Setting out on a road trip, with children, unprepared, is like walking into a hurricane thinking an umbrella is going to protect you.
You could even say that it is a surefire way to end up at your wit’s end and ruin the experience for everyone. I learned this the hard way after my first family trip, which was a real baptism by fire. However, the valuable lesson has enabled me to improve my planning skills and come to love family trips. Here is how to hit the road and steer away from the hurdles that impede comfort and enjoyment.
Free as a bird
Let me clear the air right away: I am not a huge fan of vacation packages. I prefer to hold the reins when it comes to the crucial questions like when, where, and how I will travel. The freedom to do everything at your own pace is even more important when you have a whole family to look after. Driving around in a crammed car may not seem like a tempting notion to some, but trust me: it is one of the most rewarding undertakings a parent can go for.
Road trips bring families closer together and teach its members how to rely on one another. For instance, hitting a rough patch is perfectly normal and it should serve as an opportunity to work on a solution together. So, do not fret in case you encounter common roadblocks such as bad weather, shabby motels, flat tires, etc. The first time, we made the mistake of freaking out because we forgot our travel companion, the reliable Castrol oil, only to find that we can purchase it a few kilometers down the road.
Play it smartly
Many other problems though, can kick in during the time spent on the road. First off, children get fed up with sitting in the car quickly and struggle to endure long trips. And when the parental well of inspiration, attention, and creativity runs dry, things can go south in an instant. But, I have a simple solution: taking as many travel games and toys as possible.
Furthermore, bear in mind that games will not keep the kids occupied forever. This is not to say you should bring a bunch of modern gadgets. Instead, take frequent breaks to give the kids a much-needed burst of physical activity. It is best to plan stops beforehand: do your homework and check where the gas stations, car shops, and pit stops are. Of course, having your own spacious car is highly preferable, as it boosts comfort and gives you more luggage space to work with. You can also rent a family van if you’d prefer.
All in the same boat
Then again, it should be said that a road trip is no walk in the park. It is up to the parents to make it a successful endeavor. In other words, planning ahead is the key to having a whale of a time. If you ask me, it is only logical to include your family in the decision-making process. So, figure out the best itinerary together and identify the spots you want to visit. I love how the anticipation and excitement start to go up as we approach the big day.
The second road trip was our turning point I reckon. Me and my husband factored in even the smallest detail and were able to rewind and disconnect from the reality we had grown accustomed to. Indeed, when organized and executed well, road trips allow everyone to get away from the cycle of everyday routines and obligations. Our children absolutely loved it and we realized we can traverse the known horizons and explore other highways and byways without having a nervous breakdown or experiencing serious setbacks.
Footloose and fancy free
A family trip should be a way to relax and bond together. It is a great life school about the value of being outdoors and spending some quality time with your family. Being strapped for cash or time is no excuse to forgo such as an opportunity. Thus, start your family adventure and do not let anything stand in your way. Enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors and witness nature’s timeless beauty. Kick off a nice tradition and do not fret in case you are off to a shaky start. Turn fun times into memories to last a lifetime and difficulties into silly anecdotes.
Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her at Ripped.me, or in a tea shop.