9 Essential Tips for Planning Your First Family Road Trip

Last updated on October 18th, 2023 at 09:59 am

Family vacations are a wonderful way to make memories. They will be the memories you cherish in the years and decades ahead, so it makes sense you want to put the time and energy into planning these trips. With air travel being so expensive, busy, and unreliable at the moment, many families are now considering alternate options, and a road trip is high on the list. 

Planning your first family road trip can be quite exciting, but also filled with stress. You want to make sure you consider everything and that the holiday is perfect. Here are nineessential tips that you’ll want to use as you plan your first family road trip.

9 Essential Tips for Planning Your First Family Road Trip:

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How Far Will You Travel?

The first question to ask is how far you are willing or want to travel on the trip. Just because you’re going on a road trip doesn’t mean you have to travel far. Instead, you may choose to be on the road for shorter periods daily, giving the family time to explore destinations in-depth.

Another factor that will play into how far you plan on travelling is how long your holiday will be – how many days? If you are planning on week-long vacations, then you must think about packing, and the choice of luggage becomes pivotal. You can consider medium hard shell suitcases for regular trips because they balance portability and capacity compared to smaller or larger suitcases. Smaller bags might constrain one’s packing options, making it challenging to fit all essentials, while larger ones can tempt over-packing and end up being unwieldy. The medium hard shell suitcases, with their protective rigid exterior, strike a balance; they allow for organized packing of necessary items without becoming too bulky. If you’ve only got a couple of days’ worth of holidays, then you’ll likely want to stick close to home.

Plan on Making Frequent Stops

Travelling with kids also means you should plan on making frequent stops. Kids need to stretch their legs, get a change in scenery, use the toilet facilities, and eat. This will affect how far you can travel in a day. Why not coincide your stops with points of interest and attractions? This allows the kids to get up and move, and yet do something interesting at the same time. 

Book Hotel Accommodations in Advance

While it may sound wonderful to fly by the seat of your pants, making up the itinerary and accommodations as you go, the fact is that travelling with kids does require planning. You want to be sure that you can find family-friendly accommodations that offer the amenities you need and have enough space for the whole crew.

If you’re working with a tight budget, booking accommodations in advance will ensure there are no surprises when it comes to cost.

If you’re not sure what else to do then check out my Ultimate Road Trip Planning Guide to see if you’ve got everything covered

Have the Kids Take Part in the Planning Process

It can be tempting to do all the planning on your own, after all, you’re the adult, but then you run the risk of not including what the kids want to do. Why not have them take part in the planning as well? If they are younger you can give them options to choose from that you work in the itinerary, or if they are older you can have them take a more active planning role.

Don’t Pack Too Much in the Itinerary

And speaking of the itinerary, you don’t want to make the mistake of packing too much into it. Naturally, you want to see, do, and visit as many destinations as possible while on holiday, but this can lead to a very stressful trip. If you’re always on a time crunch there is no time for relaxation and enjoyment.

Experts tend to suggest you keep the itinerary light so there is flexibility to add attractions if something catches your eye.

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You May Want to Consider Making the Switch to Electric

If family road trips are something you plan on doing more often, you may also want to consider the vehicle you’re driving. With the cost of petrol rising at an alarming rate, now could be the right time to look into an electric vehicle. Investing in an electric car means you won’t be held hostage by the volatile petrol market, and instead you can start saving money by “fuelling” your car with electricity instead.

Electric vehicles have gone through several evolutions and improvements in the past decade, providing drivers with better batteries that hold a charge for longer. This means it’s possible to enjoy a family road trip with an electric vehicle. 

But if you’ve got questions, this guide to electric vehicles from ElectriX is the perfect resource to check out. It acts as a handy electric car guide that covers all the basics. Learn about the main benefits of going electric, the driving experience, how much you can save by charging your car instead of fuelling up, the safety profile, the reliability of electric cars, and more.

For those planning a road trip journey in an electric car, the most important tip is to plan your route so that you know where the charge points are located. The good news is that the number of charge stations is increasing in the UK, so from a convenience standpoint, it will only get easier. You can also download apps that help you find the nearest charge stations – pointing out which ones have standard and which have a rapid charger. Rapid chargers are perfect if you plan on grabbing a meal, doing a little sightseeing, or shopping.

Generally speaking, you can get about 200 miles per full charge, which can help you to plan your itinerary.

Is Your Car Road-Safe for the Journey?

And speaking of the car you’ll be driving, it’s also wise to ensure the car is road-safe for your journey. You certainly don’t want to be dealing with a breakdown while on holiday. This includes checking the fluid levels, tyre pressure, all lights are in good working order, and the brakes work and sound fine. You can do these checks yourself or take the vehicle to a mechanics .

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Make the Car Comfortable for Travel

There are also some tips you can use that will make the car comfortable for travel. These are things you typically don’t think of if you’re just driving around town. 

Easily the most important tip is to gather car-friendly activities and games for the kids. That could include travel-sized board games, a deck of cards, word puzzles, handheld video games, a device to stream movies that have been downloaded, books, colouring books, and more. Don’t give the kids everything at once or they will end up bored. Instead, try swapping out the options each day or a couple of times throughout the day. You can store everything in a bag or knapsack to keep things organised.

Snacks and drinks will also be important to have handy. That may mean you need a small cooler to keep the items in. Choose snacks that are high in protein, low in sugar and that don’t create a lot of mess when eating them. Chances are you will need to restock the snacks daily. You’ll also need a waste bin in the car so that things stay neat.

Don’t Bring Too Much Luggage

The final tip is to not over-pack. The more luggage that you need to store, the less space there is for passenger comfort. If the kids are surrounded by bags and “stuff”, then it’s not exactly comfortable and you’ll need to prepare for complaining. Just pack the bare minimum that is needed.

By using all of these essential tips you’ll be able to plan a hugely successful family road trip, one that everyone will remember for many years to come.


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