When you’re on a budget, a family flight is probably out of the question. Even a cheap flight across state lines can reach astronomical levels when you multiply it by the number of people in your family. And then there’s lodging food and entertainment to consider. That’s why the road trip is such a popular option for families. Transportation costs remain the same regardless of how many people you cram into the car.
But road trips also have their own unique set of challenges. Multiple kids in an enclosed space for hours can make for some interesting memories that mom would rather forget. Fortunately, you can sidestep most of the road trip landmines with some advanced planning.
Here are some tips to help you plan the ultimate family winter road trip.
It’s true that we need food for sustenance. But on a road trip, food becomes essential for so many more reasons. It can provide a much-needed break from the monotony of a drive, something to look forward to, and a way to keep your kids from getting hangry. For all these reasons (and possibly more), you’ll want to pack more snacks than you think you’ll need. In an emergency, you can stop at a grocery store, but it’s better to be prepared. And if you’re at all unsure about what everyone wants, ask the kids to help you plan snacks. This way, they’ll remain involved and will be less likely to balk at your selections.
When you’re road-tripping it, the journey is just as important as the destination, or at least, that’s how it should be. Ask the kids to help you plan fun pitstops along the way, or plan your own fun surprises for them. Pitstops should be fun things like parks or museums where everyone can stretch their legs and blow off some steam before getting back into the car. This may set you back a bit on time, but in the process, you’ll keep everyone entertained and make lasting memories.
If you have a large SUV (think Chevy Tahoe size), your family will probably enjoy a comfortable ride with lots of legroom. But if you’re driving an economy-sized vehicle, you may want to consider renting something larger. Remember, you’re saving money by making this vacation a road trip, so you may have the budget to make this happen. If you’re taking a longer trip, like cross-country, consider renting an RV. You’ll spend more on rental and gas, but you may end up saving money when you can avoid lodging expenses. Crunch the numbers to see what’s best for your budget.
Have you ever had to rummage around in the back seat to grab a toy or snack for your kids? Of course, you have. But just imagine doing that on a road trip that lasts a few hours. It’s not ideal, to say the least. The distraction can be dangerous, especially on winter roads, and your kids may get restless if they don’t get what they want. So before you head out on the road, be sure to organize all your kids’ toys and snacks. If possible keep them where your kids can reach them. Naturally, you’ll need to use your judgment with snacks. Regardless of what you decide to drive, make sure it’s serviced and ready to handle winter road conditions.
Road trips are more than just budget-friendly vacations. They offer your family the opportunity to bond and break out of your normal routine. It’s the perfect recipe or creating lasting memories. So start planning where you’ll go on your winter road trip. Wherever it is, may it be warmer than where you are now!