Planning a family road trip
Savvy Travel & Family Time


Are you planning a family road trip this summer? 2021 is poised to be the year of the road trip, according to a recent survey from Harvest Hosts.

When everything goes to plan, a road trip allows you to recuperate from the stresses of everyday life and forge precious memories that last a lifetime.

When a road trip goes sour, on the other hand, you may just find yourself itching to get back to the office. As it is, you might already be dreading long hours spent behind the wheel and the disgruntled voices from the back seat.

Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your road trip’s success. Whether you’re visiting a neighboring state or embarking on a cross-country trek, here are seven essential driving tips for your upcoming family road trip!

1. Get plenty of rest

Ample rest is paramount to the success of any family road trip. When family members haven’t had enough shut-eye, they can become irritable and frustrated.

Proper sleep is not only vital for morale but also for safety. As a driver, it’s important that you make rest a priority—not only the night before your trip but also the hours between your driving shifts.

Be sure to go to bed on time, stop to take breaks when needed, and be aware of your own fatigue while you’re driving. Remember, your loved ones are depending on you getting them from point A to point B safely!

2. Plan out a realistic schedule

On average, families drive 568 miles during a summer road trip. While you might have no issues driving for many hours each day with minimal breaks, your family might not appreciate this.

Only you know your family’s capacity for time spent in the car. Keep this in mind when plotting your route and determining how many days you’ll spend on the road.

To keep the peace, plan for plenty of pit stops and breaks along the way. It’s even a good idea to allow time for special stops in cities where there are landmarks and monuments you’ve always wanted to see!

3. Drive through the night

Especially with young children, it can be a struggle to keep them content during a long car ride.

If you’re confident in your ability to drive while it’s dark outside and are able to get enough rest during the day, consider doing the majority of the driving through the night.

While the kids are quietly sleeping in the back seat, you’ll enjoy a peaceful and uninterrupted journey!

4. Have an adult sit with the children

While you and your partner might enjoy spending quality time together up front, it can be a challenge to tend to a younger child from the front seat—especially when car seats face the rear of the vehicle.

According to a 2021 survey, 13% of drivers reported that someone had a meltdown within the first hour of their road trip. Be prepared to intervene by having an adult sit in the backseat at some point during your trip!

5. Pack plenty of healthy snacks

Not only do snacks keep blood sugar levels high but they also keep children occupied.

Of course, some snacks are more nutritious than others. Rather than loading up your car with chips, candy, and other junk food items, consider fruit and sources of protein that will give your children the fuel they need for your excursion!

6. Load your vehicle conservatively

When it comes time to load up your vehicle, be intentional about conserving space, and leaving enough room for family members to move around.

Pack lightly in lieu of over-packing. The additional space and comfort this affords your family during a long drive might be worth the minor inconvenience of not having every last luxury item with you!

7. Review your route beforehand

If you haven’t already chosen a route to your destination, check out the different options on your GPS. You may be able to avoid a route that includes multiple tolls or heavy construction simply by checking your GPS ahead of time.

Once more before you leave, review the route you have picked out for your trip. While you’re not expected to know the name of every last exit or on-ramp, having a general idea of where you’re going could save you headaches along the journey.

Making a wrong turn, getting lost, or running into a bout of heavy traffic can delay your arrival and cause frustrations to boil over—not the way to kick off your vacation!

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