4 Tips to Help Prepare for a Family Road Trip

It’s finally here. With the holidays fast approaching; you and the kiddos are no doubt excited to visit long-lost relatives and, weather permitting, maybe a theme park or two. Because you enjoy getting behind the wheel and saving money on travel; you’ve decided to travel by car and embark on a classic family road trip.

4 Tips to Help Prepare for a Family Road Trip

Of course, preparing for a memorable road trip takes quite a bit of planning. In addition to packing your suitcases with everything you’ll need while at your destination; you’ll also have to ensure your vehicle is road-ready and can handle long distances on highways and interstates.

Family packing for a road trip,4 Tips to Help Prepare for a Family Road Trip
Family packing for a family road trip: Photo on Flickr by State Farm / CC BY 2.0

Check out the following four tips that will help ensure you and your family enjoys a safe and successful road trip:

1. Make Sure Your Car is Road-Trip Ready

Beyond a dead battery, the last thing you want while embarking on your family road trip is to be stranded in the middle of nowhere after one or more tires go flat. This is where proper planning enters the equation. Prior to leaving on your winter vacation, bring your car in for a thorough winter weather tune-up, which should include:

  • Adding or topping off anti-freeze levels
  • Checking over the brakes
  • Replacing worn windshield wipers
  • Changing out the battery, if needed

In addition to maintaining those systems, ensure your tires are up for the trip. In particular, if you plan to drive through snowy conditions; you may need to stock up on chains to trudge through these harsh winter conditions. You’ll also want to take a close look at the condition of your tires; and ensure they have enough tread and no signs of dry rot.

Be prepared for a Flat Tyre
Be prepared for a Flat Tyre: Photo on Flickr by Elvis Kennedy / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If your tire treads are low and/or are cracking or pitting in areas, do yourself and your family a favor by changing out your tires before you leave; after all, the last thing you need is more aggravation and stress while driving through already tough weather conditions.

2. Pack Each Kiddo a Goodie Bag

Unless you enjoy the endless chorus of “Are we there yet?”; or listening to kids deliberately find ways to bug their siblings in the back seat; you’ll want to stock up on car trip supplies for each of your children. As USA Today explains, purchase a small neck pillow and comfortable blanket for each kiddo and then ask them to choose a select number of small toys, books, handheld games, arts and crafts and coloring books to better occupy their time. Place these items into a small backpack — one for each kiddo — and tuck in a few extra goodies in each bag to surprise them along the way.

4 Tips to Help Prepare for a Family Road Trip,mobile phone, electronics,smartphone

3. Don’t Forget the Electronics

Does your ride feature an in-car entertainment system? If so, then let each of your children choose several family-friendly movies or shows to watch while traveling the open road. Of course, if you’re the type of parent who looks to limit their children’s daily screen time, then, by all means, keep track of the time they spend watching shows and/or playing on a tablet or smartphone. While you’ll also want to make sure these gadgets are fully charged before leaving town; investing in a portable charging unit is also a safe and worthwhile option to prevent boredom.

4. Be Ready for Emergencies

As Family Vacation Critic notes, a well-stocked emergency kit is vital on road trips to ensure everyone’s safety and overall well-being. Typically, these kits call for some extra blankets, plenty of water and high-protein snacks and a first-aid kit that includes anti-nausea and pain relief medications. Include some extra plastic bags; which can serve as trash bags or a laundry basket in case some of your or your family’s clothing gets wet or dirty.

Kermit Frog, First Aid,4 Tips to Help Prepare for a Family Road Trip

Have a Great Time!

With some meticulous planning and preparation, you and your family are bound to have a great time not only at your vacation destination, but also on the road to get there. Just make sure you’ve packed plenty of snacks, drinks and entertainment to keep everyone occupied and taken care of.

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