them choose the stops. Give them a map of the route and let them pick places they’d like to see. If you need to make any stops in between their chosen locations, try to choose scenic rest stops and parks. Apart from being far more exciting than gas station forecourts, they offer opportunities for the kids to stretch their legs, get some exercise, and burn off some energy.
Follow these basic tips to make family road trips fun and memorable. Happy and safe traveling!