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As a child, I have fond memories of family road trips.
As a mother myself, I know that road trips with tiny humans can be challenging, but also fun. Our family took a long road trip last summer and it was easily the most fun we’ve had in a long time. Spanning 2 countries, 14 states, 18 days, and traveling via 5 modes of transport, there were many lessons learned and countless memories made. Read about my Road Trip Tips to help make your time on the road a success.
One thing that we made absolute certain of before our road trip was that our carseats were installed correctly. With such precious cargo to transport, this was arguably our biggest concern and definitely our most important. We’ve been parents for almost a decade, but that doesn’t stop us from triple checking and cars.com was the perfect place to do just that. Other things to assess before mile marker one are:
- Vehicle Maintenance: Just as we take our children in for yearly well-child exams, your vehicle should be checked over before relying on it to drive you across the country.
- Oil Change: Is it time for an oil change? Will you be due for an oil trip mid-road trip? Make sure to know when you can expect to schedule a stop.
- Spare Tire: Nothing would be worse than a flat tire off the side of a less traveled road in the middle of the night. Save yourself – and your family – the torture by ensuring you are ready for the “just incase” bummers that might come up.
MAKE A PLAN
Whether you are relying on a printed map or your phone’s GPS, make sure you have some general plans outlined. Things to consider are whether you will be bunking with friends during your trip, stopping for hotel stays, or camping to catch up on sleep. Where as some need to have very second of their itinerary booked months in advance, others would prefer a more loose agenda. Whatever your style, it is best to have at least an outline of an idea.
FLEXIBILITY = FUN
Just as it is important to have a general outline of a plan, the ability to be flexible is just as crucial. You never know when a fun roadside stop will be the best memory of your entire trip. From roadside eateries to small town shops, fudge stores to picturesque scenery stops, take advantage of signs that alert you of a fun stop ahead. You’ll never regret an unforgettable stop.
Have you set aside a limited amount of cash to spend on your road trip, or is the sky the limit? If budget is important to your family road trip, be sure to plan accordingly to make smart stops along the way. Stopping for convenience food and snacks along the way will add up quickly. On the other hand, a cooler full of food with substance can lead to a fun filled picnic in a beautiful location.
MAKE IT FUN FOR KIDS
One of my favorite parts of our family road trip was planning for special surprises for the kids. It didn’t take as much work as you might think. The Dollar Store and the Target dollar section were both great spots to stock up on treats that we wouldn’t normally purchase. For an extra element of surprise, I also pre-wrapped small items and had a box full of “Travel Treasures” for the kids to open up at periodic stops and destinations. Some packages had questions written on the outside that they had to answer first, while others were just tossed back and the ripping began. Items to include are:
- Coloring Sets, like this one including a case and paper.
- Maze and puzzle books, ranging from preschool to school aged options, and beyond
- Highlights Hidden Pictures magazines
- Ring Pops and other candies
Are you thinking about a road trip? If so, where would you go? Comment below telling me WHERE you would go and WHO you would bring with you. When the time comes for your next road trip, be sure to stop by Cars.com to check out a variety of tips, tricks, and safety checks.