family road trip tips

Planning and going on a road trip can be very exciting. You can get to see places you would not visit if you were traveling any other way. You also have the freedom to stay at each one for a long as you want. There are no restrictions because of flight or train times, it is totally up to you. Being safe on a road trip is important though, so you need to do some preparation and planning first.

America is a huge country and when it is raining in one state it could be brilliant sunshine in another. Keep your eye on the weather, and try to move from state to state when it is at its best. There is no end of sites online that will help you with this information when you are planning your road trip.

Make Sure All The Seat Belts Work Properly

You must ensure that all the seat belts are working properly and that passengers use them. 50% of injuries and deaths in road accidents in the US are the result of someone not wearing their seatbelt. In fact, this is the number one cause of deaths, up to the age of 54, for Americans.

Don’t forget the car seats for little ones or that different states have varying rules regarding these. You will have to make sure that any car seats you have comply with the laws of any state you will be traveling through.

Check Your Car

You have to ensure that your car is roadworthy before you set off. Check things like the oil, tire depths and pressures, wipers blades and wiper fluids. Have a spare tire in the trunk and make sure that is in good condition and properly inflated. It is also advisable that you know how to change a tire if that becomes necessary.

Look at your insurance coverage and check that it is still valid. You should let your insurance company know what you are planning. This is just so that if you have an accident in a state other than where you live, you can still get the help you need without any delays.  

Having a car alarm is also a good idea so that you are made aware if anyone is tampering with your vehicle. You could have to leave it by the roadside or in a car park overnight, so a 2-way car alarm could prove to be very useful.

Once your car is ready, what do you need to do next?

Some Things You Should Pack

Of course, you will need to pack some clothes, but you should keep them to a minimum, as there will be so many other things you need. You should have a bag of supplies, such as water and snacks in case you do not pass through a town for a long while so cannot buy any. Do not forget to replenish the supplies when you have used them.

Most people have smartphones with navigation on them, and apart from the annoying voice telling you which way to go, they can be the easiest way to get to places you have never been before. Don’t forget to pack a charger for them.

What if you break down or get lost in the middle of nowhere and you have no phone reception, then the digital navigation will not be much use. You should always carry paper maps and a compass as a backup, so that in this scenario you can still find your way to safety.

You should include a first aid kit in the things you pack. It does not need to be anything huge but should include plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, headache tablets and of course you should take any other medication that anyone traveling with you may need.

Some basic tools might prove an advantage, and you should also have a flashlight, a reflective vest, and a caution triangle. These are to ensure your safety if you break down on a roadside and are waiting for assistance.

This is because if it breaks down they get a replacement vehicle fairly quickly, without having to face large repair bills. Although this is an extra cost, if it means you will have a larger and more comfortable vehicle without any problems, it could be the best option.

Keep The Kids Entertained

Traveling through rugged countryside can be pretty spectacular unless you are only 4 or 5 years old. Some things that adults will enjoy kids will find pretty boring, especially if you have been traveling for a few hours. Pack a few things to keep them entertained, such as a tablet if they have one, coloring books and crayons or maybe some magnetic travel games.

Stop often to let them run around for a while and burn off some of their energy, otherwise, they will not only be bored they will start to misbehave as well. Children, especially young ones, do not have a great attention span and will get fed up of the terrain much sooner than you.

You Need Some Sleep

In a couple of days before you leave you will be very busy sorting the car out and getting it packed. It really is very important that you get a good night's sleep after this, so that you are refreshed when you set off. A tired driver is a dangerous driver and getting enough sleep while you are traveling is just as crucial. Driving itself can be very tiring, and you should make sure you get enough breaks during the day, and a good rest every night. In fact, the ideal is to be able to take some time away from the wheel if you find places you really enjoy and are happy to stay for a couple of days. Alternatively, if you are able to share the driving that can be a huge help as well.

Research has shown that every year more than 1500 road accidents happen in the US because of tired drivers. As your eyelids start to droop so do your reaction times, and you may even fall asleep at the wheel. This is not just a danger to you and the occupants of your vehicle, but also to other road users as well.

Of course, the same could be said of people who consume alcohol and then drive, which should be something you never do while you are on your road trip. In 2010, on just one day there were 158 deaths nationwide that were caused by people who had been drinking and then drove.

Enjoy The Experience!!!!

Your car has been checked out, or you have hired one, and everything has been packed. There is still enough room to fit you and your kids in so all you need to do now is get going. Remember to fill the tank before you set off, and keep it that way, as you cannot be certain how often you will see gas stations.

Enjoy the experience, which is one that many people repeat as they love road trips so much. See some places you have never been, meet the locals and join in the fun.