Top Tips For An Enjoyable Road Trip With The Family
Who doesn’t love a family road trip? Heading off on the open road together for some new experiences and sightseeing or just heading out on the road is a great way to spend some family time together. There are a few things you need to consider before you head off on your latest adventure however.
Having a destination in mind, throw some snacks and toys into the car to keep the kids occupied and see where the road takes us, is a sure fire way to have a road trip that does not live up to expectations. Being spontaneous sounds more fun than it is and is really best left for those who have plenty of time to spend dealing with the kids and “fixing hiccups” along the way. Here are some of our top tips for not just surviving but ensuring an enjoyable family road trip:
Regardless of if you're using the family car or renting a vehicle for your road trip it’s always a good idea to make sure that whatever you'll be driving is fit for purpose. Check the tyre pressure, oil, water and ensure that you have a hazard triangle and first aid kit stowed away in the boot should you need it.
Also check that your insurance for both the vehicle and all travellers gives you the right amount of coverage, especially if you’ll be driving around Europe.
It’s also a good idea to take out some vehicle recovery cover before you head off, just in case.
Map Your Journey & Stick To It
Map the whole journey and get a realistic idea of how long the trip is going to take. Never be too ambitious about how long your journey should be for the day. If your journey consists of different destinations, chart them all and stay on course. Do a web search on-route and plan in pit stops. This can be anything from a detour to a fun activity (take into consideration time spend here) or just a leg-stretching stop at some green space.
Go a bit further by using Google street view to pre-pick pit stop stopping spots to avoid “having to drive around” to find a nice spot.
Even with modern in-car or mobile GPS, bring a paper map as a backup and also ad a great opportunity to get the kids involved in tracking progress.
Keeping EVERYONE Entertained
Long road trips can feel like forever for young children, so their enjoyment is our sanity. But, it is only fair we get to enjoy the journey too. Hence, these distractions are not just for the kids:
- Distract with snacks. Pack separate snacks for adults & kids. Go with volume and follow the 80/20 rule. Volume, as in a lot and better in bite sizes (fruit pieces rather than whole fruit or M&Ms rather than chocolate bars) as it takes longer to finish. No salt or butter popcorn is a good bet. And the 80/20 rule, as in 80% healthy low sugar, carb & calorie foods and 20% sin food. You can use the sin food for the distraction you need most, when the time comes. And don’t forget the liquids, plenty of it.
- Prepare a road trip playlist. Find out what the kids are into currently, prep a playlist and sneak in your own all time favourites in every third or fifth song on the list, which will usually be enough to “buy” their patience for that song.
- Choose a few audio books together that all can listen to. Listening and being engrossed in a story together can be a great stress-free way to while away time spent on the long stretch of a motorway. Or why not read aloud from print-outs or a book about your destination?
- It’s a great idea to create your own travel activity pack but try to introduce some new games, activities and toys along the way. Something new to unpack goes a long way on car ride. Include play together activities like travel bingo or putty where you task each other sculpt something and the winner gets a prize.
Practical Packing And Space Saving Road Trip Luggage
A car rammed full of stuff makes for an uncomfortable journey, but unpacking and re-loading the car can be very time consuming, so pack smart and lean, so there's plenty of room and quality time for the family.
Hard-shell suitcases are hardy but if you ever tried to squeeze more than two suitcases in the trunk of the car, you know that that can be a challenge. Soft –shell bags like our hybrid duffle backpack can provide a better alternative. As the name JamPac® suggests, you are able to jam pack it for a month’s trip and more if you utilise the extra hidden gusset to get an extra 5cm in height. A road trip is the perfect time to discover and take and its benefits.
The VacPac Multi-Purpose Dry/Wet Bag is brilliant for families who want to save some serious space, as it can be inflated and deflated to suit and ideal for active families who love water sports. This clever bag is completely waterproof, so any wet gear can be safely stowed away until you get home.
Find out how to better pack by categories and activitiesusing our OrgPac Medium & Slim Organisers, which are very spacious and incredibly useful for storing a range of activity books, toys and even snacks to keep the kids amused without taking up too much space. Simply fill an OrgPac Organiser with some new goodies before you leave and you’ll be able to enjoy the journey in peace.
Check out our LeanPac® modular packing suite of travel bags. It is a must for any family road trip.