Road tripsAhh summertime! Vacations are synonymous with summer and road trips. The kids are out of school, so it’s a great time to get away with the family for awhile to enjoy the warm sunny weather, and create some memories that will last a lifetime.

Because of the state of the economy, everyone is trying to cut costs, and traveling by way of driving is sometimes more cost effective. Long hours in the car however, can cause anxiety for some, but it doesn’t have to. With a bit of planning on the front end, you and your family can enjoy a memorable road trip for years to come. See the points below to develop your travel plans for stress free, memorable vacation road trips!

Driving plan

First, decide on the final endpoint of your trip. Go online and use Map Quest to map out your road trip from your house to your final destination. Map Quest is a great resource that calculates the distance in miles and hours, as well as an estimation of the cost of fuel. You can also find interesting stopping points along the way, as well as hotel accommodations to rest & refresh during long road

If you have a GPS, go to the manufacturer’s website and download current maps. You can use the Mapquest map as a backup if you have a GPS. As part of your driving plan, schedule an appointment with a vehicle care facility to ensure your vehicle is running at peak performance.

Preparation plan

Develop the plan to prepare your home for your absence. Notify a family member, close friend and/or a neighbor of your plans. Provide an itinerary or driving map so they know where you will be going. Make sure they have your current cell phone number so they can contact you in case of an emergency. And, don’t forget to provide a spare key to someone close by in case they need to get into your home, or so they can pick up your mail, newspapers, and water indoor plants.

If you have pets and they are not traveling with you, include them in your plan. Schedule boarding at a kennel or hire someone to come into your home to care for them while you are away.

Packing plan

You need to determine what clothing to pack for each family member for each day. Add a couple of additional outfits including undergarments for each person, just in case! Prepare a bag of toiletry items for the family. Most discount stores carry a significant line of travel sized toiletries to save space. If you are beach bound, make sure you pack the water toys, towels, beach blankets, chairs, and sunscreen products.

Electronics are a must have these days. Probably the most important is a cell phone. These are our lifelines to stay connected. Make sure to pack a car charger as well as an ac/dc charger for when you get to your destination. Cameras – digital & video, also need to be charged, so make sure to include them in your packing list.

A packing list for your vehicle is essential. An emergency tool kit, flashlight, and first aid kit should be at the top of your list. If you have an emergency road assistance plan, make sure it’s paid up and you have their contact information handy.

Keeping the little ones busy during a long road trip can be challenging. Use over the seat organizers, or backpacks, to store favorite toys and activities for each child. Pack a cooler to keep in the front or back seat with bottled drinks and snacks to satisfy hunger pangs in between meals.