Here we are in the middle of summer which means for many families…road trip! Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, and Orlando are just a few hot spots for traveling families but regardless of whether you’re spending a few hours in the car or several days, comfort is important. Having been a road-tripper since I was a child (yes, that photo is of my siblings and I during a family road trip), I’ve had my share of miles on the road. Here are few things to consider before your clan departs:
1. Your ride. My husband and I have gone through more cars than we like to admit. A couple of times it has been the addition of a new family member that has sparked our “must get a new car with more room” fever. What I can say is this, not every car is ideal for travel. We’ve done the Prius thing and it’s marvelous for gas milage but not great for road trips if you have a large family. We’ve also owned a much roomier Tahoe which sits on the opposite side of the gas-friendly scale. Today, we own a Honda Odyssey and it’s not a Prius in gas milage column, but it is all kinds of comfortable…from the spaciousness to the walk through option from front to back to the trunk space. If you don’t have a comfy car consider renting one or swapping with a friend or family member for your trip.
2. Snacks. Having plenty of food and drinks on hand can keep a family happy until the next stop. I’m not sure who doesn’t do this, it’s pretty obvious, but still a good reminder since sometimes life can be chaotic leading up to a trip. Besides, going to the market and stocking up beforehand beats gas station prices on the road, plus you can make healthier food choices: trail mix, grapes, or carrots, anyone?
3. Trash bags. Don’t you love having to clean out the car when you stop for gas? There’s nothing like finding crunched up hamburger wrappers, spare french fries, and snack wrappers wedged between the seats. Forget that. Keep a wad of trash bags in your glove compartment and always keep a bag in the back and in the front.
4. Easy on-off shoes. This tip goes for the entire family. It drives me absolutely batty when we pull into rest stop and the kids have to put on their lace-up shoes. It takes forever! I learned this early on, so now we have a slip-on shoe rule that even I follow. Beware though, slip on/off shoes can get lost, or rather fall, if you’re standing on a bridge. My story takes place on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge in 1990. Yes, this is one the funniest family memories I have as a kid. My sister’s shoe somehow came off and my brother accidentally bumped it. We watched it fall down, down, down into the gorge never to be found.
5. Navigation. In the olden days we called this idea a map and we used a highlighter to trace our routes. Today, our phones, iPads, and built-in car navigation systems guide us without many qualms. The secret here is to pre-plan your trip by ensuring your route is free of construction or road blocks.
And those are five tips for road trip comfort. I’m pretty sure after my next trip I will have a few more to add. Happy and safe travels to all!