This holiday road trip post is written in partnership with Cooper Tire. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Road trips are my family’s favorite way to travel. We love to fly but road trips are the most budget friendly option and as much as we love to travel we need to use our resources wisely. I can’t even count how many road trips we’ve been on since T was a baby. They give us a chance to spend quality time together. There’s something so nostalgic about driving to each destination and seeing everything the world has to offer along the way.
5 Things You Should Do Before Your Next Holiday Road Trip
Road trips with kids aren’t easy and holiday road trips can be stressful. Before you hit the road, you have this long list of expectations of things you think should happen and how you think the trip should go. There’s a laundry list of things parents should do to prep in advance so that they can arrive to their destination in one piece.
1. Plan your route in advance.
I’m a huge planner and I absolutely must plan everything in advance. From experience, especially after traveling with kids, I know that my plans might not always pan out the way I imagine but I’m okay with that. If I have a solid plan before we leave for an adventure, I feel a million times better about the trip. A plan helps my anxiety subside and worries go away.
Sit down and plan out the most efficient route for your family. Think about things that may keep your family out of your hair like roadside sights or pretty much anything other than trees. If you’re trip is going to be a longer one, you might want to consider looking at hotels or rest stops along the way. If you’re picky about your accommodations or need a pet-friendly hotel, you should take those things into consideration as well. There’s nothing worse than not being able to find a hotel that can accommodate your family and pets.
2. Make a list of to-dos and packing essentials.
Have you ever been on a road trip and not have everything you needed? I have. In the end, you end up spending way more money than you budgeted for and it hurts. For every trip we take, my family has a strict budget so that we don’t overspend. We created a system that works for us. Each member of our family is responsible for writing down a list of things they absolutely can’t go on the trip without. These essentials are things like toothbrushes, underwear, hair brushes, clothing, etc. Once we have all of our essentials listed, we can each bring 3 things with us that can fit in our bags. T usually opts for toys. My husband typically chooses to bring a few extra pair of shoes. I like to bring a book, my laptop, and camera.
A list of essentials is critical for two reasons. The first is so we don’t overspend and the second, so we don’t overpack.
Before we hit the road, everyone has a list of to-dos. My anxiety tends to get really bad if we leave dishes in our sink or unfinished chores. We make sure we do things like watering plants, turning off any lights, and washing the dishes. If we’re going on a trip for an extended period of time, like a week or longer, we make sure all of the laundry in our home is washed as well. No one likes coming home to a stinky house after a long vacation.
3. Perform any scheduled car maintenance.
Scheduled car maintenance is one of the things on my husband’s to-do list before we leave for every trip. He’s a huge car person so checking every nook and cranny to make sure that we’re safe on the road is right up his alley. The number one thing that he always makes sure to check is our tires.
We recently made the switch to The Cooper Zeon tire from Cooper Tire. Every road trip since then has been the smoothest ride you could ever dream of. We chose these tires because we knew that no matter what season we were traveling in we’d be well equipped. Not only do they have exceptional grip and handling but they also enhance the stability of every ride. With the free 45-day road test, we had no worries. If anything were to go wrong on one of our road trips within the first 45 days of ownership, we could use our warranty.
Once our new tires were installed, we were ready to take on new adventures. The Cooper Tire Tread Wisely app was a good tool to have on hand in case we had any bumps along the road.
4. Schedule breaks.
Breaks can be a game changer when traveling. Kids get antsy and let’s be honest, adults do too. Schedule breaks for things like using the bathroom or even having a meal at a restaurant. If there are landmarks along your route, those are fun places to stop too. Ask your family if they feel like they need breaks along the way for a smoother trip.
5. Be flexible.
Even if you make sure everything is 100% perfect before you leave for your holiday road trip, remember that your trip may not go as planned. Just enjoy every moment and be flexible along the way.
Has your family ever taken a holiday road trip? What are some things that made your trip successful?
Want to see all of the places we’ve visited before? Check out our 2017 summer travel recap.