Thinking of hitting the open road with your family? It’s a popular choice. A 2017 survey by the AAA found that a family road trip was the top vacation idea, with 79% of families surveyed planning one. To make your journey as stress-free and fun as possible, get prepared ahead of time and involve the kids too, whatever their age. It’s a great way to give them a little responsibility and get them engaged in the trip. Family road trips can build great memories; the key is in the planning.
Plan the essentials before you go
Start by planning the route. You might like to do it the good old-fashioned way with a map, or you might like to use one of the many online road trip planning tools. Younger kids might enjoy using colored pens to mark the journey on a map with you. For older kids and teens, put them in charge of looking up places you’ll be stopping at on the way. You should also ensure that your vehicle is up to the task; now’s a good time for those maintenance checks. If you’ve been meaning to look up deals and incentives on cars, now’s the time to do it. For a stress-free departure from home, it’s worth agreeing on upfront how much stuff you’re going to take and whether it can all fit in the car. Trying to jam it all in on the day is never a good plan.
Enjoy your time on the road
Long journeys are generally a lot easier these days with kids plugged into tablets (a recent study showed that 42% of kids have their own), music or games consoles. However, if you want to encourage a bit of fun together, the old-fashioned games still work; spotting cars of particular colors or models, i-Spy, or Road Trip Bingo are all good fun. Another way to enjoy each other’s company is to all contribute a few tracks to a road trip playlist. As this Penn State University article examines, music can evoke memories years later, so the tracks you listen to on this trip might bring a smile to you and your kids’ faces in thirty years time. Of course, the final crucial element to your trip will be the snacks! You might like to hand these out as you go along, or save them for your stops.
A family road trip can be a great opportunity to switch off from everyday life, reconnect with each other and explore somewhere new together. Planning your journey to accommodate places of interest and regular stops, while adding in music and games to have a little fun, should make the drive less stressful and actually enjoyable. Start dreaming about where you might go next, and get ready for miles of smiles.