The idea of a fun road trip with your beloved family sounds enthralling but sometimes this very idea can also make you question your decision to go on one. Why? There’s a lot more involved than just traveling, spending some quality time with your loved ones, and enjoying those beautiful sights.
Planning a big trip and need to stick to your budget? Check out our 20 tips for cheap travel (number 16 says you should go on a road trip)! Don’t forget to take a peek at our list of over 52 free activities for kids and families in every state, too.
To help you keep your sanity and enjoy yourself, we’ve put together five road trip tips that will help you create a stress-free adventure for everyone involved.
1. First up: First aid
We all know the rule for first aid, right? Pack everything with the hope of never having to use it. In fact, you should keep one with you anywhere you go. Here’s a quick checklist to ensure your first aid kit has everything you (hopefully won’t) need:
- Safety pins
- Antiseptic or wound cleaner
- Alcohol swabs
- Antibacterial wipes or other hand sanitizers
- Digital thermometer
- Cough and cold medications
- Bug repellant
- Any personal medications, such as epi pens or prescriptions
2. Add some fun
Road trips don’t have to be boring and monotonous. You can make things fun by creating a list of things everyone in your family loves, then packing accordingly. There are a number of travel games like I Spy, crosswords, and word searches that will also do the trick. You can find as many travel games as you want online, too.
Discover great ideas for games you can play in the car with our roundup of five road trip games!
Do some research and find printable activities to keep things interesting. The choice of games or activities depends on what your children are interested in. Don’t force them into doing things they’re not excited about. Some kids will get their share of fun by reading their favorite books, drawing, coloring, or writing. For kids like these, you should be well prepared with a flashlight to help them read, write, or draw even when it’s dark. Similarly, you’ll need a travel desk to make things comfortable for them.
If you really want to enjoy every moment of your road trip with your family, make sure you have a playlist of everybody’s favorite songs and sing-alongs. Yes, people still do that — and it’s always fun!
3. Save time
You don’t have to waste your time with unnecessary stops, asking for directions, or calculating your fuel consumption. Things have changed: your cars and phones have become smart, and so should you! Download one of these handy road trip apps to help you save time and energy.
- Waze: This all-in-one app helps with navigation and keeps you updated with the latest traffic and route information.
- Foursquare: Find the best locations and check-in using the information and tips shared by people who have been there before.
- Hotel Tonight: Decide which hotel is the best for your family with information on terms of service and prices, not to mention last minute deals and the ability to book your room right through the app.
Not interesting in last-minute hotel scrambling? Save time and money by checking for hotels.com Coupons & Promo Codes.
4. Pack some comfort
If you were to pick two things that mean comfort to you, you’d most likely pick good sleep and good food. While you’re on your road trip you’ll be making some stops at hotels and restaurants, but while you’re in the car don’t starve your family. Pack some snacks your kids will love:
- Granola bars
- Non-perishable canned food
When they’re full and want to take a nap, be sure you have a few pillows and blankets. There are many options, like a seatbelt pillow or portable car mattress, that will help them sleep soundly.
5. Sanity savers for adults
Don’t forget your own comfort and safety! Be sure to pack batteries, snacks, a portable charger for your smartphone, tablet, and other electronics, and toothbrushes. If you’re able to take turns driving, load up on activities that you’ll enjoy, as well, like books, music, and games. Better yet, hop in the back seat and play some games with your kids!