If you’re looking for ideas for your next family vacation, a family road trip could be the perfect option. Whether or not you have experience with long car rides with the kids, driving can be a great way to explore a new place and save money on your trip. These top 5 tips for planning a family road trip will help you make the most of your time on the road with the kids.
5 Tips for Planning a Family Road Trip
1. Choosing your destination. Driving doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stay close to home. If you want to go further, consider staying over a few nights at a time in different towns. This will give you all a break from traveling and also gives you the opportunity to discover lots of new places.
Research your chosen destination before you go. Find out what’s there for the kids to do, and, if you’re trying to stick to a tight budget, take a look online at restaurant and hotel prices in the area. Areas that attract a lot of tourists will generally be more expensive, so look out for small towns where there’ll be less hustle and bustle and more locally owned businesses.
2. Plan your route. Although an impromptu and unplanned road trip might have been exciting in your teenage years, it’s not such a great idea when you’ve got the kids in tow! You’ll want to spend as little time in the car as possible so make sure you plan and structure your route.
Invest in a GPS and work out how long each leg of your journey should take you. Of course, it’s impossible to plan down to every hour, but having a rough idea of how long you’re going to be on the road for will be very useful when it comes to scheduling in lunch breaks and pitstops.
3. Stretch your legs regularly. Having breaks from driving is important for both you and the kids. It not only gives the driver a chance to rest, it gives the kids the opportunity to burn off some of that excess energy. The last thing you want is restless, bouncing kids in the back who’ll be awake well past bedtime.
Find some pitstop areas on your route (preferably where the kids can run around), and make sure you stop at least once every couple of hours. it will probably have to be more, though, when you take toilet stops into consideration, so factor this is when planning your schedule.
4. Limit the sugar. Sitting in the car for long periods of time isn’t easy for anyone, but when it comes to kids who’ve been snacking on sugary treats, it’s virtually impossible. You don’t need to write off the sweet treats completely, but ration them wisely.
You could pack them each a little goodie bag with their favorite sweets in and reward them with a couple for good backseat behaviors. It’s a good idea to only let them eat sugary treats just before you stop off for a break, as this will give them a chance to burn the extra energy off.
5. Don’t forget the camera! It’s the simplest but, perhaps, most important tip. Make sure you pack your camera! Family road trips are the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together and you’re bound to make some very special memories.
So, take plenty of photos, drive safely, and enjoy your trip!