The US road trip is on a lot of people’s bucket lists, but it’s not often thought of as a family holiday. While it’s understandable that not everyone likes the idea of being in a car with children for an extended period of time, it’s much more doable than you might think. There really is no better way to explore the huge and varied country without spending a fortune on plane tickets. You can go wherever you please, spend as long as you want in each place and create your own adventures. If you like the idea of exploring the US but are concerned about doing so with the kids in tow, here are some tips to help you plan a family road trip you’ll all enjoy.
Use a reliable car
The last thing you need when you’re packing the whole family into the car for a road trip is to be worried about or to have to deal with a breakdown. If your car isn’t in great condition or you’re not sure it’s up to the miles you need to cover, consider hiring a newer car from Advantage Rent a Car to give you peace of mind and an extra level of comfort.
Try to keep calm
There’s no getting away from the fact that stuff is bound to go wrong at some point. Often they are only minor inconveniences in the grand scheme of the trip, but in the confines of the car, they can seem much more important. Whether you’re stuck in traffic, the kids have dropped their drinks all over the backseat, or you left a bag at the last motel stop, take a deep breath and remember to keep things in perspective.
Don’t worry about a schedule
Sure, you’ve got places you want to visit and activities you want to do, but trying to stick to a rigid schedule is setting yourself up for stress. Take a more flexible approach and if you end up spending longer than you intended in one place, enjoy it for what it is.
Keep the car tidy
Your car is going to be your home for a while and mess and dirt will make it a stressful and unpleasant one. Keep a plastic bag in the car for rubbish and when it’s full chuck it in a bin at your next stop. Keeping a hygiene kit (e.g., wet wipes, air freshener, deodorant, and dry shampoo) in the car will also help to keep things clean. It’s also a good idea to store luggage and passengers as separate as possible if you can for both safety and comfort reasons.
Take a break every 3 hours
It’s important to stop the car every 3 hours for several reasons including toilet breaks, food, and drink, stretching the legs, letting the kids burn off some energy (if there’s space) and to give everyone a mini-break from each other.
Bring entertainment for the kids
Bring some toys the kids can use outside when you stop, such as balls or a frisbee, or suggest physical games like tag to burn off as much excess energy as possible. For in the car, electronics like tablets can be great but it’s also good to have some time away from the screen so pack some books, comics and colouring books too.