Beautiful sights, yummy food, a sense of adventure… Family road trips have long been a great American tradition. According to a survey(https://newsroom.aaa.com/2021/06/aaa-more-than-47m-americans-to-celebrate-with-an-independence-day-getaway//) conducted by AAA, nearly 47 million families took nation roadways and skies on July 4th alone this year. Those are staggering numbers, especially considering we have an ongoing pandemic. Approximately 53% of them packed up the family car for a road trip and rightfully so. Road trips provide a safer alternative for travel during this pandemic. With delta variant still rampant, we see more families opting for road trips this fall and winter.
If planned properly, road trips are a great cost-effective alternative to expensive airline journeys. Road trips are also a great way to build those family memories. On the other hand, without proper planning and care, a road trip can turn into an “Are we there yet?” nightmare. To help with your next great family road trip, LifeMomma has curated a list of 15 amazing tips for you to prepare for a family road trip.
Tip 1: Pack only the essentials
Avoid filling your car to the brim. An over-packed car can lead to a poor driving experience and poor rear view visibility. Unless you are driving to a remote location, going camping or on a beach trip, use a proper packing strategy to carry only the bare essentials.
Tip 2: Essentials are easily accessible
Pack all the essentials - phone chargers, kids smart devices, blankets (highly recommend this heated car blanket) - in a separate bag and make sure it is easily accessible while driving. Load the trunk in such a way as to ensure essentials are easily accessible from the trunk.
Tip 3: Multi device car chargers
Keep chargers for all your electronics handy while driving. It is a good idea to carry a multi-device fast charger
Tip 4: Snack & water
Carry enough healthy snacks and water for the trip.
Tip 5: Road trip car tools & essentials
Make sure your car is stocked according to the required list of packing essentials to protect against potential flat tires, accidents, or even something as simple as motion sickness.
Tip 6: Plan your travel start time
Avoid holiday traffic as much as possible. The afternoon before a holiday and the Sunday after is usually the worst time to travel. If you absolutely must travel during holidays or long weekends, try to hit the road at night after 9 pm or early morning before 6 am. According to a new report by Google Maps, the best time to drive before Thanksgiving is Wednesday at 2 am and after Thanksgiving is Friday at 3 am. During regular days, avoid commuter traffic or routes.
Tip 7: Map out your route
Map your en route options for gas and food. Some towns have better restaurants and cleaner restroom options than others. Do plan beforehand to break down the trip as preplanned pit stops.
Tip 8: Plan for poor network & connectivity
Be prepared for encountering areas with poor connectivity during the trip. Download your trip map locally on your phone for offline access. Also download your favorite Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney shows to your phone for local access.
Tip 9: Insurance & roadside assistance
Ensure all drivers are covered by proper automotive insurance. If you are not currently insured, you can search for the right policy and find quotes here. Have peace of mind with roadside assistance through your insurance or AAA service.
Tip 10: Avoid driver fatigue
Take regular breaks – ideally, every 2 hours. If possible, share driving responsibilities equally with others. Try not to drive for more than 8 hours a day. Get a good night’s sleep before the road trip.
Tip 11: Avoid distractions
The front passenger should be in charge of changing music, looking up directions, and adjusting volume and temperature control. The driver’s eyes should only be on the road.
Tip 12: Be patient
Even with enough planning, things can go wrong. Pack some patience and enjoy the trip.
Tip 13: Kids schedule
Your kids’ schedule should be at the center of your road trip plans. It is easier to be on the road for a long period when the kids are asleep because you can cover the most distance without taking breaks during this time. Picking locations where you can eat, refuel, and take toilet breaks in advance will help you avoid frequent stops and will also allow you to give specific time estimates to the kids.
Tip 14: Kids entertainment
No matter how many shows you load on your devices, kids will experience boredom after a few hours. Get creative. Let them pack a treasure bin. Tell them to fill it with whatever they want for the trip, like coloring books, crayons, stickers, and books. Five below usually has some great options for things you can carry on a trip.
Tip 15: Kids comfort
Equip your car with sunscreen protection, place throws for each seat, carry your kids’ favorite snug toy, and dress them in comfortable clothes.