Four fail-safe tips to help you prepare for your next family road trip

The Bus Fair Family Friendly

By Lana Daniels

To say that living a nomadic family lifestyle is an adventure is an understatement. Getting to visit new places and take in every inch of your surroundings is exciting, especially with your kids. In a previous post, the Bratcher family notes that taking a road trip with your kids can turn them into lifelong explorers — and who doesn't want that?

However, as with any other excursion, a road trip requires planning to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your trip.

Make a checklist of essentials

When it comes to preparing to hit the road, it's sometimes better to over-pack instead of under-pack. Real Simple's packing list has the basics like spare changes of clothes and first aid kits, but you can also be a bit more creative when it comes to the activities you bring. Aside from relying on electronics, you can bring pads to doodle with, book tapes to listen to, and even postcards that your kids can send to their loved ones from any destination.

Come extra prepared with snacks

Hunger pangs are unavoidable, so it’s best to be prepared and avoid any potential "hangry" tantrums from both your kids and your partner. In Jane Adamson’s lifestyle guide on preparing for a camper trip, she points out that lightweight tableware and shelf-stable food is your best bet. This is a good general rule to keep in mind, even if your camper has a built-in stove. If you find yourself running low on snacks, don’t be afraid to have a pit stop and refuel. Having lots of snacks on hand also means that if you pass by a particularly picturesque site, you can have a scenic meal right away!

Don't feel the need to travel too far

Even if this is your first time planning a road trip, don't feel pressured to travel too far or see too many things right away. Travel writer Andy Cochrane recommends keeping your trips as local as possible. This is especially important as lots of bigger parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone are operating on limited capacity due to the current health crisis. Wherever your starting point is, traveling to nearby locales is a great way to make sure you're really getting to know the ins and outs of each place while also giving your kids ample time to run around and explore.

Treat it like an adventure

Last but not least, the best way to instill a sense of excitement in your kids is to be excited yourself. Each road trip is special, and you can never fully account for what you might see. It's good to have an itinerary, but don't feel pressured to plan out every second and every minute of your trip. In fact, why not ask your kids for some activities they might want to check out during your trip? Giving them this choice makes them feel a little more grown-up and involved in the decision-making process, while it makes you see the trip from their point of view.

And there you have it: four fail-safe tips to help you prepare for your next family road trip. While there are definitely going to be unexpected bumps on the road (pun intended), this is an exciting experience that your family will remember for years to come.