The family road trip will never go out of style. Studies show a whopping 76% of families engage in the practice. Of course, not all family road trips are created equal. If you don’t plan for them properly, they can be a tough experience. While taking care of the big stuff like mapping out a budget will go a long way into helping make life on the road easier, there are a few other essential things you should prepare for to make sure your next family excursion produces happy memories.
Do a Car Check
It’s important to make sure your car can handle a road trip before your next adventure. Take the time to check the essential stuff, like fluid levels. If you’re close to being due for an oil change, get that taken care of before you go. Don’t slack off on this step – few things are worse than a car that suddenly sputters out a hundred miles from home.
Keep the Kids Happy
It’s never been easier to travel with kids thanks to smartphones and mobile devices, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be total angels. You can minimize their grumpiness by packing snacks in an easily accessible cooler. Make sure the cooler contains a blend of healthy items, drinks, and treats. Also, make sure you’re the only one that can access the goods.
You should also make sure you have phone or device chargers and their associated cords at the ready. Your kids will probably eat up their devices’ batteries very quickly; making sure they can replenish their “juice” will make everyone happy. That said, don’t be afraid to tell them to turn off their phones and to snuggle down and relax while looking out the window. They’ll probably see something cool if they do.
Be Prepared to be Flexible
While it’s important to map out an agenda of things to do before you hit the road, it’s just as key to remain as flexible as possible when you’re mobile. You will encounter unexpected bumps in your agenda, and not just with the proverbial traffic jam. For example, the quick roadside lunch may not be as quick as you’d hoped, or you may end up spending much more time at a museum than you anticipated. Be prepared to let a few of your plans go by the wayside. This will give you peace of mind that will make the overall trip better.
As you go on your road trip, it’s also important to remember that you’re doing this not only to get away. You’re hitting the road to create lasting memories with your family; memories that you’ll hopefully be able to recall fondly for decades. In a way, these memories are even better than the road trip itself.