It’s not surprising that road trips are the most popular type of summer vacation that American families take. According to Travel Agent Central, almost 80 percent of the families who took a vacation in 2016 chose a road trip instead of another type of vacation. Road trips are cost effective, and they give families the freedom to stop when and where they like, for as long as they like. Driving also allows families to pack more of what they need and pick up souvenirs along the way.
Traveling together is also a great way for families to bond with one another. This is especially important these days, when many families struggle to maintain a healthy work/life balance and often have a hard time managing to have dinner together more than one or two nights a week.
Read on for five helpful tips you can use to plan your next family vacation.
Think About Renting a Trailer or RV
If you will be traveling for a week or more, you may want to think about renting a trailer or RV if you don’t have one of your own. The benefits of traveling in a trailer or RV are several, particularly if you have small children who get impatient after long hours on the road.
Traveling with an RV or trailer will make it possible for you to stay at campgrounds along the way, which can save you money on places to stay. You will also be able to cook your own meals, which is another potential money saver, as eating out can often burn up more than half of a family’s vacation budget. Cooking your own food can also give your family healthier options for meals than what you’ll find in many restaurants.
Think About the Places You’ll Stop at Ahead of Time
One of the fun things about a family vacation is planning it. Once you know where you’re going, find out what attractions are along your route. Maybe there’s a hiking spot you’ve always wanted to try, or an amusement park where you can all enjoy a fun afternoon. Don’t forget to look for interesting museums along the way, too.
“Any time you go on a trip, check out local activities to make sure you’re making the most of each visit,” says the team over at Sky High Sports, a trampoline park in Santa Clara. “You’d be surprised at the fun activity centers and parks you’ll find if you do a little extra research early on.”
Knowing what you’d like to see before your trip starts will help give your vacation some organization, as well as give everyone some things they can look forward to seeing. But remember that often the best things about a road trip are the unexpected adventures. Advanced planning doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make unplanned stops along the way.
Have a Plan For Where You Will Stay
The last thing you want is to arrive at a hotel or campground after a day of driving to discover that there are no accommodations available. Whether you’ll be camping or staying at hotels or in rental homes, it’s smart to make reservations for the places you’ll be staying ahead of time.
Do Some Research Ahead of Time
It is always worth it to find out about the destinations you will be going to before you arrive. Doing this will help you and your family get more out of your road trip. If you will be visiting a wildlife reservation, for instance, you may want to look up what types of animals and plants can be found there or find out about scenic areas your family might want to see. If you will be visiting a city, find out what the best attractions are and see about purchasing tickets in advance. You might also consider making reservations for tours ahead of time so you will be sure to get the bookings you want.
Know What to Do if Something Goes Wrong
Nobody likes to think about getting hurt or sick on vacation, but it sometimes happens. Pack a first-aid kit that includes things like cold medicine, bandages, and an over the counter pain reliever. If you will be traveling to different countries or to another state, be sure to contact your health insurance carrier before your trip to ask if you will be covered. If not, you might want to consider purchasing a travel insurance policy that includes health coverage.