By Dale Cooper
If you’re looking for family vacation ideas, consider taking a road trip. Driving to your family vacation destination is often more affordable than buying plane tickets for the whole family, and a road trip is a great way to explore parts of the country you’ve never seen before. When preparing for a road trip, be sure to plan for anything you might need along the way. Here’s a simple guide to follow when planning a family road trip.
Vehicle checkup: The first step in any successful road trip is determining whether your vehicle is in good working order. Make sure you’re up to date on regular vehicle maintenance such as oil changes, timing belt replacement and tire rotation. You can find maintenance schedule information in your vehicle owner’s manual. It’s also a good idea to have a mechanic evaluate your vehicle to confirm that all necessary repairs are made before embarking on a road trip.
Supplies: Before leaving for your road trip, put together a checklist of everything you and your family may need. A few things that should be included on the list are:
Clothes and footwear for expected weather conditions
Entertainment, including computers, smart phones, MP3 players, books or road trip games
First aid kit
Car care kit, including jumper cables, spare tire, tire iron, tire jack and extra fluids (coolant, motor oil and windshield-wiper fluid)
Planning: Road trips generally require more planning than other vacations because your family will be visiting several destinations. Careful planning is especially important for road trips that span two or more days. Put together an itinerary that maps where and when you’ll arrive at each destination. For example, the drive from Albuquerque, N.M. to Los Angeles takes about 12 hours. And while it is possible to complete the whole trip in one day, traveling with kids makes that difficult. Plan ahead of time which cities you will stay in overnight, and make hotel reservations so you have a place to sleep. A hotel reservation is also a helpful motivator to stay on schedule.
Before you set off on your family vacation road trip, make sure your vehicle is covered by automotive insurance. The best way to find a policy with the coverage you need, such as roadside assistance, is to compare car insurance quotes from several providers before choosing a plan.