You, your spouse, and your kids all crammed into the car and driving around for a few days or a week or more. Does this sound like a recipe for disaster? The truth is that a family road trip can be both an economical vacation and a bonding experience, but it does take careful planning to ensure that it’s not simply an endurance test for everyone. The tips below will help you plan and execute a road trip that will be memorable for all the right reasons.
Make a Budget
A budget will help you decide where you can go, for how long and what you can do while you’re getting there and back. You should start saving money now even if you’re not planning the trip until next year. Having some financial flexibility will make the trip more enjoyable for everyone. If you are struggling to save, look at places where you can cut back expenses, such as spending less on junk food at the grocery store. There may also be ways you can lower your monthly bills, such as turning the thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer. You may be able to refinance student loans or other debts and could paying less on the loan in the long run if the interest rate is lower.
Get the Kids Involved
There’s no guarantee that your kids won’t complain about being bored or get into a fight in the back seat but involving them in the planning process will go a long way toward reducing the likelihood of this happening. Put together some ideas and present them to the kids and let them decide some of the attractions that you’ll visit along the way. This could include theme parks, museums, hikes and much more.
In addition, let the kids choose some of the music, podcasts or books you’ll listen to and some of the food you’ll eat along the way. Will you be staying in hotels or camping? You may want to give the kids some say about this as well or have them help you choose among the campgrounds or hotels you’re considering. Look for accommodations that are family-friendly and that have amenities kids will appreciate, such as a pool.
Plan Rest Stops
In addition to attractions, you’ll see along the way, plan rest stops at places where the kids can blow off some steam. Plan picnics and bring a ball or a Frisbee so everyone can get active. Giving the kids a little money to spend each day allows them to purchase small souvenirs or their own snacks, and they will enjoy this independence.
Document Your Trip
Another great way to make kids feel thoroughly involved is to document the trip together on a blog, a private social media page, or in some other way that allows you to share it with friends and family members. There are tech gadgets to bring on vacation that can help you capture all the memories you make. Kids can take photos and do small write ups or recordings about their experiences. You can also buy or print out paper maps for them to track your progress using a highlighter.