Going on a road trip can be a lot of fun, but you need to prepare for everything. There are things you can do before you leave that will help your road trip go more smoothly. Planning for your road trip when you have kids is more than just packing your suitcase and hopping in your Cadillac. There’s a lot more to consider. You may have to spend more time preparing but with these tips it should help you get ready to have a memorable and fun family road trip.
Pre-Road Trip Tips:
Have your children help plan. Have them look at books or research different parts of your trip. Ask them if they want to do anything special like stop at a roadside attraction or a special restaurant along the way.
Have an idea about where you will need to refuel so you can research the best gas prices.
Make lists for each family member. Check them off and then give the list to another person and have them check it off too. It’s so easy to forget something important like a special pair of shoes if you are going to a wedding.
If you are traveling far away, determine where you want to stop for the night. It’s good to have an idea how much farther to go. Driving until you’re too tired to drive anymore is dangerous and it could be hard to find a hotel to stay in.
If your child is in high school, use this opportunity to check out a college or two. It will give them an idea of the campus and you won’t have to make a special trip.
If your family has allergies or asthma check out the air quality and allergens. Plan to not stop in places that has a high pollen count or poor air quality while you will be traveling.
Pack your own healthy snacks and a cooler for less stops and whining about being hungry.
Make sure all of your identification, registration, and insurance is all up to date. You don’t want to end up pulled over in another state with expired plates or registration.
Bring some printables for activities to do and don’t forget the travel Bingo game cards. You can find all kinds of free activities you can just print at home for free. You can also make custom word puzzles with spelling words, travel things or family members.
Have some cash to take with you. You never know when credit card machines decide not to work. It is also great if the power goes out and you need to pay for something.
Assign different jobs to your kids, have a navigator who is responsible for checking the map and knowing where you are. A Banker who is in charge of what is spent on the road trip. They have to write down the amounts that you spend and keep receipts. They can also keep your budget so you know how much you have left of your “set amount.” A Snack helper who is in charge of passing out snacks and drinks and collecting trash after snacks and meals. You can always set a time limit and rotate as needed.
Bring small flashlights and glow sticks to help your kids while driving in the dark. Just remind them to keep the light pointed down for safety. You can get glow sticks at the dollar store.
Ask your kids to pack their backpacks with zip top bags so it will be easy to keep activities together. It will also be helpful when your child dumps out their backpack all over the back seat. Pack some extra bags for any treasures they find along the way.
Make a food chart. Decide who will pick where you eat on the road if you tell your kids ahead of time it will cut down on arguing about whose turn it is to pick. Drawing names is probably the fairest way to go.