Road trips as a family can be great adventures for parents and children alike. It gives everyone a chance to explore and see new sights which can be educational or fun. It can also be a very formative learning experience for the whole family, who will ultimately have to deal with a few trials and tribulations along the way. As a family unit, bonds are strengthened by time spent together and new experiences shared, so road trips are a perfect family trip. But it’s not all smooth sailing - the idea that you can just jump in your car and drive couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are the many important considerations that should be made during the planning stages.
Where are you going
Do you want to fly somewhere and hire a car or an RV and explore a whole new area of the country, or even the world? Or would you like to start from home and just drive? It’s better to know if you’ve got an end goal or cities and sites you want to hit on your journey so that you’re using your traveling time as efficiently as possible. Start with a region, and then a list of places you’d like to visit, and then try to plot a route among as many of them as possible, taking into consideration drive times, rest stops and overnight stops.
Where will you sleep?
Do you want to go in an RV so you can pull up and sleep whenever and wherever takes you fancy? An RV is great for flexibility, and for keeping costs of food and accommodation down. But it can take longer to get going every morning when everything needs packing and securing again. If you’d rather stay in a motel, are you going to book motels before you travel, so you have an end-point for each day, or will you find motels as you go? Bear in mind that, while the flexibility is nice, tensions can ride high when you aren’t sure where you’ll sleep after a long day on the road.
Do you have breakdown cover?
When you rely wholly on the vehicle you’re driving, you need to be sure that you are covered if anything goes wrong. If you’re in a car, does your usual breakdown insurance cover out-of-state breakdowns? If you’re taking a more specialized vehicle such as an RV, it’s important that you keep the numbers of local mobile RV repair companies to hand, in case anything goes wrong.
Pack absolutely everything
Water - and lots of it, snacks, maps, emergency contacts, and an emergency toolkit are an absolute must for anyone undertaking a road trip. If you break down, you could be waiting hours for help. A portable cell phone charger is helpful too. Also, consider what entertainment you require for the children on your trip - is it just going to be books and music, or will you be using a laptop for movies too? How will you power the laptop? Remember blankets, pillows, teddies, and anything else that people might need to get comfortable when you’re spending long periods in the car.
Remember, careful planning is the key to a family road trip, and then it’s all adventures from there on.
This is a collaborative post written by a contributing writer.