Plan the Perfect Summer Road Trip for the Whole Family

Thanks to rising airline prices, more families are choosing to turn their summer vacation into a road trip. Road trips are a great way to save money while exploring the country, but they’re not the easiest thing to pull off. Here are a few steps you need to take when planning a summer road trip for your family.

Perfect Summer Road Trip with family

Plan Your Route

Whether your destination is a few hundred or a few thousand miles away, you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to get there. Decide if you’d like to take the fastest route and stick to interstates, or if you’d prefer the scenic route (even if it takes a little longer). Plan how many miles you’ll cover each day of your adventure and pick out the hotels, motels, or campgrounds you’ll cozy up in at night.

A GPS is great for navigating unfamiliar territory, but always pack an atlas as backup. Some areas of the country may not have reliable reception, and you don’t want to get turned around in the middle of nowhere on a hot summer day.

Schedule Pit Stops

A summer road trip isn’t about getting to your destination as quickly as possible — if it were, you’d be hopping on a plane instead. Capture the true spirit of the road trip by stopping to enjoy fun attractions on the way. Websites like Roadtrippers can help you find the best restaurants, national parks, and roadside attractions along your route.

Making time to check out the sights not only lets you maximize the value (and fun!) of your trip, it also gives you ample opportunity to stretch your legs and burn off restlessness after sitting in a car for hours. This is especially important if you’re traveling with the elderly or energetic kids.

Pick Entertainment Options

Road trips are amazingly fun, but the actual driving can be a drag if you don’t have ways to stay entertained. Prevent boredom behind the wheel by preparing plenty of entertainment options. Adults will enjoy podcasts, audiobooks, and music, all of which can be downloaded to your smartphone ahead of time to save on data.

If there are little ones in tow, you’ll need to get creative. Bored kids can transform a pleasant car ride into a torture chamber, so pack plenty of toys, games, and coloring books to keep them busy. When toys lose their novelty, turn to movies on tablets or car video players. Classic car games are fun and will turn the drive into a lasting memory for kids and parents alike.

Prepare Your Car

Before you head out on your road trip, there’s one more thing to prepare: your car. A breakdown can quickly turn an adventure into a disaster, so take a few steps to ensure your vehicle can handle all the miles you have planned for it. Schedule an oil change, top up the coolant and windshield washer fluid, and make sure the tires are in good condition. This is also a good time to have your car washed and waxed to protect its exterior from the sun, bugs, and other contaminants.

Give the interior a thorough cleaning to help keep everyone comfortable, but save the full detailing until after your return. However, you might want to apply Scotchgard or a similar product to your seats and carpets and take a few other steps to protect your car’s interior from messy kids.

Taking a summer road trip is a wonderful way to create family memories that will last a lifetime, but it can become a stressful experience if you don’t plan ahead. Follow these tips to make your adventure a success.

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