We all want to avoid this….
…So have a look at these quick tips to planning a road trip and take what works for you!
Tip #1: Consider a Fly -> Drive option
You may be looking at planning a road trip as all or nothing. Traditionally, it would involve all driving instead of flying. But, we’re creative, right?? And as things change and we learn what works for our families, we get flexible! So, what about considering a half & half option? Say you live on the East Coast and the majority of your trip takes place in the midwest. Consider cutting valuable days of travel time by flying to your destination and then, renting a car. Not only will you drop potentially days sitting in the car time, but you’ll also save a lot of wear and tear on said car.
Now this might not be an option if flight prices don’t make sense. But, don’t forget to factor in the cost of gas for the thousands of miles you won’t be driving, along with saving your car the hassle.
Prices for rental cars in Summer 2021 did see increased due to the scarcity of inventory and an increase in stateside travel. So, this one may come down to the numbers and how much time you think you can handle being in the car together.
Tip #2: RoadTrip Apps
Blog contributor Amanda B. considers the Roadtrippers (plus) app “an absolute must have for road trips. It points out all your stops along the way, along with points of interest, hotels, restaurants, and it tells you the distance between the points and the time it will take to travel between them”.
Road Trip Planning Apps can also help ease some of the stress of the unknown ahead of time. Think of using them like practice runs for when everyone is all packed up!
Tip #3: Car shoes
When we were driving between Midwestern states (i.e. land of the sand and clay), we each had a pair of “car shoes”. For us, these were sandals we could slip on and off in the car to relax. We kept our hiking boots in the trunk of the car. This led to a lot less mess in a more contained area and also allowed for our leg room areas to stay more clear during the longer parts of the trip. It also cut out time trying to get a kid who had kicked off their boots to put them back on just for a bathroom break. So simple to run in in flip flops!
Just stop at the trunk after any exploring and change shoes!
Tip #4: Gypsy Guide Tours
Think guided audio-tour-for your car! This is probably my favorite app we used on our trip. We downloaded these ahead of time on the phone that was connected to the car/GPS. Since we worldschool (homeschool around the world), any app that can entertain and educate more than one of us gets a thumbs up. These guides in this app were interesting to me and fun for a 6 year old.
The guides would kick on once you got within 30-60 minutes of your destination. The speaker gave us history/geography/ cultural lessons and more as we were approaching the Grand Canyon or another National Park. They even included tips like what entrance to use and where to park. Once we were inside the actual park, the guidance took us around to different lookout points. The guides even suggested less populated spots where we could catch an amazing sunset or some little known facts you wouldn’t get wandering around on your own.
The guides range from $6.99-12.99 and cover many different areas like National Parks, Hawaii and areas of Canada and Australia. Be sure to check back as more seem to be added all the time!
Tip #5: A Car Cooler
Now I’ll admit, before our trip, I got a little nutty looking at various coolers that would plug into cigarette lighters and keep our drinks cold. In the end, a $7 disposable cooler that we topped off with ice at each hotel worked just fine. The version we got was actually made of a biodegradable, cardboard like material.
I had my doubts that it was going to last without leaking the whole week but I was pleasantly surprised! I also felt better not adding another styrofoam container to the garbage bin when we finished traveling. We kept fruit, jelly, yogurts and hard boiled eggs/protein packs in the cooler. Things like bread, peanut butter, crackers and nuts went in a separate bag. This gave us options when we were driving and wanted to pull over and enjoy the view over lunch, or skip a fast food meal that day.