4 Tips You'll Need For a Perfect Family Road Trip - Guest Post by Brigitte Evans
Organizing the whole family to go somewhere, even if it’s just a short trip, can be a real hassle, especially if the kids are still quite small. But if you are planning a road trip where you will be spending the majority of the time in your car, you need to prepare twice as much. Don’t be scared: being in your own vehicle all the time can be an advantage as well, and here’s how to make the most of it.
Plan the meals
When you’re on the road, you don’t just eat when you’re hungry – you eat because you’re bored. But to make sure you aren’t stopping at every gas station you pass and getting junk food or sugary sweets, you need to plan the meals in advance. Firstly, you need to determine how often you want to stop at a restaurant or similar food vendor to eat, and how much you want to bring along. Make sure that everything you are bringing has a long shelf life, and store it in a mobile cooler – preferably one that can be hooked up to your car to stay cold for longer. Pack the things you know your kids love, and try to steer clear of anything that will upset their stomach. To avoid a mess, try to pack mostly dry food, or plan to stop at a park or just somewhere you can get out and eat mess-free. All of your drinks should be in spill-proof containers to avoid accidents.
Plan the route
Sitting in the car for hours on end is boring to kids, and it will probably be boring for you, especially if the route you’re taking isn’t exactly scenic. Plan to stop somewhere at least every three hours – and not at a gas stop. Find parks, small towns, national parks, beaches, woods and other areas that will be fun to see. Stopping to stretch your legs and enjoy your surroundings will make the entire trip more bearable. You also need to plan where you will be sleeping – whether it will be in the car, in a tent or in a hotel – because just hoping that you will run into a family-friendly hotel in the middle of the night and get a fair price isn’t a good strategy. Plan your route in advance, mark all the spots, and keep a map with the plan close while you’re driving.
No matter where you’re driving and who is with you, safety needs to come first. Before you set off, you need to get your car checked out to make sure everything is in perfect order. For example, if you don’t have enough time to go to a shop, you can call a mobile mechanic that will come to your house and service your car there. If you are renting a car for the trip, make sure it is from a reliable service and that you are comfortable driving it. But accidents do happen, so make sure you have a roadside assistance company from the area on speed dial. You should also make sure you have a first aid kit and that there are at least two people in the car trained to give first aid.
To make sure you are all not bored to death while trying to reach your destination, you need to plan entertainment for yourself and your kids well in advance. If your kids don’t get carsick, you have a much easier time because you can bring books, coloring books, a tablet with cartoons, Lego bricks and so many other things that they can play with. However, if your kids get carsick, none of those options are viable. Then you need to get more creative – and more engaged. Play games where they need to name interesting things they see through the window, tell them to shout out when they see a car of a certain color or brand, tell them stories, ask them to tell you how they imagine the location you’re heading to looks and sing songs together.
You want the road trip to be fun for everyone, not exhausting. Explain to your kids in advance that you will be spending a long time in the car, so that they know what to expect, and be prepared for things not to go according to plan – it’s all part of the charm!