A road trip is a fantastic way to spend time with the family. It does not matter what kind of a family situation it is (whether you are a single dad, married, something in between), there is a lot of fun to be had on a road trip, especially if you live in a part of the country where there are gorgeous sights to see.
That being said, a road trip can also be a grueling experience that will not only take its toll on your energy levels, but also on your nerves. It is not that uncommon to see dads finding a quiet corner of a gas station, cursing all the gods they can name, asking themselves why they thought a road trip would be a good idea.
The good news is that you can avoid this. You do not have to be one of those dads who start off on a road trip with a full head of jet-black hair only to return with a few white patches around the ears.
Security Equals Sanity and Vice Versa
Before anything else, you will want to know that you have started off on your road trip with a car that is running as smoothly as possible. You really cannot afford to think about whether your rear brakes will be able to take a particularly steep descent when you already have three children screaming in your ear. Of course, you would also have to be totally insane not to check on your car before heading out. This is your family we are talking about. If you have the know-how and the tools, you can do the checkup yourself, but if you really want to be 100% (and you want to), it is best to visit the local garage.
Do your Research
While heading out without any semblance of a plan could end up being the greatest adventure you and your family have ever had, it is probably best to actually plan ahead and find at least a few places that you will want to visit. Depending on how long your road trip is going to be, you can explore your options and find a few places that you know your kids will like. Think of it this way: typewriter museum – bad; the most insane theme park in the tristate area – good.
If you have kids that are close to driving age, your road trip might be a good time to introduce them to some advanced, road-trip-grade driving concepts and teach them a few lessons. If you yourself are not too good with cars and everything that has to do with them, consult a few blogs beforehand, just so you have at least some answers. For instance, if you want to learn about repairs, you can check out this blog. This is a blog where you can find out about tires and this is a blog where you can learn stuff that have to do with girls and cars, in case you have daughters.
Also, if you happen to be one of those “mostly-absent” dads, you might do your research with your wife, finding out what your children have been into these last few years. This is joke advice, of course.
Don’t be a Master Scheduler
There is nothing that can ruin a road trip as much as a dad who turns into a scheduling monster, getting up at 4 a.m. every day waking his family by playing reveille on his road trip trumpet. We have all had experiences with this kind of man – the “we have to cover 358 miles today and not a mile fewer” type of man. Children (and the wife) get tired of this very quickly and you will only make them hate you and make your road trip living hell just to get back at you.
Always keep in mind that your road trip is supposed to be a fun thing, something that your family will look back on with a huge smile on their face. If someone is taking a bit more to pack, do not get all sergeant-y. Also, do not forget to play some road trip games while driving. We are not saying you should drive with your knees or anything, but you should not be the silent chauffeur either.
Above everything else, if you want to return home a sane man from a road trip, you will need to be as Zen as humanly possible. Road trips are notorious for their ability to go wrong, in more ways than you can imagine. Exits will be missed, attractions will be closed, children will get annoying, sandwiches will be described as disgusting, cars will be jumping lanes without turn signals being used, etc.
You must not lose your cool.
It can be achieved.
It may be difficult, but it can be achieved.