Incorporating a family road trip into your next out-of-town vacation is a great way to see the sights and create lasting memories with your kids. You can fly to your main destination, spend some time there, then rent a car and hit the road to explore the surrounding region. To ensure your family road trip goes as smoothly as possible, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Rent a Minivan
When looking for a rental vehicle for a family road trip, a minivan is the most practical and comfortable option. A minivan will ensure that everyone has enough legroom and personal space, minimizing complaints and squabbling from the kids and making for a more comfortable drive for the adults as well. Minivans are still small enough to be easy to maneuver and park, even if you're used to driving a smaller car. Many minivans come with family-friendly features, like mini flatscreen TVs and pull-down trays for snacking.
Minivan rentals are more expensive than compact cars, but many rental companies offer loyalty programs which are an easy way to snag a discount as well as points toward your next car rental.
Plan Extra Rest Stops
When planning your road trip itinerary, it's wise to plan on more frequent and much longer rest stops than you would if you were traveling alone or only with adults. Planning extra rest stops ahead of time allows you to locate the rest stops on your route that have nice picnic areas and playgrounds for your kids, so they can get their energy out after being in the minivan for hours. Many online route planners allow you to locate and plan for rest stops as well as gas fill-ups and meals.
Include Kids in the Planning
When kids are allowed to have a say in your itinerary, they will be much more excited about the road trip and feel more engaged both during the planning stage and the actual trip itself. Older children can do internet or library research to find interesting roadside attractions, scenic national or state parks, and cool museums. Younger kids can also get involved by simply talking to them about the trip and giving them a few different options to choose from for each part of the journey.
Planning ahead, staying organized, and choosing the right vehicle to rent will all go a long way toward making your next family road trip a success.