Planning for a Road Trip: How To Create Wonderful Lifetime Memories With Your Family

Planning for a road trip means choosing an awesome vacation destination, but, believe it or not, the best family memories are often made along the journey. Road trips are the perfect way to explore and experience different parts of the country. You can stop at unique roadside attractions and eat at delicious Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives along the way.

Road trips are great for exploring the world around us and getting away from everyday life. They can be an exciting way to experience new places and cultures, while also giving you a sense of freedom and flexibility. Road trips give you a chance to take in more of the sights and sounds than you would on a flight. Planning for a road trip lets you realize all the possibilities before your journey begins.

Choosing a Destination When Planning for a Road Trip

When it comes to choosing a destination for your road trip, there are plenty of options: national parks, big cities, amusement parks, historical sites, and even relatives. Yes, the family reunion at your relatives’ house can be the destination, and you can springboard an awesome road trip vacation by adding on a few days coming and going to the family reunion. The family reunion is simply a reason to begin planning for a road trip!

Planning for a road trip is not about choosing the shortest, most effective route to the destination. It’s about adding a few miles here or there to swing by a national park, roadside attraction, or well-known ice cream shop, or grab lunch with an old friend you have not seen since high school.

Planning For A Road Trip: How To Create Wonderful Lifetime Memories With Your Family

When choosing your vacation destination for your road trip, consider climate, geographical features, type of activities available, local culture, and availability of lodging. Road-tripping can be a terrific way to save money when traveling with the family eating sandwiches in the car and visiting free tourist attractions. But it does not have to be. Not all road trippers rough it camping in their cars, many enjoy lavish hotels, beautiful glamping sites, and historic bed-and-breakfast inns as they travel across the country.

Planning for a road trip is like creating an outline for your trip. Just because it’s on the plan, does not mean you cannot deviate when you see a road sign for an interesting historical site, state park, or cool restaurant. Road trips offer a sense of freedom. Stop whenever and wherever you want, take detours, and even stay for longer at certain destinations if you wish. You can bring items that you wouldn’t be able to bring on a plane, such as bikes, camping gear, or kayaks.

How to Plan a Road Trip by Yourself

Planning For A Road Trip: How To Create Wonderful Lifetime Memories With Your Family

Helpful Road Trip Apps to Consider

Of course, you can use a free road trip planner or search the Internet for “How to plan a road trip Google Maps,” but you can plan an excellent road trip yourself. Roat trip planning apps include Roadtrippers, Google Maps, HotelTonight, The Dyrt for finding the perfect campsite, and more. One of the most fun apps to use when planning for a road trip or while on your journey is Roadside America. The Roadside America website and the app will lead you to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, the World’s Largest Fire Hydrant, pioneer towns, ghost towns, unique museums and so much more!

Roadtrippers allow users to plan and explore amazing road trips. This app has a database of more than 8 million places, so you can easily find interesting attractions and stops along your route.

Planning For A Road Trip: How To Create Wonderful Lifetime Memories With Your Family

GasBuddy helps people find the cheapest gas prices in their area. This app covers more than 140,000 gas stations and has more than 60 million users.

Waze is a real-time navigation app that gives users up-to-date information on traffic, road closures, accidents, speed traps, and more. It allows users to plan their routes based on the current traffic conditions.

Read More: Pack These Road Trip Essentials For An Epic Family Vacation

The AAA Road Trip Planner is an online tool provided by the American Automobile Association (AAA) that helps users plan trips. travelers can access an interactive map, search for nearby attractions and amenities, and get detailed driving directions. The benefit of using this tool is that travelers can save time and money by researching, organizing, and executing their road trips with ease.

But, first thing first when planning for a road trip make a timeline. How much time can you and your family members be away from home? One week, two weeks, just a three-day weekend? All can be awesome road trips, but the planning is a bit different depending on the length of the trip. Consider traffic, construction, and weather conditions when planning your route.

How to Plan a Road Trip with Stops

Planning For A Road Trip: How To Create Wonderful Lifetime Memories With Your Family

When planning stops along your journey, decide your priorities. Is this going to be a road trip comparing BBQ restaurants or homemade ice cream shops? Do you love museums and historical sites? And, remember every time you pass a sign for a state park, know that it was designated a state park oftentimes because of something unique to that area — mountains, waterfalls, caves, giant trees, etc…

Read More: 5 Competitive Games for Road Trips to Keep Your Family Entertained

Unless you have unlimited vacation time and resources, you must choose your stops based on the interest level of you and your family members, as well as time. The more you road trip, the more you appreciate each other’s interests. Take turns letting each family member choose stops and restaurants. Then everyone feels involved in the journey.

The Roadside America website/app can lead you to many quick, fun photo stops, which make great places for a quick stretch of the legs before heading toward your vacation destination. Sprinkle quirky stops in between historical sites to lighten the mood and keep everyone’s interest levels peaked along the way.

Eat at Interesting Restaurants

Choose the road less traveled when picking where to dine each night with your family. You can eat at chain restaurants at home. Make a point to take your family to some of the quirkiest restaurants in the country. Everything from dinosaur-themed venues to mobile eateries built into old buses. You can also find local favorites like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives along the way, too!

Be Spontaneous on a Road Trip

One of the best parts about road trips is that you can take spontaneous detours! If you see something interesting on the side of the road, feel free to simply pull over and check it out. You also can make the most of your trip by stopping at local hot spots, trying new activities, and checking out small towns along the way. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path because that is where you will discover some hidden gems.

Enjoy the Little Things on Your Road Trip

Plan to enjoy the little things. In a perfect world, have your work done before vacation so you do not have to work remotely so you can be fully present (of course, if the only way you can go is to work remotely then so be it, just plan to focus on the little things so you don’t miss them).

Unplug. Put away your electronics and use the time to reconnect with your family. Put the phones away, talk and listen to each other, and really focus on the present moment.

You will create Lasting Memories on a long road trip by singing along to your favorite playlist on Spotify and playing silly car games like “I Spy.” Don’t forget the multitude of car snacks and drinks so you don’t have to stop, too often.

Read More: Important Pet Boarding Tips To Alleviate Stress For Dog Moms When Preparing for Vacation

Plan for the unplanned. Make sure you have an emergency kit with items such as a first aid kit, a blanket, a flashlight, and jumper cables. Be sure to service your vehicle before you leave. Make sure your oil is changed, tires are inflated, and all necessary parts are filled or replaced as necessary.

Save Money: There are plenty of ways to save money on a family road trip. Take advantage of restaurant rewards cards and look for free attractions during your travels. Pack snacks and meals and opt for inexpensive lodgings such as camping or hostels.

Planning for a Road Trip with Pets

Planning For A Road Trip: How To Create Wonderful Lifetime Memories With Your Family

Yes, you should take your dog on a road trip, as there are many benefits of having a pet along for the ride. First and foremost, having a dog can provide companionship and act as a stress reliever. Not only does it make the drive more enjoyable, but it can also be therapeutic in times of boredom or loneliness.

Additionally, having a dog along for the ride can provide a sense of security and protection if you encounter any unexpected dangers. Planning for a road trip with a pet forces you to plan pit stops that are pet friendly, which is perfect for the nature-loving family. Visiting state parks, county parks, and even roadside rest areas to walk your dog can be an excellent way to break up the monotony of a long drive. Be sure when planning for a road trip with your pet you research pet-friendly hotels, cabins, and campgrounds. Some offer amenities for your canine friend like pet beds and treats that can make the trip more enjoyable for your furry companion.

What are 5 tips to prepare for a road trip?

1. Download your music and podcasts beforehand.
2. Pack a bag with comfortable clothes, sunscreen, toiletries, and anything else you will need.
3. friends and family know your route and timeline in case something happens.
4. Bring a GPS or map to ensure you stay on track.
5. Look up places to stop along the way so you can take breaks and stretch your legs.

How many hours a day should you drive on a road trip?

The American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends driving no more than 8-10 hours per day on a road trip.

How do I plan a road trip with multiple stops?

Set your destination and stop points: Use tools like Google Maps to plan the route and determine all of the places you want to stop between your origin and destination.

How much money do you need for a road trip?

Estimate your total cost:
Factor in the cost of transportation (gas, airfare, train tickets, etc.), lodging, food and beverages, admissions to attractions, entertainment, and souvenirs. Also factor in any miscellaneous expenses that may come up during your trip, such as parking fees, tolls, maps, guidebooks, and emergency repairs.

What is the best road trip planning site?

One of the best road trip planning sites is Roadtrippers. It offers features such as mapping, budget calculations, and route customization. It also provides access to resources like fuel prices and attractions along the way.

Excitement builds as you are planning for a road trip. Debating which path to take. Choosing which museum, roadside attraction, or theme park to spend the day. Packing a suitcase and a snack bag. With each decision you make your adventure takes shape. But the beauty of planning for a road trip is that no matter how many detailed plans you make, it can all change in a split second. Take one-wrong turn or make one choice to stop at a restaurant or town because a billboard leads you in a new direction and you will find yourself traveling down the open road of adventure.

Photo Credits: Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay.

Check out Daily Mom’s Family Vacation Budget Helps You Make Memories Section for more advice, tips, and tricks.

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Planning For A Road Trip: How To Create Wonderful Lifetime Memories With Your Family



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Carla J. Eskew
Carla J. Eskew
Carla J. Eskew is a freelance writer, wife, and mom of two children who are nine years apart. She is a Scout leader with 17 years of experience in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. She serves as a volunteer at school, church, and with the homeless population. She loves road trips, sightseeing, camping, Pilates, and her black standard poodle, Midnight Shadow.