Planning for the road trip of your dreams doesn’t have to be complicated! As the months get warmer and we transition into summer, having a road trip with your family and friends is a great way to get away from your daily responsibilities. There are destinations all over the country that are perfect to travel to on the road. The best road trips are shared with your loved ones, but keep in mind that the most successful ones need careful planning and a few essentials to ensure everyone has a great time. You don’t have to break the bank to buy a lot of products or rent a luxury car to have an amazing road trip. Let’s walk through some key tips to keep in mind to have the road trip of your dreams this year!
Road Trip Essentials
The best road trips all start from having a dream destination and a map of steps to get there. Before you hit the road with your friends, significant other, parents or kids, consider these tips for keeping everyone happy during the long drive:
- Time your drive. Some people swear by leaving early in the morning to beat highway traffic, especially if the drive is over ten hours or so. You could also time your getaway by leaving in the middle of the night. This will help beat any bottlenecks on the road and distractions from your kids as they will likely be asleep. Keeping babies or toddlers occupied for any amount of time isn’t the easiest thing in to do, so get in your miles while they are catching their rest. Make sure you have enough rest and energy yourself before you get on to the road as well. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and if you aren’t feeling alert enough, than make sure you wait until you’re completely ready.
- Have a car partner. If you happen to be driving with your significant other and your kids at the same time, try having one parent in the front and the other in the backseat. This helps your children feel safer and hopefully more peaceful as the other parent takes control of the road. Doing so will also make playing games or simply talking with the kids a lot easier as they will likely have a lot of energy to burn off. Tell your kids more about where you’re going, ask them about what they like and didn’t throughout the trip, and let them express what their feelings are about traveling overall. If the driver in the front needs hydration or some snacks, the adult in the back has free hands to provide what they need to help the driver stay concentrated as well!
- Keep electronics to a limit. Playing movies and app store games are great, but the best road trips provide the perfect opportunity to help your kids learn how to entertain themselves naturally. Most of us who were kids grew up without a smartphone or laptop, so teaching them how to observe the outside environment and play games from their imagination will help develop their creativity dramatically. Many kids will realize that they don’t need to be on their phone at all times and that there’s more to life than just the next video on YouTube. Some parents even keep crafting supplies in the back of the car to keep their kids on their toes. Whether it’s using colored pencils to draw the destination or using paper to make origami, traditional crafts and games are always more fun and bonding than watching hours of Netflix.
- Pre-pack your snacks. The best road trips allow for healthy and mess-free snacks so the car isn’t left feeling like a dumpster. You want to keep your food as simple as possible when you’re stuck on the road for hours on end. Instead of going to a McDonald’s drive-thru or stopping by the gas station, pre-pack Tupperware boxes of fresh fruits, veggies, bread, and other healthy items. Some great examples of healthy road trip essentials include boiled eggs, grapes, apple slices, celery sticks with peanut butter, carrots and hummus, protein bars, and light bagels. While it is very tempting and easy to eat poorly in transit to your destination, avoid the greasy and sugary foods. Eating items with zero nutrition can easily lead to energy highs and lows, which likely leads to crash soon afterward. Stay alert and avoid this at all costs!
- Plan your breaks. It’s wise to make a trip to the bathroom, a scenic rest area, or on route attractions while you drive to your road trip destination. Don’t leave your rest stops to chance in case your kids need an emergency break. Do a little research on your route to find what restaurants have great reviews, what attractions are great for your family, and what towns have interesting events going on. Some of the best road trips include spontaneous museum, state park, food festival, and historic landmark stops. It allows the drivers to also take a much-needed break from the road and keeps the route interesting and enjoyable for everyone. Kids also get the chance to explore new places and use up their energy outside rather than being stuck inside the car. If nothing seems to be a good fit, try stopping by a rest area or playground for at least twenty to thirty minutes halfway through the trip so you can breathe fresh air.
- Stay ready for emergencies. Just to be safe, pack the needed medical supplies in case something happens during the road trip. Make sure you have a kit ready in the car that is stocked with items like extra food, water, supplies for injuries and blankets if you’re driving in the winter. Another great tip from parents who often do road trips is to bring extra trash bags and large Ziploc bags for soiled clothes or trash that is accumulated during the drive. This helps keep the car clean and from smelling while everyone is sitting inside. In the situation of an immediate emergency, have a list of needed contacts like close family or friends, doctors, and local hospitals so help is provided as soon as possible. This information will be crucial in case any car accident happens on the highway in the worst case.
Having The Best Road Trips
The best road trips create amazing experiences and leave lasting memories for everyone who came along. It’s a chance to bond with your loved ones who are usually busy with work, school, and extracurriculars. It’s an opportunity to learn new things about each other and the rest of the world as you explore new places in nature, the city, and wherever your hearts take you. Make sure you are ready for your trip by carefully planning your roadside essentials to pack and the route to arrive safely to your final stop. Being prepared for every possible accident or request from your children will make the drive feel much easier and less overwhelming. In case you’re doing long distance driving and need help on how to stay alert, learn more about what causes distracted driving and possible accidents so you’re kept safe. Taking preventive measures to be a responsible driver will be a great skill for your loved ones to learn from!