What Should I Consider When Going on a Family Road Trip?

A family road trip can be the time of your life, or the worst trip of your life. Hunger, boredom, fighting, and stiff muscles can make car rides with kids miserable. Traveling with kids, though, can also be a memorable experience for everyone. There are several things to consider when going on a family road trip.

A successful family road trip is one that is properly planned. Keep your destination in mind and plan the route you are going to take. Pack an atlas or road map in case you get lost. Give a family member or friend a copy of your itinerary, and let them know when to expect you to return. In may not be pleasant to think about, but things can happen.

Keep the long stretches of driving to a minimum. Driving straight through on a family road trip may be fun for the adults, but children need to recuperate. Book your hotels ahead of time, and plan on stopping at a reasonable hour. Sleeping on the side of the road is not an option when you are on a family road trip.

Don't overschedule your activities on the family road trip. Young children quickly become overstimulated and will reach burnout. Allow some time for children to play in an unstructured atmosphere, like a park. The children will be recharged afterwards and ready to cooperate.

Pack a large amount of snacks that are kept within easy reach of the children. Hungry children will become cranky, making the family road trip miserable for everyone involved. Make sure there is a variety of snacks that everyone, including the adults, will enjoy. Keep water and juice handy to wash down the snacks.

Pack any necessary items that toddlers or young children may need. If you are in the process of potty training, pack a potty chair and wipes, as well as lots of changes of clothes. It may be a good idea to put your toddler in disposable training pants to prevent a wet car seat. Children can't always hold it until you find a bathroom. Bring extra bottles and sippy cups, as well, in case some get misplaced.

Plan plenty or rest stops for everyone to stretch their legs. Stop at a park or down by the lake, or river, where everyone can roam. Play a game of football so the adults and kids can relieve some pent-up energy. The key is so have fun and bond as a family. Don't make the trip so rushed that it becomes miserable.


Discuss this Article

Post 3

A road trip can be a good choice for someone looking for family travel deals. Depending on where you are going and what gas costs, driving can be cheaper and easier than trying to fly.

I have a wife and four young kids and it is a nightmare trying to get everyone through the airport. We have a ton of luggage which these days costs extra. And keeping the kids behaved on the plane can really start to strain your patience. If it is reasonable to drive I will pick a car over a plane any day.

Post 2
When you are planning a family road trip it is important to account for the different gas prices in the different places you will visit. Depending on where you live, they could be a lot more expensive where you are going. Gas in California or around major population centers can cost twice as much as it does in cheaper Midwestern areas.

I only bring this up because it can have a big effect on your budget. I drove the family down to San Diego and up the Pacific Coast highway a few years back. The view was wonderful but we spent a lot more than we had planned for on the gas.

Post 1

The first and most important thing to consider before going on a family road trip is whether or not you really want to go on a family road trip. They sound like a good idea and many of us have hazy but fond memories of going on one as a kid. The reality is not quite as rosy though.

Unless you really love to drive and your family loves to be in the car, you will basically spend an entire vacation in transit. And that can be a big disappointment. I took my family to the Grand Canyon in our minivan one year and we spent three times as much time in the car as at the canyon. It would have been cheaper, easier and a lot more fun to just have flown.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?