There is no better time to take a road trip than in the summer – the wind in your hair, blowing over your hand as you stretch it out the window, the hot sun on your face – heaven on earth.
Road trips are tons of fun, but they do need to be done responsibly – otherwise, they can quickly turn into hell.
When you have a family with small kids, the chance of that hell erupting over your carefully planned journey gets increased exponentially. Traffic jams, screaming kids, and a broken AC are all ways to ruin what should otherwise be an incredible experience.
But worry not – here are a few ways to keep your sanity intact and enjoy the trip even more.
Below are five ways to stay stress-free on the roads:
1. Plan Your Route
When people are younger, and their responsibilities are as underdeveloped as their savings accounts, road tripping anywhere is pretty much always an option.
When in your mid-30s, with two children under five, your route needs to be predetermined and triple-checked.
Sign up for traffic updates from your local radio station and use your favorite routing app to get you all the information you need to plan your route.
2. Have Your Car Serviced
If your car hasn’t been for a service recently, have it checked out thoroughly the week before you embark. Get qualified mechanics to check the oil, coolant, and screenwash levels and top them up accordingly. Have your tires, shocks, and breaks inspected for any problems and replace whatever needs replacing.
The last thing anyone wants is to be stuck on the side of the road in a broken vehicle with hungry and unhappy kids. Ensure sure everything is in good working order and properly maintained before you hit the road, and everyone will be laughing and having a great time.
3. Check Your Insurance
Before any trip, especially a long-distance one, you need to double-check your insurance policy. Car insurance is a must-have when road tripping in a foreign country. If you don’t have any, make sure to research Traveler’s car insurance costs to ensure that you budget accordingly.
The best travel insurance will protect you against multiple things going wrong during your trip, including canceling your trip for reasons that are not under your control, as well as delayed departures and medical emergencies, among other things.
4. Create A Playlist
A road trip is almost entirely worthless without music. Well… almost.
Road trips get taken to have the wind in your hair, the sun in your face, and your favorite songs playing so you can sing along. If that level of cheesy isn’t for you, then I don’t know what kind of monster you are. Just kidding…mostly.
Have your favorite songs at the ready, and be prepared to enjoy the sounds and sights that your trip will offer.
5. Stay Hydrated
Road tripping during the hottest months may sound like the best summer holiday you’ve had in a while, but you must stay adequately hydrated during your journey. Include enough stops along the way to use the restroom and stock up on snacks – you’ll need to.
6. Be Ready For Whatever Happens
No matter how prepared you are, your mileage may be affected by unexpected circumstances along the way. Be ready for them and expect to be able to react swiftly when they occur.
You may bump into cars that cut you off, slide on black ice, or maybe someone pulling out in front of you in order to take a photo of a roadside attraction, none of which is your fault. Do not let your anger get the best of you. Handle such situations calmly.
7. Check your tires
Always check your tires before setting off on any trip. If you don’t know how to do it, there are many emergency service providers that can check your tires for free. An experienced technician will quickly identify any problems and tell you what to do about them.
8. Check Your Lights
Make sure all your lights are in good working order and that you have fresh batteries and a full tank of gasoline. Also, make sure the bulbs in your headlights and taillights are good and bright. A working car is a happy car.
9. Be mindful of children
Children can make or break any road trip, but they are an inevitable part of your journey. You may have a family with small kids that you’ll be taking on your road trip, or they may be older children. Whatever the case is, you need to ensure that your children behave accordingly while you are driving. Ensure they’re buckled up properly, and that they don’t distract you while you’re behind the wheel.
Make sure they are occupied with their favorite toys or books if they start getting tiresome during your trip.
10. Take regular breaks
Taking regular breaks will keep everyone refreshed and relaxed while on your road trip.
Rest stops and coffee shops are great places to pull over, stretch your legs, relieve yourself, or simply get a cup of your favorite beverage to stay hydrated.
Taking regular breaks will keep you energized and calm during your road trip. It also gives you time to enjoy the views along the way.
11. Don’t overload yourself
Overloading your car with too much luggage is one sure way of ruining your road trip experience. Ensure that you have enough space in your car to drive comfortably and enjoy the sights along the way. This also means your car wouldn’t be stressed out by carrying unnecessary items.
The most important thing is to have a good time. If you are on a long trip, it is advisable that you take frequent breaks. These breaks allow your body and mind to rest, relax and recuperate. Remember the importance of keeping calm as you are driving and obeying all traffic laws as well. If you follow the above tips, your road trip should be nothing short of incredibly amazing – be safe and enjoy!