Tips for Planning a Safe Family Road Trip
Even though the Christmas season ended just a few weeks ago, people all across the country are already starting to make plans for their summer vacations. A recent American Automobile Association survey revealed that more than a third of Americans (35% to be exact) are planning to take a vacation with their family over the next twelve months.
The survey also revealed that road trip vacations are by far the most popular vacation types for families planning to travel this year. In fact, almost 70% of respondents said they are planning to spend some quality time with their families on the road.
Image Source: www.aaa.com
To be frank, no matter how patient you are, family road trips can be challenging, to say the least. So if you want to safely arrive to your destination and keep everyone happy during the trip, before you pack up your suitcases and hit the road, you have to plan a few things first.
Start Your Journey Bright and Early
Since most young children don’t usually tolerate long road trips, many people choose to leave in the middle of the night so their kids could fall asleep as soon as they set out. But while you’ll have 60% less traffic on the road, you still have to be aware that – according to the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 50% of all fatal accidents occur at night.
So in order to avoid any possible mishaps and accidents, it would be wiser to start your trip in the wee hours of the morning and get a couple of driving hours in, before your children wake up. So if you plan to depart by 4 AM, you should get up around 3 AM, wake up your kids, have them use the bathroom, grab a couple of pillows, get in to the car and buckle up.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
The first thing you need to do is get your oil changed, fluids filled and tires rotated a month before you leave. Although you don’t necessarily need to buy an emergency kit, you should get a plastic bin for your trunk and fill it with safety items like a fireproof blanker, flashlight, water and a Leatherman, or any other all-purpose tool set.
In addition, you should download a couple of travel apps like Roadtrippers and iExit and make sure that you have a car charger for your smartphone. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere without a phone. Also, it would be smart to have a few roadside insurance services on speed dial, in case your car breaks down 100 miles from the nearest gas station.
Map Out Your Breaks
You should never leave your rest stops to chance. This means you’ll have to do a little research on your route and find a local gas-stations, roadside attractions and restaurants for a good pit stop. What’s more, this is a perfect chance to visit some historic sites and museums, and give your kids a chance to learn more about their country during your vacation.
But the most important thing here is that your children burn off some energy. Because the more they’re active outside of the car, the more likely they’re to fall asleep again inside. So try to find some good picnic spots like lakes, waterfalls and state parks where your kids could be physically active for at least an hour.
Family road trips are still the most popular vacation option in America. According to the recent Citi ThankYou Premier Summer Travel Survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, around 72% of people are planning to travel by car this summer. As you already know, a successful road trip requires a lot of planning, patience and work, so why do so many people prefer them over airplane flights?
Some people, like Brett Snyder, president of the air travel assistance service Cranky Concierge, suggests that the falling price of fuel is mostly responsible for it. Gasoline prices have fallen drastically in the last three years, so travelers now don’t want to spend $500 or more on air-fare. Simply put – these days, it’s much cheaper to drive.
But in addition to low costs, family trips do have some other advantages. Because the best part of any road trip isn’t the splashy attraction or even expensive accommodations. It’s, in fact, the time people get to spend with their families.