Road trips always start off fun until several hours later when kids (and adults) get bored, hungry and irritable. Stave off the stress by following these tips for a fun ride, including:
- Plotting interesting stops along the way so everyone can stretch their legs and make the trip even more memorable.
- Follow a schedule and try to stick to it.
- Finding cheap car insurance after reviewing your current policy so you won’t be caught off guard in case of an accident. The extra savings can add budget to fuel your adventure, no pun intended. Switching insurance companies is the number one way to find a cheaper premium.
Those tips are just scratching the surface. Here are some additional tips to make your next road trip stress free.
- Service Your Vehicle. You wouldn’t travel if you were ill, and the same holds true for your car. If it’s been a while since it had a tune-up, take it to your trusted mechanic and let him know you’re planning a road trip so he can look over all of the important elements. Or you could take it on yourself by making certain the AC is charged, tires are properly inflated and have the right amount of tread, windshield wiper fluid and all of the other fluids are filled, and the battery is working well.
- Spend Some Time Planning. Before heading out to your destination, think about all of the fun you and your family can have at the stops in between. Even if you have to drive a little out of the way to see the world’s largest ball of string, it could prove to be quirky fun. It also reminds the children (and the adults!) that life is about the journey and not necessarily the destination.
- Bring What You Need. And nothing more! Cars have limited space, and every passenger needs at least a small bubble to move around in and call his or her own. Don’t over pack, and allow kids to bring only one or two of their favorite toys/stuffed animals. You’ll also want to make room for a cooler stocked with water bottles, juice, snacks, and sandwich fixings if you intend to picnic along the way. Along with your cell phone and GPS capabilities, it never hurts to bring along paper maps if you find yourself on a mountain or in ‘dead’ spot with no wireless signal.
- Keep Kids Entertained. It won’t be a stretch to arm your kids with their tablets, iPhones and/or headsets and set them up to listen to music, play games or watch movies. If the trip is long enough (driving over 4 hours in one day), they will probably get bored of those things, as well. Pre-plan your bathroom/lunch stops to align with scenic overlooks, museums or a fun location the kids will enjoy. Also, bring along their favorite snacks and come prepared to play road trip games that involve the whole family like “I Spy.”
- Anticipate a Breakdown. Of course, nobody wants this to happen, but as much time as you spend planning a trip, you can’t avoid driving over a nail and getting a flat tire. Be certain your spare tire is inflated properly, and that you are equipped with tools like the tire iron and jack. You might also consider keeping a small toolbox in the back of the car with screwdrivers, needle-nose pliers, WD-40, adjustable wrench, etc. If car repair really isn’t your thing, then make sure you have access to a roadside service company that will come out to you quickly.
- Plan for Pets. People are opting to bring their pets with them on road trips these days. It’s understandable that the thought of bringing a pet along in the car might be a little daunting, but with a little bit of planning, both you and your pet will be comfortable.
- Keep pets in a carrier. Some dogs that are already car trained may not need this.
- If your pet isn’t trained for the car, spend some time before the trip getting them used to the carrier and used to being in the car when it’s moving.
- Carry a pet kit that includes all of the pet’s favorite and necessary items.
- Save on Gas. Gas prices are at an all-time high, which means road trips can be exceedingly costly. Plus, with everyone and their luggage in the vehicle, the car will weigh more and use more gas than usual. Install a cheap gas-finding app like Gas Buddy on your phone to help you locate the least expensive gas wherever you are.
- Be Prepared for the Weather. The truth is – bad weather can happen anywhere at any time. Be on top of this possibility and worry less with a phone app that has the alerts set to let you about potential dicey conditions.
- Listen to Music. Gone are the days of 8-track tapes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still crank some of your favorite music. Bring along CD’s or stock the iPod Shuffle with road trip tunes. Satellite radio can take the boredom out of lengthy trips because of their variety of channels that offer music, comedy, mysteries, etc.
- Be Patient. Going on trips are great for the soul but they can also make people irritable, cranky, and angry with each other. Remember to take things slow, not to overreact and get the proper amount of sleep over the course of your trip.
Trips are highly anticipated but often very stressful. Take some of that stress out of your vacation by being fully prepared to handle whatever comes your way.