There is something inherently exciting about road trips. It is no wonder that so many movies were made about these travels. The part we do not see in movies, though, is the one that happens before we actually start the motors – planning and packing. Ironically, that is the most important part of the road trip, because if you do not take the time to plan, the very travel can become a true nightmare. This is especially so if you are traveling with kids, and forget to pack their favorite toy or some pastime entertainment. The road trip can take several days or even one month, so it is essential to have an entire plan in your head and on paper, before you actually step into the car.
Road Trip Planning Tips
Choosing the Route
This is the most important part of the planning process. Before you get deeper into the topic, decide which is your starting and which the ending point. First, determine how much time you have on your disposal (if it is not more than 7 days, decide for a shorter route), and then calculate just how far you can get. Keep in mind that you will have to stop at every destination and trying to squeeze in more miles than you are able to, will turn the road trip from a fun experience into a plain torture.
Second, you will have to make the route interesting enough for all the travelers in your car. Make sure there are enough roadside attractions, such as museums, parks, monuments, etc., but also be practical and search restaurants and motels along the road.
Once you decide for the route, do your best to research and learn about the stops to be able to truly experience them and explain their importance to your fellow travelers, especially if they are kids, which demand a lot more interesting story than “This is a lake”.
Packing the Bags
Being away from your home for long period may have you wanting to pack everything you have, but there is no need for such extremes. On the other hand, some travelers think they can acquire everything along the road, but that is also never true. The middle ground would be to consider what you actually need, and pack double, just in case.
Clothes can be really tricky, especially for kids. Keep in mind that, if the weather is nice and if your roadside attraction is in nature, they are bound to run, play and fall. Imagine if they would stain and ruin their new outfits. So, before going, browse online for cheap shorts and stock up with them, just in case. Always check the weather prognosis and pack for different weather conditions.
Other essentials you should pack are small blankets, towels, sunglasses, slippers, extra batteries, bottled water, swimsuits, snacks, packed lunches, etc. Make sure you pack some entertaining options for the long ride and pauses – great music playlist, tablet with movies and games, audio books, jump rope, ball, games, etc.
Do Not Forget…
In the weeks leading up to your road trip, you should check if your vehicle is in its primo condition. This will make your travel safe and you will not have to worry if the car will break down in the middle of nowhere. All the preventive maintenance should be done at least two weeks before you start your adventure, but is just a part of the story. No matter how well the car is maintained you will have to pack all the needed tools for changing a tire or some minor repairs. Your spare tire should be in the trunk and ready to roll.
Other important things concerning health and safety are, of course, first aid kit, various sizes bandages, medications for surprise allergies, sunscreen, headache and heatburn medications, hand sanitizers, etc.
Everything is easier with a plan. Just make sure all the fellow travelers (including the children) are on board with it, especially when it comes to the chosen route. There is a long way in front of you and you would not want any peeve travelers to ruin the atmosphere.
P. S. Do not forget to pack your adventurous spirit.