A family road trip is a great way to spend time together and visit some fun and interesting places. But any road trip needs advance planning to ensure that they are fun, not frightful!
Here are our top tips for planning a fabulous family road trip – follow them and you’ll make happy family memories that will last a lifetime.
The first question to think about is where do you want to go? Involve the whole family in deciding where to go and what to see. When travelling with children, it’s best not to drive too far each day and route planning services like those found on the AA’s website will help you work the best route and distance between locations.
Plan your stops
Depending on the age of your children, you will need stops along the way, ideally every two hours or so to let them stretch their legs and have a toilet break. Some research in advance of your trip should help find suitable places to stop, either at motorway service stations , or at somewhere like a park or woodland play area if you are on the smaller roads. The websites of organisations such as the Forestry Commission or the National Trust are useful to help you to find interesting places to stop across the country
Keeping the kids entertained
Speaking from painful experience, children can get bored very quickly during long car trips and they are not shy about letting the adults know about it! An important part of your planning should be thinking about how to keep them entertained during their time in the car. Smaller children will probably enjoy listening to short stories or songs. Slightly older children might like audio books or playing car games such as I-Spy. Alternatively, if you are planning lots of long journeys, a seat back DVD system will keep everyone entertained, although you may have to set up a rota for who chooses the DVD to prevent arguments!
Food and drink
Food and drink is a very important part of a road trip – hungry children can be grumpy children and that’s not something you want if you are stuck in traffic or just at the end of a long drive. Prepare a bag filled with a variety of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks which you can hand out on a regular basis during your trip. It’s also important to keep children well hydrated but bear in mind that toilet facilities en-route may be limited, particularly if you are driving on motorways so keep an eye on fluid intake and don’t let them drink to excess unless you want to be stopping on the hard shoulder every half hour!
Finally, it’s sensible to do some preparation to your car before setting off on any long trip. You should check the oil level, top up the screen wash and check the tyre pressure before you leave. If you are a member of a recovery service, make sure you have your membership card with you.. Alternatively, you might choose to hire a car for your trip and there are car rental companies like Alamo Car Hire, Hertz and many others available in towns and cities across the country.