8 Tips for Making Your Family Road Trip a Success

A version of this article was first published on WeekendRVAdventures.com

Every summer families across the country hit the open road in the hopes of finding fun and adventure with their loved ones.  While a road trip can be one of the most rewarding experiences for families, it can also be filled with unforeseen challenges and setbacks.  

In this article, we’ll be covering a few key essentials that will help you to avoid these setbacks as you embark on your vacation.

Travel In An RV

You should forget about booking a hotel and eating out for each and every meal.  When you travel using an RV, you drastically reduce your costs while on the road.  If you haven’t ever driven an RV before, it’s no problem. There are plenty of places across the country that you can simply rent an RV to try out.  Consider these 5 things to before you buy.

If you find yourself in the market to buy an RV, outdoor expos and conventions are great places to find off grid camper models usually at lower prices.

Traveling in an RV also makes planning your road trip much easier because when you’ve had enough driving you can simply pull into a free campground, truck stop or highway rest area and call it a night.  You don’t need to book a hotel or even worry about moving your luggage from your car to the room.  There are tons of hidden benefits to going this route instead of the traditional hotel room.

Taking an RV on your road trip also means that you can save money on the food you and your family eat while on vacation.  We’ll get into the specifics on food a bit later.

Create a Road Trip Gameplan

The most successful road trips utilize a well-planned day to day strategy.  By thinking ahead of time and planning a rough outline for your travels, you will ensure that your family gets the most out of your vacation.

The key here is to not cram too much into one day.  Be sure to give yourself some cushion time in between the stops and sights you’d like to visit during your road trip.  Chances are that a handful of places on your trip will capture your attention more than others, so give yourself room to explore freely.  Want to stay a bit longer at one of your destinations? Now you can, because you’ve planned ahead of time.

Create a list of the essential sights that you and your loved ones would like to experience while on the road.  Plan loosely around these visits to fit into your overall road trip’s window of time. By having a rough plan, you’ll stay on schedule without feeling rushed.

Perform Regular Maintenance On Your Vehicle

It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about equipment, household appliances, or gadgets.  Everything has a way of breaking down over time.  Your vehicle is no different. In the weeks leading up to your road trip be sure to do an overall check across your vehicle.

This list should include:

  • Tire Pressure
  • Oil
  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield Wiper Fluid
  • Air Filters
  • Headlights
  • Brake lights
  • Turn Signals
  • Battery
  • Trailer Hookups (If applicable)
  • Emergency Kit

Your family will be much safer by performing these basic maintenance checks on your vehicle before embarking on your road trip.  These will also save you the hassle and money of potentially getting pulled over because of a broken tail light.  No one wants a perfectly peaceful afternoon drive ruined by a flat tire or an expensive ticket that could have been avoided.

Meal and Snack Prep

Like we mentioned before, one of the advantages of taking an RV on your road trip is being able to prepare your meals and snacks ahead of time.  Since most RVs have refrigerators and kitchen units, you’ll be able to keep perishables fresh for longer and cook when you need to. The size of your family and the length of your trip will determine how much food you’ll need to prepare.

A few great meal and snack prep ideas are:

  • Freshly cut up veggies and fruits
  • Mixed nuts and seeds
  • Meats and cheeses
  • Sandwich makings
  • Cheese/Peanut butter and crackers

Invest in some plastic Tupperware and divide each of these servings out depending on how long you’ll be on the road.  The best part is that you don’t have to do your meal prep all up front.

If you find yourself at the halfway point of your road trip and out of snacks, just stop in at the nearest grocery store to stock up on your favorite snacks.  You and your family can set aside a bit of time to prepare the second half of your trip’s food supply.

Put Down The Phones and Tablets

Now that you’re on the road, put down the phones and tablets for your trip.  This may seem counterintuitive to most, but isn’t the whole idea of taking a family road trip to escape the day-to-day grind and reconnect with your loved ones?

We’ve become so accustomed to using these devices for everything that we’ve forgotten how to function without them at every turn.  Family road trips are great for having memorable conversations and discovering adventure together as a group.  You’ll be glad you put your phone down when you look back on these memories in the future.

This isn’t to say that you should leave your devices behind.  Obviously, there are ways that you can use your devices to benefit your family time during your road trip.  Using your phone to get driving directions, take photos, or find places to eat are all examples that won’t separate you from your family.  Apps like ‘Moment’ can help you to become aware of your phone use and help to limit your screen time.

The rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t be distracted from your family on your family road trip.  Pretty simple.

Pack A Map

Always have a physical map on hand.  We do live in the smartphone age, however, you never know when you won’t have the service to load Google maps on your device.  It’s better to have a map and not need it, rather than need it and not have it.

Another advantage of using a physical map is that you and your family can mark it up as you make progress during the road trip.  This will make a great memento that you use to look back on your fun adventure with your loved ones.

Plan Out Your On Road Entertainment

Whether your traveling with young children, teenagers or other grown adults, you’ll want to have a few go-to’s for your on-road entertainment.  This is actually an often overlooked aspect of planning out road trips. There’s nothing to do 15 minutes into the drive and everyone ends up putting in earphones and being hypnotized by their smartphone.

Planning out the on-road entertainment ahead of time can help ensure that your family interacts with each other while on your road trip.

A few ideas for on-road entertainment are:

  • Card games
  • 20 questions road trip game
  • The out of state license plate game
  • Road trip scavenger hunts/travel bingo
  • Audiobooks for the whole family
  • An old fashioned game of ‘I Spy’

These are only a few examples.  A quick google search will give you loads of other ideas for on-road entertainment for your family.  These moments in between stops can end up being the best moments of your trip if you take a bit of time to prepare.

Keep A Clean Vehicle

Keeping a clean vehicle during your road trip is a no brainer, but it’s often and easily overlooked.  Setting this as a rule early on in your road trip will make life easier on every member of your family.  Mom and dad won’t be stressed due to the mess and it can actually be a fun “mission” to give your kids.  “Whoever collects the most items of trash gets a treat!” is a great way to motivate the kids. 

At every stop you make, your family can take a few extra seconds to gather up any trash to dispose of.  This will make the overall trip more enjoyable and make cleaning up after you get back home a much easier experience.

Well, there you have it.  8 tips for making your family road trip a success.  We hope these tips help you to plan out an exceptionally enjoyable road trip for you and your loved ones.  

Remember to enjoy the journey wherever you’re headed and make the most out of the time with your family.

Drive safe and enjoy your vacation!

Don’t forget to visit our Off-Grid Expo on October 4-6, 2019 taking place the weekend of Oct 4-6, 2019 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds just 20 minutes west of Denver!