5 Essentials When Planning a Family Road Trip

Road trip with the family Road trip with the family

Ah, summertime. It’ll be here before we know it; although considering the current wintery weather in the UK, you’d be forgiven thinking April had been rebranded to December! Nevertheless, even with the price of fuel on the rise, there’s no denying that road trips are still cheaper than buying plane tickets for each family member and the dog. There are a couple things you can do even for the short rides to make life a little easier.

Packed in for a road trip

Packed in for a road trip

1. Pack snacks.

The only thing more uncomfortable than being stuck with your family in a small car for hours on end is to do it while hungry. Pack snacks that are small (not large enough to make anyone gorge themselves and get car sick) and have plenty of long-lasting energy. Nuts, granola bars, and plain cereal like cheerios make good road snacks. Provide cups so that small treats like the cereal don’t get smashed into the carpeting or lost underfoot.

The trip will be more pleasant if you avoid messy snacks in general. Fruits like plums have pits that need to be thrown away and juicy centers that will get everywhere. Try grapes or blueberries if your family enjoys fruit. Their small, bite-size form will make clean-up after the trip a breeze.

2. Pack water, not flavored drinks.

Becoming dehydrated usually leads to a nasty headache. Fill up water bottles with plain water, not juice or Gatorade. The juice will make a sticky mess when someone inevitably spills it, and the Gatorade will encourage your kids to drain the bottle in under an hour. You don’t want anyone to be overly hydrated on your road trip either. More fluid in means more fluid out, which means more bathroom stops and more time in the car and not at your destination.

3. Don’t skip regular breaks out of the car.

Your family needs time to spend where they are greater than three inches apart or fur will start flying in the backseats. Set a clear time and alternate half hour meal breaks with the occasional five-minute pit stop. When everyone knows about break times, there is less whining and a smaller chance of bathroom emergencies. It’s also less likely that someone will become car sick. The fresh air and sensation of having feet solidly on the ground stops it before it starts. Getting out of the car and stretching your legs is also important for the older family members in order to prevent blood clots from forming.

4. Bring entertainment for the kids.

Aside from all the physical complaints, boredom will be what makes your kids miserable. Your task of entertaining them is made easy if your vehicle comes with a TV screen for the backseat. Movies and TV episodes can be burned to DVD discs or rented from your local library.

If your kids are older and more into videogames, you might want to look into bringing headphones and a videogame system. AC-to-outlet converters can support Xbox 360s, Nintendo Wiis, and most any other system. They provide entertainment limited only by the number of games you own or can rent. No matter what’s on the TV screen, time will appear to fly by.

5. Bring entertainment for yourselves.

It’s unlikely that anyone will be able to peacefully agree on music. You might as well give up on finding a good and consistent radio station while traveling hundreds of miles! I suggest renting or buying an audiobook to listen to while you drive. There’s no doubt that the kids will be listening to their own tunes on their iPods. Take advantage and put in an audiobook. It can be a novel that you never found the time to read or a nonfiction topic you’re interested in.

You don’t have to think of time spent in the car as time wasted. By being properly prepared, a road trip with your family can be made less stressful and more relaxing. Have fun this summer and drive safely!

This is a guest post written by Becky Harris, an avid blogger for U-pack moving companies, part of the ABF companies.

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