Travel Guides and Tips

Road Trip Planning With Kids Along For The Ride

Planning a road trip is often one of the most exciting parts of the year for most people. The freedom of the open road, with no true itinerary or plan of where to go is an exhilarating prospect. The thing is, most road trips that invoke excitement don’t often include 20 hours in the car with the kids! When you travel long distances with children, there isn’t room for winging the route or choosing the open road with a tent to pitch up in at the side of the road just to see the stars. Children mean a road trip has to have a little more of a schedule and a little less of the spontaneity you may have had in your pre-children days. Don’t panic though, part of the adventure for some families is mapping out a route that everyone can find something enjoyable to do on.

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration outside of the route when you are travelling with children. We’ve put together some of the key areas that you really need to think about when you are planning to embark on a huge trip across the country. This way, when you sit down to plan out your trip, you can ensure that you are ticking all the important boxes before you pile into the car and get going.

Safety First

Before any long trip, you should be ensuring that your car is up to scratch and ready to go. Your car needs to be road trip ready so that you’re not checking out by the end of the trip! You need to get your car tuned up before a long trip and it’s not just the roads you need to think about. You need to read this guide about tyre safety, because most people are not aware that the efficiency of the tyres can really affect the fuel efficiency of the car you are driving. If you are road tripping on a budget, you should be very careful about this as you don’t want to spend more on fuel than you have to. You need to check up on the oil, coolant, battery and even the windshield washer fluid of your car before you get going. Always get the car cleaned both inside and out before you get going on a trip, and think about the other safety accessories that you may need. Car kits like the ones you can find here are perfect for the trunk of the car, so you can be prepared on the road in case of a breakdown.

Plan Ahead

Planning your route from one place to another should include rest stops, no matter the age of the children in the back of the car. With the birth of GPS, we no longer need giant paper maps to work out our routes. This is only handy if you remember to pack back-up batteries for the GPS, just in case it runs out. Keeping a paper map in the trunk is just good sense, and you should plan your stops to account for overnight stays if you plan to have any. If you head off in the evening for your trip, you can give the kids a chance to sleep during some of the journey. Drivers of the car should be well-rested before a trip and if possible, you should drive in shifts. Use ear defenders for the children and eye masks while they sleep, and you can ensure you can put the music up for yourselves. The goal is to stop at each rest stop you plan out, regardless of whether that is night or day. Give yourselves the chance to stretch your legs or transfer from car to hotel for a sleep.

Pack Right

Other than clothes, you need to keep certain things packed and ready to use just in case. Coolers of drinks in the trunk along with another cooler for food is not a bad idea. Being prepared for snacks, drinks and any favourites for the kids as well as yourself is going to keep you going, especially if you get stuck on a long stretch of traffic. It makes good sense to pack portable potties for the littlest children, and if you have babies in the car keep a spare change bag full of diapers, wipes, creams and medicines. Make sure that you have spare changes of clothes to hand outside the suitcases and duffel bags, as in an emergency you need for things to be easy to grab. Entertainment is important on a road trip with children, as there are only so many car games you can play before you all get maxed out! Load up the tablets with movies and TV shows and make sure you bring spare battery packs. Use the tablets with headphones so that everyone gets a little peace and quiet during the drive, but still stays entertained.

Less Is More

When you are packing for a long road trip, it can be really tempting to overpack. Pack enough for the length of your vacation, and make sure you know where the self-service dry cleaners are along the way. Do what you can to wash your things as you go so that you can condense what clothes you need. Check out these tips for packing the perfect capsule wardrobe for the whole family. Once you have it nailed down, you can pretty much get everything into two small cases, depending on how many people are on the trip with you.

When you travel with children, you need to ensure you have a lot of back-up. Bring first aid kits, extra snacks, trash bags and blankets to make the ride as comfortable as possible. Ensuring the car is safe and ready for a long trip is just the beginning. Your road trip with the children doesn’t have to be stressful, so plan ahead and enjoy the ride – you’ll never regret getting the children involved in your adventures.

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