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7 Tips For A Terrific Family Road Trip

activity, adventure, blur
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Summer has well and truly arrived and it’s something special for families. School is out and the time that the children get over the long school vacation is perfect for being able to spend time together as a family. It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, everyone loves to go on vacation. The best part about the summer break is the fact it’s so long and the weather is beautiful; it makes packing in activities with the kids far easier!

You get to spend time putting together an fun and adventurous itinerary. Road trip planning doesn’t happen overnight. You have to figure out what you can afford, where you want to go, who is sitting where in the car, whether to hire a recreation vehicle to go alongside your trip or not. You also need to sit down with the kids and give them a chance to discuss what they would like to do and see on your trip. There are so many routes that you can take across the States for your road trip and it can truly be an educational experience for your children if you are seeing more than one historical site, landmark and even the beaches and theme parks for a little downtime.

Life gets so busy with work schedules often mirroring school schedules. Everyone seems to have a social life that opposes others in the family, and if you want to balance work with a social life you have to really work for it. So, the summer break is often a very welcome time of family togetherness. A road trip is the most traditional way to spend some of the summer vacation, and it's a sensible way to reconnect as a family because you’re all in the same place at the same time for an extended period. Pulling it off, though, is not as easy as just saying it’s what you want to do. There are a lot of factors to consider, as well as the ages of the people that you are bringing on your trip. Road tripping with young babies, for example, is far more taxing than traveling with self-sufficient teenagers. With the seven steps below, you can ensure that your road trip is as successful as you’ve always dreamed that it could be.

Plot, Plan & Plot Again
Okay, so last year, you said that you’d do a family road trip the following summer (like, right now). There is a big difference to the entire family happily piling into a car singing road trip tunes to the actual reality of a road trip plan. You have kids in tow, which means winging it just won’t be an option for you. Planning and plotting your route in advance allows you the luxury of booking into hotels at different stages of your trip, which is an absolute necessity when you’re tripping out with the kids. Where you can, try to book bed and breakfast. You’ll get good rates and save money during the trip by already eating your breakfast before you head out on the road or to explore. Plus, they are great places to connect with the proprietors who can give you great tips on local activities. Start by planning where you want to end up. Doing this in advance means that you can pick all the routes to get there, and this is where everyone can pile in with their ideas.

Purchase Smart, Purchase Early
When you’re researching your locations, do your planning and booking ahead of time. If you plan to visit Zion National Park as you cross Utah, check out visit ZionGuide.com for more information about how to get through it – park and ride to save the planet! It’s a good idea to buy any attraction tickets in advance while you’re at it, too, because you’re going to be far more organized and you'll avoid standing in lines to purchase when you do this. It’s also a great money saver! Get yourself a folder to store your bookings and tickets in the right order as you’d use them. You can really plan out your days this way, researching restaurants and eateries as you go.

Pack Well and Pack Appropriately
You do not have unlimited space in the car, but unlike airplane packing, you are not limited to what you pack. However, you may be limited in terms of space. You need to pack smartly and bring what you need in terms of clothes. Always bring enough clothing and footwear for around 10 days, then hit up a laundromat as you go to refresh the clothes that you’ve worn. On top of your actual luggage, think about packing individual backpacks for the kids. There’s a very good chance that you will be driving for long stretches of time, which means that you need blankets, reading material, tablet and phone chargers and snacks and each of these should be in easy reach of you. You should also include toiletries and a change of pajamas, so that any night drives can be sorted easily. Don’t forget: if you are traveling with little ones, you should ensure that they are not in their car seats for any longer than 2 hours at a time, so schedule regular stops and breaks to make it easy.

Snack Attack!
“Mom, I’m hungry!” – This is going to be the most used phrase you will hear during the time you’re all on the road together. Road food isn’t always the healthiest, and while you want to spend time together as a family, that doesn’t mean that you want the kids eating junk food. It’s in your best interests, then, to hit the supermarkets wherever you are visiting and stocking up on healthy snacks for the kids. Give them a little control by only giving them healthy options to choose from. You can use Tupperware when you first get on the road, as then you can refill it as you go; less waste and no empty wrappers rolling around your car. You need to consider that your kids should keep as hydrated as possible as you go, so stock up on water in the car but freeze it all first so that it’ll defrost, and you end up with icy drinks!

Unplug
A road trip is the perfect time to tell the kids to let go of their smartphones and tablets and get back in touch with the world and with each other. There are so many road trip games that can be played while people are driving, and you can teach your kids a valuable lesson in being without a screen to have fun. They can read, play word games, card games, and tell stories. Sure, technology can stop them from erupting in arguments, but it’s a good way to teach them how to argue their points effectively and respectfully. Obviously, bring the screens along – just don’t pull them out unless you absolutely need to!

Discover Nature
Being cooped up in a car for an extended period of time can be tricky for kids who like to be on the move. Making sure that you have scheduled stops in natural areas and parks is essential. Kids have energy to burn, and if you schedule your stops this way, they can get stuck into nature. A few years ago, we went camping for the first time, and it's something we'll never forget. There’s something amazing about children getting in touch with nature, so make a point of having a couple of nights camping out. Marshmallows over a fire that they help to build is something so satisfying for a busy parent, because you can see your children in a totally different light and feel so proud of them for trying their very best.

Find The Fun
Adventure hikes, theme parks, zip lines through the mountains, kitschy museums and quirky landmarks, a road trip is not complete without something adventurous to do and you have to seek it out. Get off the beaten path for a truly memorable experience. Trip past the beach and have a sandcastle building competition. Find waterfalls and swim among them. Go on your very first horse riding lesson and seek out a zoo with exotic animals to meet and greet. There is literally no limit for you and your family when you take the time to road trip across the country. There isn’t a shortage of things to do, so book your excursions wisely and plan for every eventuality when you do.

Enjoy Yourself
It’s your vacation, too. The kids and your partner being with you is a bonus, but your road trip is going to be an epic adventure. The planning may well be stressful and ensuring that you’ll have enough money for everything is not always the easiest thing to manage. However, you can truly reconnect with your children and get to know them on a deeper level while you all explore different parts of the country together. If you’re doing that as a family, you are strengthening your bond and choosing to make that effort, which in turn creates memories that you will never ever forget.

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