Vacation travel and visiting family often involves a lengthy drive. We often need to travel at least 3 hours to our closest relative. Here are some family road trip survival tips:
The most important thing before a road trip is to make sure your car is in good condition. This includes having the car checked at your local mechanic or gas station. Ensure that the oil and filter are changed; the tires are well inflated; and the windshield wipers are replaced (if needed). We were stuck in a rain storm a few years back and only THEN did we realize that our wipers should have been replaced. Driving in traffic, at night, in the rain, with bad wipers was horrible!
Create a Checklist
I used to try to “wing it” when it came to heading on a road trip. This was OK before having kids, but now we don’t leave the house without double checking our travel checklist. Here are our main items:
- First aid kit – we keep one in the car at all times
- Snacks & drinks
- Favorite Toys
- Car Games – Bingo is one of our favorites.
- Travel pillow and blankets
- Portable DVD player – we make sure the kids pick their movies in advance so there is no fighting.
Check the route
We check the route to see if there is construction we want to work around. If possible, we also check the current traffic report in case we need to select an alternate rout. We also map out where there are rest areas so we are not caught with a potty emergency.
Don’t forget to start with a full tank of gas. There is nothing worse than being stuck in holiday traffic and realizing you need to stop for gas.
Make Pit Stops
If our road trip is more than 3 hours, we try to stop at least once to get out and stretch our legs. A potty break is often needed too. If our road trip is longer, we may
Prepare for Emergencies
Having a good emergency supply kit is essential for a long road trip, especially if you are traveling across wide open spaces between towns.
- Extra blankets
- emergency road kit
- flashlight and batteries
- battery-powered radio
- windshield wiper cleaner
- cell phone charger
Another good idea is to take a list of telephone numbers including the hotel or motel where you are staying as well as those of family and friends you may need to contact.
Engage the kids in the decision making, age appropriate, and allow them to decide what they would like to bring. Have them pack their clothes (check the suitcases afterwards) so they feel part of the overall experience. Planning ahead of time for a family road trip will save you time, stress, and money. And the kids will enjoy this adventure, too!