Spring Break, summer break, long weekends! Are you planning a family road trip? We love going on road trips because we can haul everything into the car unlike flying where there is a luggage limit, the fear of bringing a car seat, will the kids behave and all that. With everything we needed for our kids, a destination, and a tank full of gas, the road we can take has no boundaries. Today, I share our 10 Family Road Trip Tips to help you on your future travels – from what you should bring on your road trip to how you should travel during your road trip.
disclosure: Thanks Toyota for letting us drive the 2018 Toyota Sienna.
Go for the ultimate family road trip following our 10 Family Road Trip Tips and make it a safe and fun trip with the kids. Take as many pictures! They’re not gonna stay young for long.
10 Family Road Trip Tips:
1. Pack Essentials – Extra Clothes, Medicine & Emergency Kit
Start jotting down your Road Trip Packing Checklist complete with medicine and/or an emergency kit a week or two before the trip. Without my travel checklist, I tend to forget the little things – from sunblock to hats to swimsuits and even my toothbrush. Going through your travel packing checklist ahead also gives you ample time to buy essentials that you need or have run out of.
2. Have a phone with a reliable internet connection + bring a phone charger
When we took our California-Arizona-Nevada Road Trip, I was still with a cellphone carrier that doesn’t have a reliable internet service in a lot of spots. It made it harder for me to do any research while we were on the road. We used both Waze and Yelp when we are traveling so it’s helpful to have a reliable provider for when you need information while traveling – including booking a hotel room before we get to a destination should we decide to go for a stop. And of course, when you need Youtube for the kids especially if the car doesn’t have a TV/DVD system. Luckily, on our 2 recent road trips, both the Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Sienna had it.
You also don’t want to run out of phone battery while on a road trip. Don’t forget to bring a car phone charger! We use a dual car charger so both the hubby and I can plug in. As well as a long lightning nylon cable for my iPhone so anyone on the 2nd row can charge. If you’re driving the 2018 Sienna though, you’re in luck as it has 5 USBs spread across all 3 rows so everyone can just charge their phones with a short cable.
3. Family Road Trip Tip you shouldn’t forget – Pack Snacks & Drinks
Traveling with kids, we are never without snacks in the car. Our youngest would start snacking right when she gets in the car. And we each have our own water bottle. We also pack some bottled water in the back of the car in case we needed more especially when we get to our destination. Try purchasing your snacks at big box stores before the trip so you don’t end up buying at the gas station or at the hotel which would cost you more.
4. Pack DVDs and Activities for the Kids
Mix it up with some tube time, activities, and watching the road. We love that the Sienna XLE Premium had a Blu-ray/DVD player to keep the kids busy so we brought their fave DVDs during our recent road trip. But at the same time, we also make sure they check out the road &/or rest their eyes with other activities in the car. We typically bring stickers, activity books, books, crayons, and a few traveling toys.
5. Don’t over plan your itinerary
Road trips should be fun. It should be part planned and part adventure of the unknown. Planning things by the minute means running from one place to another without having to just stop and take in the wonderful surrounding when it calls for it. Make it less stressful by expecting that there may delays from detours on the road due to road closures or delays coz’ you decided to call it a night in another city.
6. Plan your trip with interesting stops along the way
Stretch your legs every two hours or so with some stops on your road trip. Try to plan where you’re going to eat or if there’s a known interesting place along the way then schedule the stop there.
7. Let nature stop you
America is so big! That’s what my husband and I would always say whenever we take the road less traveled. And it comes with interesting views and rock formations. We ended up stopping recently at Mojave National Preserve because of the huge rocky mountain that we simply have to take in. We like stopping for rock formations, waterfalls, old bridges, and charming little cities.
8. Plan your lodging
Try to research ahead where you’re going to stay. If it’s a multi-day road trip, make sure to plan an extra hotel in between the planned lodging as well just in case the designated driver is too tired to keep driving.
9. Have a roadside rescue service
So far we haven’t encountered needing to use a roadside rescue service during our road trips but we feel safe having an AAA membership in case of any car trouble along the way. Like if you get a flat tire since I don’t know how to change one or if our battery gets drained.
10. Travel on a Reliable Car but have it check a week before your trip
My husband and I feel safe traveling on the not so busy freeway because we know we’re traveling on a Toyota – which is a really reliable car. We just make sure to check it before we leave. The tires, if we have enough gas, if the car seats are hook securely, etc.
Toyota Sienna XLE Premium
The girls loved the Toyota Sienna because it had a TV which our current mini-van doesn’t have. My daughter who was on the 3rd row had no problem watching the TV located in the middle versus if the TV was on the back of the front row seats. Since we travel a lot, I think it’s time for an upgrade.
If you are looking for a very spacious mini-van, this it it. It’s very spacious both in terms of how much luggage you can fit in as well as in terms of leg space for the passengers. We hauled 4 huge pieces of luggage, a stroller plus 6 carry-on size luggage and the 6 of us. My parents were on their way to the airport after the trip so we packed everything in. They were still able to go shopping during our trip which was about another luggage and it all still fitted and there’s still enough room for maybe 2 more days of shopping. LOL!
There’s a bit of a learning curve in trying to move the 2nd-row seat to get into the 3rd row but other than that, it’s a great mini-van with all the bells and whistles you’ll want in a mini-van including charging ports at every row.
Make sure to visit your nearest Toyota for a test drive and have a fun family road trip ahead.
“We can each take a different path to reach a destination but let’s prepare for the road ahead, savor the journey, and relish the destination. This applies to life and traveling.” – Kat
Got any Family Road Trip Tips? Leave them in the comments section to share it with our readers.