The thought of going on vacation is exciting. Planning the vacation is exciting too. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for all that excitement to wear off when you’re in the thick of things, especially if you’re skipping the airplane and opting for a road trip instead.
The last thing you want to do is start your road trip off on the wrong foot. That can make for a long vacation!
Here are a tips that will help you have a great road trip vacation by making sure things go according to plan from the very beginning.
Make Sure Your Car Is Ready
Well before you load everyone into the car and hit the road, you should make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip. Nothing ruins a vacation like getting into an accident. Safety on the road should be your number one priority.
That includes making sure your vehicle is roadworthy. Check the air in your tires, get an oil change, and make any major repairs you’ve been putting off.
Making sure your car is ready also means double checking that your car insurance is up-to-date. You should also make sure you have a current insurance card printed and placed in your glove compartment.
You may also want to make sure you have roadside assistance before you leave. Signing up for a program, like AAA, will make sure there’s someone available to help you if you end up with a flat tire on the side of the road.
Plan out Your Route Ahead of Time
GPS makes getting around a lot easier. Instead of trying to figure out your route based on an old fashioned paper map, GPS can tell you exactly where to go, turn by turn, but that doesn’t mean using GPS is as safe as you think.
GPS devices have actually been shown to increase the likelihood of accidents. That’s because people are fumbling with their device when they should be focused on the road, and because people put too much trust in the route when they shouldn’t.
Planning your route ahead of time can help with both. Before you hit the road, get the GPS going. It enables you to choose the best route, and it will prevent you from messing with the GPS program while you’re driving.
Plan Ahead for Things to Do in the Car
The last thing you will want to do while you’re driving is try to figure out how to keep everyone entertained! Instead, plan ahead for things to do in the car when everyone gets bored.
That includes bringing electronic devices, so the kids can watch movies and listen to music, but it also means making a list of games to play that might include:
- License plate map game
- Car bingo
- The alphabet game
- Word finds and crosswords
- Mad Libs
The nice thing about driving a car instead of taking a plane is that you don’t have to worry about baggage fees and limited overhead space. However, that doesn’t mean you should fill the trunk.
Make a list and bring essential items on your trip, but avoid bringing items that aren’t truly necessary. Overpacking can make your car heavy, which can cause you to spend more on gas.
You also have to think carefully about what you pack in the trunk and what you bring in the car. Make separate lists for both so your Chapstick, headphones, and pillow don’t end up in the trunk when you could use them in the backseat.
Get Plenty of Rest the Night Before You Leave
If you’re going to be driving, you definitely need to make sure you get plenty of sleep, but it’s not just the drivers who should get plenty of shut eye. The kids should get a good night’s sleep too.
Children who don’t get enough sleep can get cranky fast, and being stuck in the car with a cranky kid will make you want to turn around and go home.
If you’re planning to drive overnight, or if you plan to leave really early in the morning, you may also want to make sure the kids have pillows and blankets in the backseat. That way, they can get a little shuteye while the car is in motion.
Planning a road trip means thinking about more than just your destination. It also means preparing for the time you spend in the car with the tips on this list.