Whether you’re travelling to the beach, an exciting national park, a relative’s home or Disneyland, the road trip is the essential American family vacation. Things can get a little complicated when your plans include a couple of kids but don’t let that discourage you. These helpful tips will have your family cruising in style (and hopefully at a reasonable volume) the next time you hit the road.

1. Location, Location, Location

Where you plan your trip is more than a destination, it also serves as motivation leading up to and during the trip. Take time to poll each member of your family and try to decide on a destination that appeals to everyone. By picking a place that every member of the household is excited about, getting yourself and your family to start preparing early will be a breeze. Even better, kids are more likely to behave if an exciting vacation is on the line. Nothing wrong with a little extra leverage!

2. Plan Your Rest Stops

The key to fuel efficiency and good spirits on a family road trip is knowing your stops ahead of time. That means picking out places for bathroom stops and packing plenty of road trip food to discourage drive-thru distractions. The more often you pull off the road somewhere unexpected, the more likely your family will have to deal with something unexpected. You can avoid a lot of drama and potential pitfalls by simply sticking to your plan and only stopping when absolutely necessary.

3. Open a Road Trip Savings Account

Setting aside money to prepare for your trip is a prudent move. Creating a special savings account just for your vacation takes that idea to the next level. You’ll enjoy the building up a nest egg and knowing that you’ll be able to cut loose on your vacation without breaking the bank. Save up enough at least for gas and to take out the entire family on a nice dinner.

4. Bring Games To Spice Up Long Car Rides

Keeping kids quiet and peaceful on an extended family road trip is all about ensuring they are occupied. Bringing handheld electronic games or car-friendly board games is an easy way to pull this off. You might also want to research a few fun, conversational car ride games for a change of pace and to encourage bonding opportunities between with you and your kids.

5. Prepare for Inclimate Weather

Whatever you do, don’t head out on your road trip without doing at least some minimal research on the weather and road conditions you’ll encounter during your road trip. Depending on the time of year and where your family is headed, you may be navigating snowy or rainy roads. Brushing up on some driving tips in the snow might not be a bad idea if this is the case for your family road trip.

6. Don’t Neglect Reading Materials

Want your children to get back into reading? Know your kids have some summer reading assignments? Make sure to pack plenty of reading materials to keep kids quiet and distracted while also doing something academically productive. Make a trip out of going to the library or a comic book store and letting your kids pick out something special to read on the trip.

7. Try Out New Music

Has your favourite artist just released a new album? Do your kids watch animated TV shows with catchy soundtracks? This road trip may be the perfect time for a singalong. Whether it’s show tunes or hip hop, expanding your range and trying out some of your family’s favourite music helps kill the time while driving and can inspire deeper conversation.

8. Consider a GPS

Nobody is questioning your abilities to read a map! But you have to admit that navigating the highway, especially in unfamiliar locations, while keeping an eye on the kids can be challenging. Navigational systems have become increasingly affordable and can go a long way toward saving you some stress on your cross country family trip.

9. Take Shifts Driving Overnight

Do you and your spouse need a few hours to catch up and enjoy each other’s conversation? Consider driving earlier in the morning and later in the evening. Why? The more time your kids spend sleeping in the car, the less time they’ll spend being a distraction. Alternatively, you and your adult family members can take turns behind the wheel while others catch a short nap.

10. Safety First

It’s not fun to assume that something will go wrong on your road trip, but you’re far better off preparing for the worst. That means first aid kits and car repair tools shouldn’t be treated like an option. They are necessities. Even better, chat with your kids about potential emergency scenarios on the road and make sure everyone is on the same page in case something unfortunate does happen.

Enjoy the Open Road

Ready for your next great family adventure but don’t have the reliable vehicle you need to hit the highway? The used car sales professionals at USA Auto are ready to help you find the perfect road trip car for your family. Visit our website at usaautoaz.com and find out how you can get behind the wheel of a spacious, safe and fuel efficient car or SUV.

Author Bio:

Chris Weatherall works as a content writer for USA Auto in Arizona. When he isn’t writing blog posts, Chris is probably spending time with his adorable kids or watching very cool anime. A true car and motorcycle enthusiast, Chris currently drives a 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat and a 2017 Yamaha R1.