Get the Most out of Family Road Trips
Planning any road trip can be simple and enjoyable.
There is no better way to take advantage of the heat, sunshine, and longer days than taking a road trip with the ones you love the most. That is of course your family! Don't worry these tips will help you from feeling too overwhelmed while in the cramped confines of your family vehicle and answering the proverbial question of, "Are we there yet?" With a little planning any road trip can be simple and enjoyable! Leaving you and your family with more time in the outdoors, at the resort, or even at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
Make a List
Start Early and make a list. None of this should be done last minute or haphazardly. It is definitely a great idea to make a list a few days before leaving. That way if needed you can stop by the store to pick up any must have items. It also gives you time to think about what you will need and what you ultimately will not need for this trip. Additionally consider what kind of road trip you are about to embark on. Is this a multi-day car camping trip? Or just a very long drive to see a relative? Both are very different and should be planned for accordingly.
Have Refreshments and Distractions
Food and drinks go a long way towards making people feel comfortable and satisfied, which usually results in less fighting. Especially when cramped into a small space together. Get a cooler and pack it with some delicious snacks. Whether or not they are healthy is up to you! Be sure to put the cooler in an easily accessible spot so everybody can enjoy what they like without the need to pull over the car. Another great idea to minimize stress is to have toys, games, and electronics available to keep the little ones busy. Noise canceling headphones or ear plugs are a good idea for the bigger ones who just want to be left alone.
Nothing feels worse than a cramped car. The more people there are, the more stuff needs to come along for the ride. That is why it is a good idea to look into other storage options. Pulling a trailer is one idea, but they can be hard to maneuver and not every vehicle can tow one. The best idea is universal roof rack cross bars with a pod attached to it so most of the non-essentials and things you won't be getting into at stops and breaks is on the roof of the car. This is especially great for clothing, footwear, and most toiletries. Regardless of the avenue the best advice is to modularize everything. Make little bags or containers that carry like products with like purposes. This makes things easier to find and to organize in the long run.
Almost more important than anything at all is to be prepared for roadside emergencies. This means you should always have a roadside kit and /or an emergency service like AAA or OnStar at the ready. Along with those you should also plan to have some water, food, and extra clothing for every member of your party. This is especially important if you are leaving the populated areas to the National Parks or in search of some true solitude in forests and other wilderness places. Know where you are headed, check the weather, inform others of your intentions, and be prepared for anything.
Maps and Atlas
Sure, we now have super computers just sitting in our pockets at all times. Why do we need a map? Well you just never know. There are still places in the world where there is no WIFI and no cell service. Good old fashioned paper never needs to be charged and never needs a signal. On the plus side they are fun to look at and usually have awesome facts about nature or the states or cities you could be headed through. With a map in hand the Earth can be just one giant museum for yourself and the children!
Don't Over Pack
This cannot be stressed enough. Do not pack or bring anything that will not be useful. That's where tip one, making a list comes in handy. Not only does a cramped car not feel comfortable but it is also unsafe and reduces the cars gas mileage.
Whether to enjoy the scenic views or just to stretch your legs plan to stop often. It is a great way to get out of the car, get you blood flowing, and wake yourself up. Plan to add several hours onto what the maps are telling you and just enjoy the adventure with your family. Make sure to make tons of memories and soak up the views as much as you can. Road tripping is the traditional American vacation.