How to Nail the Great Family Road Trip Experience

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The great family road trip can be something straight out of your dreams or a terrible, drawn-out nightmare. It depends entirely on how well you set your expectations and how well you prepare for reality. If you expect everything to go smoothly, for the stretches of road to feel like a movie montage, and for no one to have any reason to complain – think again. 

Road trips can be wonderful, but you need to understand the effort they take and how exhaustion can easily set in, no matter how exciting the next destination is. This is particularly true for the driver, so don’t think it will just be your kids who have a problem. Your trip can be epic, but nailing it the first time is going to take a bit of planning and some big decisions. 

Travel in Comfort in Your Own Home Away from Home 

If you want to go on road trips several times a year, or at least once every summer, then your best bet is to find a great used RV for sale in your price range. Over the years, the cost will be substantially lower than trying to pay for gas, insurance and hotel accommodation for your whole family. With an RV, you can be home wherever you go. In return, you’ll be more relaxed, have less to unpack and pack every day, and feel closer to a community of families just like you at the RV campsites. 

Book in Advance 

Whether you are staying in a hotel or in your very own RV, you are still going to want to book well in advance. In peak season, you will see a lot of tourists head to the hot spots of national parks, and so if that is on your itinerary this summer, you’ll want to secure your place. 

This particularly applies to RV campsites. Many people dismiss booking because they already have a bed to sleep on in their RV, but if you want to set up camp for a few days or even the whole summer while you head out and explore the surrounding areas, a campsite is the way to do it. 

There are private campsites and those manned by the state. The ones with the best amenities and views are going to fill up fast. Therefore, you should aim to book a slot well in advance, as this will give you a great home base.

Choose One Park or One State Per Trip 

North America is huge, and unless you and your spouse are both business owners with the ability to take endless time off, you won’t be able to see it all in one go. That’s fine. In fact, it’s ideal. No one likes long term road trips. They become cramped, uncomfortable and tiring. Being in a new destination – even if the bed is the same – does take its toll. That is why it is far better to be focused when on your road trip, so you are willing to go back and do another area year after year. Instead of doing cross country, choose a state or go smaller and stick with just one national park. 

Take Your Time in Each Area

By reducing the scope of your road trip, you will be able to cover the area in greater depth. Choose a national park and you can go on a few hikes, enjoy time on the water, making bonfires, biking and so much more. If you are trying to tick off too many areas at once, then you will not have any time to enjoy yourselves. 

Research, But Don’t Plan 

Research the area so that you know what is available and where to go, but don’t create an itinerary. Give everyone in your party the chance to see how they feel on the day. They might want to hike two days in a row, or they might want to spend more time just hanging by the lake. 

Things you will want to have saved on your phone and ticked off on a map are rest stops, gas stations, auto garages, and emergency clinics. These are your backups in case you break down, need to receive medical care without risking high hospital bills, or just need to know where to fill up. 

The reason you want to save these and any points of interest on your phone (download the map for offline use) or even on a physical map is to compensate for dead-coverage areas.

Ensure You Are Covered by Your Insurance 

When you travel out of your state, you might inadvertently leave your insurance coverage. This doesn’t apply to all insurance policies, but it is worthwhile to check. Auto insurance and healthcare insurance might not cover out of state insurance. This is particularly true with healthcare insurance. 

Always check your policy beforehand, as many policies will restrict you to their network of providers and that network might not extend to your destination. If your policy does not cover you to travel, then consider getting additional travel insurance or expanding your healthcare insurance policy to include multi-states, also known as MSP. 

Slow Down Your Down Time 

When you get out on the road, you are living life first-hand. You will also be far from the nearest cell tower. Take advantage of this and slow down your downtime so that you can relax, no matter how physically active you are throughout the day. Bring books to read (or download them to save on space), have a few board games, play cards, draw, paint – you can do anything you love that doesn’t have you stuck to your screen. 

Use your trip as an opportunity to also reconnect with hobbies you love but that you haven’t found the energy for. Phones can be great to keep us entertained and connected when we are too tired to do anything else, but when you are focussing on rejuvenating, it’s important to stimulate the mind in new ways. Picking up your old creative hobbies that require focus and tranquility can help you relax completely. 

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