Going on a road trip with your family is one of the most memorable adventures you can organise for them. Spending time together while cruising from one place to another has every chance of creating unforgettable memories for everyone involved, especially your kids. Still, a road trip has to be well prepared and thought through if you wish to prevent it from turning into a nightmare.
The preparation includes much more than just packing everything you need and deciding on the route. Luckily, so many parents are willing to share their experience with family road-trips that we can now safely say that the following tips are the most important ones. So, let’s take a look at them.
Start preparing early enough
Once you’ve decided on the dates for your road trip and selected the destination, it’s time to start preparing. A road trip requires more time to get ready for, so don’t leave everything for the last minute. Instead, dust off your suitcases at least a few days before the trip and start packing in advance. Add items whenever you have a free moment. This is a great tip, since you may easily realize that your suitcase is either too small or too big for the stuff you’re planning to pack. Also, make sure you finish packing the day before the trip, so that you can pack your luggage into the vehicle and check if you have enough space.
Make a checklist
There is a reason why checklists will never become obsolete. Your checklist should be comprehensive, but also well-organised. Divide the activities into sections, such as “packing”, “organising” and “things to do”. You can use one of many apps that help you stay organised, but make sure you include all tasks.
Food and beverages
The fact you’ll be spending a lot of time in your vehicle means you’ll likely to be hungry and thirsty while driving, not to mention your kids who’ll probably start eating as soon as you leave your hometown. When it comes to food and beverages, make sure you always have enough water with you and some snacks that don’t have to be kept in the fridge. Use the opportunity to replenish your stocks each time you stop close to a store.
Make sure your vehicle is ready
Much of your experience will depend on how reliable and comfortable your vehicle is. Bear in mind that you’ll be driving for hours (almost) each day and that both the driver and passengers need to be as comfortable as possible. If your vehicle is not big enough, the road trip can really be spoiled easily. Even more important is the safety and efficiency aspect. Visit your mechanic before the trip to check if everything is ok and that your car is ready. Also, consider installing fuel efficient tyres; that will definitely pay off if you’re planning on covering longer distances.
Apart from a first-aid kit, which is absolutely necessary, you should also pack some other items that might be useful in case of an emergency. For example, if you’re travelling in the winter, have a blanket or two in the cabin, in case you get stuck. Also, a candle is a great idea, since you might need to wait in the car and you can increase the temperature by a few degrees with just one candle, instead of keeping your engine running. Toilet paper should also be on the list, as well as wet wipes and hand sanitizer.
Carefully plan stopovers
You need to take into account several factors when estimating your times of departure and arrival. You may hit a traffic jam or some road congestions, making it impossible to reach your destination at the planned time. It’s always better to travel during off-peak hours, but make sure you have a traffic app in case you need to seek alternative routes. Needless to say, make sure your phone or GPS are charged and don’t forget to pack chargers and cables.
Make the most of pit-stops
Plan your trip so that you get as much as possible from the journey itself. Your final destination doesn’t need to be the only reason why you’ve decided to go on a road trip. It’s important to take into account the wishes of your family members and try to make everyone happy. You know how easily kids get bored? Well, if they know they are about to visit a place they find interesting soon, they’ll be more likely to behave in the car.
Entertainment for kids
It’s rarely easy to entertain kids on long trips and you need to be aware of that and let them choose the entertainment they want. Allow them to listen to the music (with their headphones, of course), read or bring some board-games that you’ll all be able to enjoy before hitting the sack. The key is to have a mixture of toys and games that can be played together or independently. Still, no matter how many toys and games you pack, your kid may still be bored and that is understandable. Travelling is not everyone’s cup of tea, so be tolerant and understanding. Though the choice of the destination and route is entirely up to you and your family, there are some things you need to take care of regardless of your decision. If you get them right, you’ll have every chance of creating special memories for everyone involved in the trip. Godspeed!