You feel like you have a hard time remembering the last time your weekend’s getaway with family was enjoyable because the supposedly relaxing trip always transforms from a bonding experience to utter chaos before you even leave the house? That’s unfortunate, but that means that you probably lack some practical knowledge on how to plan a road trip with your family. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of – at the end of the day, all the packing and driving falls on your shoulders only to be overshadowed by the financial burden such trip will likely put on the rest of the month. The kids in the back seat screaming their lungs out is a nice bonus to top it all off. However, there are ways that allow you to get things under control a bit more and while these suggestions might not cause the children to ask fewer “are we there yet?” questions, they will help you lose the all other headaches associated with family road trip planning.
No matter what you do with your family, if a child is involved, it will most likely get more costly. Needless to say, same applies when there are three of them. Planning a trip any longer than a couple of hours might make this question even more significant as things like overnight stays and proper meals become relevant. So how do you make sure that you get the most out of your trip and still have money for your bills that religiously come every last day of the month? Here are some alternatives for you to consider:
- Camp. If you live in a place where weather would not make camping the most trying outback experience of your life, why not? Assuming you don’t have a lot of experience camping, you might need some equipment and a beginner’s guide. Look at the equipment as a long-term investment that probably amounts to a two-night stay in a budget-friendly family hotel and take the fact that you are new to this as a learning opportunity. However, make sure the weight of success isn’t on one person’s shoulders and that the whole family is involved in the learning process. Sit down together a month before your trip, distribute tasks among the family members (yes, the kids too), and get ready for an adventure! Look for designated camping areas that have showers (the kids will need those) as they tend to be neat and will not cost that much more. Pack some fun camping attributes, like lanterns and smores, and make sure to clean up after yourselves!
- Take public transport. If you have a very concrete destination in mind and not much exploring to do there, why not leave the car at home and opt out for public transport? It might prove to be a fun adventure for children used to the modern life commodities. Plus, most public transportation companies offer great benefits and discounts for families. It’s not just that; parents get to relax and enjoy the drive too!
- Pack food. Feeding a family of 4 at a drive-through, let alone a normal restaurant, can be extremely expensive. If the road trip is long, plan around one very proper, warm meal per day – look for places along the way in advance to make sure you’re not spontaneously splurging! Other than that, make sandwiches, bring fruit and veggies, and throw in a couple of secret snacks for the children when they start to get anxious – your wallet will thank you!