Road Trip 101 for Epic Family Fun
If you’ve ever wanted to skip work for weeks on end and see the country, there’s no better time than now. First, and most importantly, your kids are getting older every day, and the window of opportunity to travel during their formative years closes a little with each passing birthday. Plus, gas prices are reasonably stable and technology on your smartphone means you can score a great deal on the go. But any trip with kids takes planning, and there are a few things to think about as you gear up to hit the open road.
Where will your travel take you?
The best part about a road trip is that you can go wherever there is access, and you can do it on your own time. Money Crashers explains that it’s beneficial, however, to plan your route so that you can best budget for accommodations, fuel, and food. Plus, if you have younger children in tow, you will need to make sure to stick close to main roads since bathroom breaks will be requested often, on demand, and without warning. This does not mean that you can’t stray off the beaten path, but that requires planning as well.
Make sure your vehicle can handle the terrain. Many of the nation’s best hidden gems won’t be found via a compact car. A vehicle with four-wheel-drive is a must if you plan to head out to the back country or the mountains, or if you will encounter unpaved roads during your journey. If this is the case, and you’ll be on the road for more than a few days, it may be cheaper to buy a used vehicle with these capabilities than to rent. Check with your local car dealer or on sites like Craigslist for used vehicles, but make sure to price compare with other online listing sites like Gumtree to ensure you’re getting a good deal. Not only will you avoid potential damage to your own family car, but you can sell your new acquisition when you get home to help recoup some of your excursion expenses.
A variety of accommodations
One of the neatest parts about a long road trip is that you are not stuck to one form of accommodation. In other words, you won’t have to spend your entire trip in one hotel room, and you can let your children experience multiple vacation styles. This will give your trip some structure and give you a home base for a few nights to recover from being crammed in the car. On days when your travel is freestyle, you can almost always book a hotel room from the car. Money explains that last-minute hotel deals are easy to find and will allow you to capitalize on cancellations.
Photo of the Historic Madison Hotel, West Yellowstone, Montana
Packing for a long trip, especially with all the gear you need for the kids, may not be easy. First, consider the types of activities that you’ll do. For example, if you plan to fish in the many spots available in and around Yellowstone, you’ll need fishing rods, reels, and other tools. In this instance, a compact or telescoping fishing pole will keep your vehicle from clutter while ensuring you have everything you need to best enjoy your outings. Likewise, pack only the clothes you expect to use in a single week and leave everything else behind. Use your pre-planned stops to do laundry, just make sure your rentals offer access to a washer and dryer.
Save on food
Food will be one of your biggest expenses while you’re away from home. Plan to skip eating out as often as possible if you want your dollars to travel further. If you have a good cooler, you can keep muffins, sandwiches, and a few other car-friendly meals handy for a few days between stops. But don’t forgo sampling local cuisine since food is part of the experience. Deal site TheKrazyCouponLady.com recommends visiting local events and festivals as a way to score discount coupons to restaurant you’d like to try.
It’s going to take some work to plan appropriately, but a long road trip with your family is one of the best ways to bond, and all of your work will be repaid tenfold in memories. Good luck and safe travels!
Image via Pixabay
AUTHOR: Daniel Sherwin