Traveling solo or as a couple is easy. You can pretty much do whatever you want without having to worry about anyone else. Throw caution to the wind, pick a location, and off you go.
Unplanned road trips, random bus rides, and mystery plane travel await the adventurous.
But traveling with the entire caboodle in tow?
Now that’s a challenge, especially when there are small children involved. Whether you’re going on a road trip to the beach, visiting another country or camping, you need to have a plan.
Here are five summer travel tips that can help ensure you don’t go stir crazy and actually enjoy the time spent with your loved ones.
Tip 1: Make Preparations in Advance
There’s an old saying that states not having a plan is planning to fail (or something like it). By all accounts, this little snippet of wisdom checks all the boxes. When traveling with your family, not having a plan is flirting with disaster. Remember, you’re not flying solo anymore.
What preparations? For starters, you have to allow at least two weeks to a month of advanced prep time. This means staking out airline and hotel websites for flash seat sales or room discounts. Advanced booking and seat selection are also your friends to ensure everyone stays together.
The same applies to road trips. Scope out several locations and narrow your choice to the best one that everyone agrees on. Plan your route to include plenty of stops where you can stretch and admire the scenery.
Tip 2: Make Sure Your Car is Road Worthy
If you’re going on a road trip, the most crucial tool in your bag is your car. Make sure it’s up to the task by taking it to the shop. Tell the mechanic to check everything – brakes, lights, clutch, AC, water, fluids, suspension – the works.
If you’re renting a vehicle, don’t forget to check vin number for a detailed history of the car. It pays to be safe while on the road, especially with your family.
Tip 3: Have a Flexible Schedule
You don’t have to follow a rigid schedule on your trip. If you have a zillion items on your list of things to do and places to visit, chances are you won’t be able to fit all with the limited time you have. Plus, there’s the fact that what if your kids don’t want to go where you want to go?
Say you plan a trip to a museum, and your toddler throws a tantrum. You won’t have a choice but to calm your child down and call it quits. Your best bet is to have a short list of “can’t miss places” and just add more to everyone’s leisure.
Tip 4: Get Input from Everybody
Getting your family’s input on where to go next or what they want to do makes the trip a lot more fun. This way, everyone gets to try something new and do what they really want. This tip ties well with the previous advice of not relying on a rigid schedule.
Tip 5: Have Some Alone Time
Strive to get a few hours of alone time with your spouse. A date night can cap off a fantastic trip, especially if you spend entire days glued to your kids. Choose a family friendly resort that has a supervised kiddie area and activities. This way, you can leave your children for a few hours and get to enjoy each other’s company.
Summer travel with your family can be an enjoyable bonding experience. By incorporating these tips into your own routine, you can guarantee that everyone will stay safe and have a blast.
Patrick Peterson, born and raised in the automotive world, regularly test-drives new vehicles on highways and back roads. As the editor and publisher of AutoDetective, he is passionate about everything related to cars. He’s also a frequent contributor who crafts exquisite content on automotive topics for high authoritative websites across the U.S.