We’ve talked about traveling with kids before, but beyond the checklists, there are a variety of things you can do to make the most of your trip and avoid common pitfalls.
In this article we’re going to focus on road trips, since they tend to be more budget-friendly and since flying and ocean cruises are obviously different in many important ways.
As we’ll see, it all starts with planning: if you plan ahead, you can anticipate common issues as well as chances for maximum fun and family enjoyment. These 5 tips will help you out considerably.
Tip 1): Choose How to Travel
We’re going to assume that it goes without saying you have an idea about where you want to go, but how you get there is another matter entirely. What vehicle will you take, and what route?
Assuming you’re staying within the country, the very best way to do family vacation travel is by motorhome. Travel by motorhome is both budget-friendly and conducive to ease and convenience for the entire family.
With a motorhome, you can cook your own food in a kitchen and have a guaranteed place to sleep every night. There’s also the matter of having a bathroom, meaning no desperate bathroom breaks.
Don’t own a motorhome? No problem, they’re easy enough to rent for a trip.
Tip 2): Get Insured
There are risks whenever you travel, and that means travel insurance is your friend. Any number of things could go wrong, so you’ll want to make sure you’re covered.
If you’re traveling by car or motorhome, make sure you know what your insurance does and does not cover.
Another reason motorhomes are such a fantastic way to travel is because of extended service plans, like the trailer service plan Good Sam offers. You’ll never have to stress about mechanical repairs again.
Tip 3): Look for Budget-Friendly Detours and Attractions
Traveling isn’t all about the destination – it’s also about the journey, particularly if you’re traveling by car or especially by motorhome.
On that note, it’s a good idea to think of your trip not in terms of one big destination, but rather many different experiences you can have along the way.
If you’re traveling across several states, look for state and national parks and other budget-friendly family attractions and detours. Even an unusual piece of roadside art or a notable local museum might be worth a stop if not a detour.
This is a great way to make the most of your trip in more ways than one. For one thing, you can be assured that your family will have more fun, and make many more wonderful family memories.
For another thing, you’re likely to find that the experience of traveling is better for all concerned if you can give your children a chance to stretch their legs and use up some of their nervous energy before you reach your ultimate destination.
Tip 4): Travel as Lightly as You Can
If you’re like most parents, you’ll find it tempting to pack everything you think you might need, everything your kids enjoy at home. For many parents, the theory here is that the familiar will help your children maintain a consistent routine, and you’ll never be without anything.
This is one of those times where the theory is very different from the reality.
The reality is that you should try to travel as lightly as you can.
Packing everything you think you might need means you’ll have to deal with everything. Think about not only the space in your vehicle, but also the weight you’ll have to carry around.
And, too, things can get lost or broken, especially on a trip. You’re traveling, so familiar routines will have to go by the wayside to some degree anyway. Why add extra frustration and soreness for you to all that?
Besides, if it turns out you don’t have something you actually do need, you’ll likely be able to buy it on the road.
Tip 5): Let Your Kids Entertain Themselves
You’re going to need ways to keep your kids occupied and entertained, particularly on the road, and the very best way to do that is to allow them to entertain themselves. This has the advantage of keeping them happy and distracted while minimizing hassle and fuss for you.
For many children these days, that will mean bringing a tablet loaded up with games. Don’t forget a charger and one or two fully-charged power banks.
As a bonus, you can include some white noise or other soothing sounds on the tablet, and play those to help your child sleep.
You might also think about bringing some books, puzzles, or simple games – think of card-based games, like Apples to Apples, that are light and easy to play and pack.