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Planning a road trip with family

In a country as vast the United States, going on road trips for a week or two has the makings of an exciting adventure. Come summer, most families hit the road for some much-needed time away from the routine of everyday life and for some quality time together. This summer, before you hit the road, here are a few tips that you can keep in mind when planning your next major road trip.

Planning a roadtrip
"Roadtrip to Portland" by U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Understand your Travel Style

Every person has his or her unique travel style. While mom might want to stop at every boutique store on the way, the kids might rather want to spend their time by playing fun games in the car. Parents might want to take frequent restroom breaks while others might want to zoom and cover the maximum distance by sunset. If you aren’t too fond of somebody’s travel style, it’s better to avoid going on a road trip with him or her. However, if you're travelling with your family, some sticky situations will simply be unavoidable. Talk and plan with your family well in advance and make necessary arrangements.

How to plan a road trip
"before the roadtrip started" by Carissa Rogers is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Plan the Trip

Any road trip is incomplete if you don’t stop at breathtaking, picturesque points along the way. Though you may want to drive over 8 hours and cover as much distance as possible, it might not feel like as much fun in the end. Plan a maximum of 5-6 hours behind the wheel so that you can catch a glimpse of the places worth visiting on your way.

Also, while researching your road route from your starting point to the destination, don’t ALWAYS zero in on the shortest route. You might miss out on places that are worth visiting. Check out American Byways to choose places that you might want to stop at.

Plan Lodging Well in Advance

You will definitely want to hit the sack if you’ve been driving all day. It’s a good idea to make prior reservations especially in places that attract tourists in large numbers. During peak seasons, hotels, motels and campgrounds get crowded sooner than you can imagine. Before you hit the wheels, call up the places and confirm your booking once again to avoid unnecessary and avoidable last-minute goof ups. Last but not the least - never forget to carry a copy of your reservation confirmation as a proof of your booking.

Create a suitable budget

If you plan your budget judiciously before your trip, you’ll be able to accommodate almost every destination of your choice. After you have calculated the fuel expenses, sit down to find out the balance remaining from your budget. Look up the internet to find lodgings for you and your family that suit your budget. Besides the major expenses, remember there will be substantial spending on the following – on-the-spot shopping, food, toll tariffs, and entry fees for admission to amusement parks. Remember to throw in a little contingency money for emergencies and souvenirs too.

Packing

Carrying big luggage in the car will cut down on precious leg and elbow room. Minimize your travel load by carrying tops and shirts of basic colors like black, white, grey, and blue that will go with almost all trousers and skirts. Consider packing lightweight clothes that can be easily washed and dried in hotel rooms if need be.

In the commotion leading to the packing and travelling, don’t forget to throw in some coolers, cupcakes, muffins, sandwich fixes, and chips that will come in handy on the long stretches where it’s difficult to find eateries. Toss in a couple of spatula, spoons, and forks to make eating in the car more comfortable!

Car servicing

The whole point of a road trip is driving! You will not want to lose out on precious travel time by fixing breakdowns when you’ve just started. It’s only wise to get your car serviced before you hit the road and avoid unnecessary delay. Here is a quick road trip checklist for your car:

  • Oil change
  • Batteries
  • Brakes
  • Tire pressure
  • Headlights, high beam light, and dippers
  • Windshield wipers
  • AC and heater gas
  • Belts and hoses
  • Spare tires and jack

And, here is a road trip checklist for you:

  • First aid kit
  • Cables
  • Flashlights
  • Blankets
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Clothes
  • Spare set of car keys
  • Important papers belonging to your car

Now that you are armed with these tips for a safe and exciting road trip, what are you waiting for? Hit the road and have a good time!

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