A guide to summer road trips with the family.
Photo by Balkan Campers on Unsplash
As summer quickly approaches, it is time to start thinking about planning your big family road trip. A vacation is a great benefit to everyone because it allows parents to get out of work and retain a work/life balance. Plus, it gives us a chance to see new and exciting sights, and it allows our families to bond and get closer as a unit.
However, it is important to remember that you shouldn’t just pile into the car and take off without a plan. You need to think strategically about what you’ll bring, where you’ll go, and how you can enjoy every minute while teaching your kids important lessons about family and life in general. To help you out, here is a guide for your next road trip.
The importance of family
While we all love our family, it can be tough to build that closeness that we need when we are at home juggling work, chores, and extracurricular activities. That’s why taking a road trip with the clan is so important. It gives us a chance to properly bond together and spends quality time where we can talk and learn more about one another. It doesn’t matter how old your kids may be. There is always more to learn and a good road trip can help you to do that.
A trip will also allow your family to create memories that will last a lifetime. While we all appreciate each other, a vacation gives us an adventure that parents and kids will remember forever. This trip will be a bookmark for this particular time in your life, so down the road, you can say things like, “remember when the kids were just babies and we went to the Grand Canyon?” Traveling also allows you to take pictures and videos of the fun things you see, and it is always great to look back on those images as the years go by.
Perhaps the best part about a family road trip is that everyone in the group can have input into what you do and see. So if the kids really want to go to a particular amusement park, consider their idea, and you could even make that your final destination. Kids will love that their voices are heard, and they will appreciate their parents, even more, when they know that they are an important part of the overall unit.
With all that in mind, let’s talk about what you should pack and the lessons, you can teach along the way.
What to pack
When it comes time to pack for your big trip, you must plan ahead. If you wait until the last minute then you will likely forget an item that you cannot be without. Start making a list a few weeks in advance and add to it as you think of new things to bring. You should also research your intended destination to see what the weather will be like so you can pack accordingly and check if there will be a lot of pests that require you to bring bug spray.
It’s important to keep in mind that while you will need to bring all the necessities, including clothes, medication, eye protection, and potential toiletries, you do not need to pack multiple bags for each person. In addition to having fewer pieces of luggage to lug around, by packing lighter, you can also teach your kids about minimalism and prioritizing what they really need.
By packing lighter, you reduce unnecessary waste and put less wear and tear on your vehicle. You can accomplish this by checking out the hotel to see if they have guest laundry so you can bring fewer clothes and wash them there. Also, you can start with a smaller bag so you are forced to bring less.
While fun and adventure are the keys, protecting your family should still be the priority, especially when it comes to ensuring your safety on the road. There are certain items you should keep in your car at all times that can prepare you for any emergency. These include water bottles, blankets, extra clothes, and a first aid kit which should have bandages, pain medications, hand sanitizer, a thermometer, and other essential safety items. Don’t forget to have your car inspected and maintained before any big trip so you can avoid a breakdown.
You can also reduce the items to bring if you consider using those that have more flexible uses. For example, if you’re planning to stop over at the beach, packing a beach towel instead of a normal bath towel will be better and more convenient. Most beach towel fabrics are lightweight and will easily dry, so you don’t have to worry about adding to the load of the bags.
Where to go
During the road trip, your list of activities should include opportunities and attractions that lend themselves to education and family bonding. For instance, you can stop by important landmarks such as a famous monument or memorial in your area. Not only is this a great chance to snap some great photos, but you can also educate your kids on the importance of the statue or location.
It’s also a great idea to visit a national park for a camping trip. There is much beauty to behold in this gorgeous country, and there are many fun activities that you and your family can enjoy, including hiking, swimming, fishing, roasting marshmallows around the fire, and playing card games. Best of all, when you are away from the distractions of technology and television, you can take time to talk and build a stronger relationship with your family.
Regardless of where you stop, there is likely to be plenty of time on the road in between destinations, and it can be tough to keep younger kids entertained during the downtime. If you know that may be an issue, then consider bringing fun activities like kid-friendly audiobooks, and educational games, and you can even create your own version of road trip bingo. These are great distractions that will keep the kids engaged so they won’t keep their faces glued to their phone and tablet screens the whole time.
As you can see, planning for your family road trip is essential, but the result is well worth it. Consider the tips and advice discussed here and create a fun vacation that you’ll never forget.