There are many things to be grateful for in life. A stable job, somewhere to live, food on the table and drinks in the fridge. Life can be sweet if we take the time to sit back, enjoy each other’s company, and appreciate all that we have to fill our days as well as who we get to spend our days with.
In this regard, family is truly one of the most essential fixtures in a life well-lived, and your family – be they blood relatives or beloved friends – is definitely something to be grateful for. More than work, more than money. It’s our kids that uplift us, make us laugh, smile (and sometimes curse), and always make us feel filled with love. And the bigger the family, the more love to share.
One family adventure that is always worth doing is going on a road trip. Yet, this can be a massive undertaking for big families who may have lots to prepare for. So, if you’ve got a big family and are gearing up for your annual road trip, take a moment to read these six travel hacks before jumping into your household’s people mover.
Check Your Tyres
The first thing to do is to check your vehicle’s tyres for wear and ensure that they are inflated according to your car manufacturer’s standards.
This is a super important hack, as you don’t want to be on the open road with your precious cargo on board and risk an accident on the road due to worn tyres. Tyres that are worn out and balding are unsafe to drive on, as they cannot grip the road properly, especially if you have to brake suddenly.
You can check your tyre wear by looking between the grooves that make up your tyre’s tread. If the depth of the grooves in your tyre tread are growing less distinguishable from the peaks, creating less surface area on your tyre, then it’s definitely time to source some replacement tyres. Now, tyres aren’t cheap, yes, but you’ll travel peacefully with the knowledge that new ones will provide your family with the safety they need on the road.
To check the pressure of your tyres, you can take your car to any service station, most of which come equipped with a hose that can inflate them. Open the driver’s side door, and check the metal panel on the door frame. It will tell you the correct pressure for your tyres.
If these two hacks seem overwhelming, you can always take your vehicle to a tyre shop to have their friendly staff go over them for you for a small fee.
Pack Entertainment for the Kids
Kids will get bored on long road trips; this is as sure as the sun will set before each night. To keep them occupied and quiet, make sure that you pack some entertainment for them. This could be their tablets, which you should fully charge before you embark on the adventure. You can also pack some “analog” entertainment, such as sticker books, colouring-in activities, books to read and other road trip activities that will keep their hands busy and their minds active.
If your children get motion sick and may not be able to play games that require them to focus on a screen or book, then age-old family games like ‘I Spy’ can work wonders for keeping your kids entertained as you drive. You may also decide to create ‘Road Trip Bingo’ sheets so that your kids are focused on the world outside of your car, looking for animals, words, or landmarks to tick off of their bingo sheet.
Snacks Are a Must
What’s a road trip without an ample supply of snacks, right? Be sure to hit your local shops before you leave in order to stock up on some yummy, road trip-friendly treats. Try to balance junk food with fresh and dried fruit, nuts, and plenty of water. If your kids do feel like a bit of a sweet kick, you can absolutely pack fruit juice boxes in your trunk.
Don’t feel encouraged to avoid some sweets or salty snacks altogether, however, because what’s the fun in that? Instead, opt for a nice balance, so everyone gets a treat as well as some healthy food. Packing a variety of snacks will ensure that your kids won’t grow restless during pit stops and ask to eat take-away foods, which should be avoided during long road trips as greasy foods may cause discomfort that you or your kids may not be able to sit through.
Know Your Destination and How to Get There
All road trips have an end point. Although you’ll have a destination in mind and can easily rely on Google Maps to ensure your trip route stays accessible, you should still have a general understanding of how to get to your location too. Be sure to download your trip route before you leave if you’re relying on Google Maps alone just to make sure that you never lose your route guidance even in a cellular dead zone.
If you’re old school and want to avoid route guidance through a mobile device, simply pack a map and mark out your route so that you can consult it if you get lost. But be sure your selected map is up to date! Roadways can look quite different over the years, and you don’t want to find yourself searching for a turn that no longer exists.
Fill Up Before You Go
This is a must-know hack. Fuel gets more expensive the further out from the city you travel. This is because it costs more to transport it to rural and regional destinations. The petrol prices will be marked up to compensate for their higher transportation costs. But you don’t have to pay a premium in the country, if you fuel up in town before you leave. You can even use an app to find the cheapest petrol near you, to save some more money.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Ensure that the whole family gets a good night’s sleep the night before you’re set to leave on your trip. This may mean an earlier bedtime for the kids which they will undoubtedly moan about, but it’s imperative that everyone get enough rest, especially the drivers. You don’t want to be driving for hours while sleep-deprived; it’s hazardous.
So hit the hay at a reasonable hour, and you’ll be fresh as a daisy come morning and be ready and raring to go on your road trip.
A Cruising Conclusion
We’ve shared six road trip travel hacks for big families that will ensure that you get to your destination safe, secure, and soundly. The most important hack of all is to have bucket loads of fun – after all, isn’t that what a family road trip is all about?