How to Properly Prepare for a Family Road Trip
Road trips are something that the children will love and look forward to months in advance. However, for parents they are a huge responsibility and a logistics challenge. Getting your family on the road means leaving the everyday safe environment and depending on your car, the weather, and luck. However, there are steps that you can take to prepare better for the oncoming trip. By being fully prepared you can prevent all kinds of bad situations from happening and be ready for the ones you cannot explain. Since spending hours in a car with your family can be stressful at times, a road trip is actually something to look forward to if you prepare well enough.
Create a playlist
Needless to say, you cannot chat with your family members all the time. There are dull stretches of the road, especially if it’s a highway, that are ideally traversed to your favorite melody. Burn an audio CD with car music that is suited for listening to while driving. Make sure that the audio format is supported by your CD player, since most players cannot reproduce .mp3 file extensions. Before populating the playlist, consult other family members and don’t forget to include songs for kids as well. Also, avoid having only one performer or a single musical genre as these repetitive notes make you feel drowsy, which can be dangerous while driving. If you forget to burn the CD you are left to the mercy of local radio stations which might play awkward music in a foreign language.
Stop often to rest
Any professional truck driver can teach you of the importance of having frequent breaks from driving while on a long haul. This is not only desirable but mandatory by law in almost every country. Making a short pit stop at least every 6 hours should be a must. When planning your trip, include such stops in the route and the total time needed to cover the distance. The last thing you need is to be in a hurry and stay behind the wheel for periods of seven hours or longer non-stop. You can schedule to stop at fun restaurants that are located in shopping malls, so both of you and the kids would have fun. An alternative is to take turns in driving with other people in the car, like your spouse or siblings.
Wash the care before the trip
Many people falsely believe that a clean car is important only for looking good, but the truth is, cleaning your car is a safety issue. Dirt usually piles up around the edges of the windshield, reducing visibility. A smudged windshield can literally make the difference between life and death, so don’t take washing your car lightly. Make the effort of taking it to a professional car was, like Schmicko before you set off on the road trip. This way, you will know that the car you are driving is safe when it comes to being clean and free from any debris that might spoil the journey.
Pack enough food and water
We mentioned that frequent stops are needed but this doesn’t mean stopping at every gas station to buy candy or snacks. You should have a food reserve in the car such as chocolate bars or potato chips that the passengers can consume instantly. The aforementioned pit stops should be performed only when it comes to major meals such as lunch or dinner. Snacks are never reason enough to stop your car. The same goes for liquids, such as water of coffee. A small package of half a liter water bottle should be placed in the trunk and distributed to all family members. Also, having a thermos filled with coffee near at hand is also a great idea.
Prepare for the unexpected
While you’re on the road you never know what will happen next so be ready for all eventualities. Check if the first-aid kit is well-stocked and don’t shy away from bringing some extra Ban-Aid on the trip. Pack toilet paper, a fresh change of clothes, and a mobile phone charger. Be sure there are enough bags in case somebody feels motion sickness. Also, have a surprise toy ready at hand if the children’s behaviour becomes unbearable. They are not to blame for this; who wouldn’t go crazy after spending hours inside a metal cage travelling at great speeds.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. This saying could not be truer in the case of a family road trip. Only then could you truly relax and enjoy this outing with your family as it was meant to be enjoyed.