As summer draws nearer, the urge to motor across the country with your family in tow becomes irresistible. But it’s been a while, and you might feel like your road-tripping skills have grown rusty. And while the thought of getting out and about and seeing the sights is tempting, you’ll first need to make sure that you, your family, and especially your car are ready to hit the highway. If you’re ready to get back into the driver’s seat, here are some handy tips on how to successfully survive a family road trip!
Have the Car Checked
Never leave the state without ensuring that a professional has looked over your vehicle. You should already be taking in your car for periodic checkups every few months, according to the owner’s manual (which makes for good reading, by the way). Have them change your oil, check or replace the other fluids—transmission, washer, brake, etc—according to their schedules as well. There’s plenty riding on your wheels, so ensure they’re up to snuff and inflated to the proper PSI. Don’t forget the spare. Starting your journey in a clean car is always ideal and helps it stay mostly habitable by the journey’s end.
When you pack, bring only what you need and nothing more. Driving lighter takes stress off your car, ensuring better gas mileage and less pressure on the tires. It also leaves room for souvenirs and, more importantly, necessities for keeping your family safe on the road. Bundle up an emergency kit that includes a tire jack and lug wrench, road flares or blinking signals, jumper cables, tire sealant, empty gas can, full water jug, blankets, utility tool, and a flashlight with extra batteries. Add more the farther you go into the backcountry or wilderness.
Bring Healthy Snacks
Eating on the road is a blast, and your kids will appreciate the assortment of fun foods you’ll enjoy along the way and at your destination. But break up the monotony of fast food and greasy-spoon restaurants with healthy treats. A convenient cooler packed with ice, water bottles, and snacks that do a body good will keep you and your family well-nourished, and your stomachs free from road sickness. Be sure to bring fruits, vegetables, beef jerky, string cheese, crackers, granola, protein bars, assorted nuts, etc.
Keep Things Lively!
When you’re traveling with kids, remember they have a greater capacity to become excited or bored than you do, sometimes swiftly switching from one mode to another. If you want to know how to successfully survive a family road trip, make sure you adequately occupy your little ones. Download an audiobook or two. Set up a few games like road bingo and pack surprise packages of snacks, cheap games, and toys that they can entertain themselves with every hour on the hour.