Are you and the kiddos ready to embark on a trip to remember? A cross-country road trip is a great way for you and your children to experience different cultures, cuisines, and history throughout America. However, planning a trip like this is no easy task, especially when you have multiple suitcases to pack, mouths to feed, and brains to keep entertained.
Below, we’re going to go over how to plan the ultimate cross-country road trip for you and your family. From what to pack to how to plan your route, you’ll be ready to hit the road and make lasting memories in no time.
Make sure your car is up to snuff
First and foremost, you’re going to need a reliable vehicle to make it across the country and back. If you’re driving a 2002 minivan that has well over a hundred thousand miles, you may find yourself stuck on the side of the road in the middle of Kansas with the closest help an hour away. To prevent your trip from being ruined due to an unreliable car, plan well in advance to save up for a new or pre-owned vehicle with limited miles.
You can save money on your new investment by honing in on your negotiating skills and getting a fair deal. Selling your car is another excellent way to get some extra cash to put toward your new vehicle purchase as well. Lastly, make sure you do your research if you need to buy a new car. Going from dealership to dealership will allow you to compare prices and speak with different dealers to see who will offer you the best deal. Of course, buying isn’t your only option. You can also rent a car, too. There are plenty of rental car companies and even apps that allow you to rent a car. Just remember there are different costs that come with renting, so do your research and plan accordingly.
Plan your route
Once you have your ride set, it’s time to begin the fun part—planning your route. You’re starting point is most likely going to be where you live. But where do you go after that? That’s up to you to decide! The best way to plan your route is by grabbing a map and your computer and making a list with your family of all the places you’d like to see, such as:
Colleges or universities
Cities and towns
With your map, place a needle on every attraction you’d like to visit. This way, you’ll be able to connect the dots to create the shortest and fastest route. Ultimately, the places you see depends on your time limit and budget. If there’s an attraction that is off the beaten path and will add a few hours or even a day to see, it’s probably best you omit it.
There are also road trip planning apps that can help you create the easiest route to get from point A to point B, and gas saving apps to reduce your overall road trip cost. From places to eat and stay to hidden gems and major tourist attractions, a planning app, or even a travel agent can help ease the burden of planning a week or month-long trip.
Lastly, don’t get too stuck on your itinerary. When you visit a place, you may bump into locals who suggest a cool or interesting attraction. Give yourself some wiggle room to visit unique places and navigate around detours and roadblocks. It’ll make your trip much more memorable.
With your plans all set and take-off time approaching, it’s time to begin packing. It’s easy to forget essential items, such as chargers and toothpaste, which is why it’s important to create a list of must-have items and invest in organized handbags to keep easy-to-lose items like chapstick or your wallet.
Items you better not forget on your road trip include:
* Cosmetics, such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, facial scrubs, toothpaste, and sunscreen
* Chargers for your phone, laptop, and digital camera
* Portable car battery charger
* Extra layers of clothes for unexpected cold weather
* Footwear for different activities, such as hiking boots, sandals, and sneakers
* Emergency aid kit for unexpected accidents
* Roadside emergency tool kit
Lastly, you’re going to want to bring a few items to keep your little ones entertained for those moments you’re driving through cornfields for hours or down endless highways in the desert. Some engaging games and things-to-do include:
* Compact games good for car rides such as Hungry Hippo and Bop It
* Music playlists with a variety of genres, such as rock, pop, kids, classical, 70s, and so on
* Playlists suitable for kids and adults
* Portable DVD player
Time to get going!
With these tips handy, it’s time to buckle up and get on the road. Who knows, maybe your family cross-country road trip will inspire you to create your own travel blog. From buying the right car to packing all the essentials, these tips will ensure your road trip goes as planned.