Road trips can make for a great vacation: lots of bonding time, fun stops, and ultimately an amazing destination that feels like you actually had to work to arrive at. To ensure a great time for all and to reduce the number of bumps along the way, it is important to put time and effort into planning a road trip. Without the stress of flying, it may seem tempting to wing a road trip, but putting in some extra effort on the front end can pay off big time on the road.

Nuts and Bolts

One important element of a road trip that is easy to forget is the health of your vehicle. Creating a vehicle maintenance checklist and ensuring that all maintenance is up to date before leaving on a road trip can save you and your family from a serious roadside bummer. You also want to confirm that all driver and vehicular paperwork is available and up to date. If the policy has expired or seems inadequate, take the time to look at auto insurance quotes online to get the vehicle properly covered before departure. The last thing anyone on a road trip wants to happen is for the car to break down hundreds of miles from home, or to get pulled over five states away for having expired tags.

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Bonding Time

Although it can be tempting to let everyone play on their tablets or listen to their headphones the whole trip, spending quality time together playing games and laughing in the car can make for some great family memories. There are dozens of road trip games that can work well for all ages, including I Spy, Hangman, and 21 Questions. In addition to games and quizzes, road trips can also be a great time to get to know your fellow travelers. This could include fun questions à la Would You Rather, or you can opt for more thoughtful questions and conversation topics to get everyone talking. Another fun option is to encourage each person to make a mix of their favorite music beforehand. That way, you have some great road trip tunes, and can get to know your fellow travelers a bit better through their musical preferences.

Are We There Yet?

When taking a road trip, whether with friends or family, it is helpful for everyone to know the plan. Take the time to research your route and find out if there will be opportunities for regular stops along the way. If you are driving a route with few cities and towns, decide where each meal will be before you get going. It can be tempting to just push through, and while this can work with solo trips or with a hearty group, with children it can be very difficult. Most people enjoy having small destinations in sight during a long road trip, so making a plan, then sharing it with your passengers, is advised.

Road trips can make for relaxing and refreshing vacations, especially in places like the United States, where it seems destined to travel by motor vehicle. However, to avoid stresses along the way, be sure to take adequate planning time. Once you have the small details in line, it will make every mile more enjoyable.