Young kids and road trips don’t go together. They have too much to bring with them and are far too dependent on their routines. Short day trips are great, but long, multi-day road trips will only try them and you. That is why you should wait until they are pre-teens or older because, at this age, they are ready for adventure and can (hopefully) sit still for longer than a few minutes at a time.
If this is your first big family road trip there are a lot of things that you can easily forget, which is why you should go through this checklist to ensure you plan and pack everything you need:
Decide on Your Type of Road Trip
There are three main options when it comes to a road trip with three or more people.
- Book hotel rooms for the night
- Bring camping gear
- Book an RV rental
Hotel rooms are going to be the most expensive option, especially if you have two or more kids with you. They cannot be admitted into your own room with a cot, meaning you’ll need to book two or more rooms to accommodate everyone.
Camping gear can be a good way around this, but it does mean that instead of a cross-country trip, you are going to need to find just a few base camp locations and then go for day trips from there.
For ultimate travel freedom, you are going to want to choose an RV rental, which allows you to bring your home away from home with you wherever you go. You also can save on food costs, as they typically include a cooking range.
Invest in Travel Insurance
Many people don’t think about their insurance when they leave on a trip, but if you leave home, you run the risk of leaving the hospitals covered under your health insurance plan. Expanding your health insurance is also quite a headache, but thankfully the best way to cover for all emergencies is to simply invest in additional travel insurance for each member of your family. Do be honest if you intend to go adventuring, like white water rafting, so that if someone is injured they are still covered.
Have Everyone Choose One or Two Musts
Drivers will choose the scope of the road trip. It could be just across your state, or you could take a trip across the whole country if you feel up for driving that long and have that much time off.
Once the scope or scale of your road trip is decided, get everyone going on the trip to provide you with one or two things they really want to see on the trip. This way you can easily ensure everyone’s wishes are catered to and you can have a fun family trip together.
You are going to need to help everyone pack as lean as possible. Remember, just because you are on the road doesn’t mean you cannot stop in to use a laundromat. Focus on bringing items that go well together, can easily be maintained (no delicate or dry-clean only items) and items they need to enjoy their activities (like a swimsuit or sneakers).
With these four musts, your family road trip will be more comfortable and structured, meaning everyone will enjoy it.