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How to Plan the Ultimate Holiday Family Road Trip

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The holidays are a busy time for family travel. From Thanksgiving through New Year's, thousands of families will hit the road. Sometimes these trips are family traditions, but sometimes they are surprise trips, that are a part of the family Christmas gift. If you're tired of spending money on needless gifts, and want to give your family a fun gift that they'll cherish, consider planning a family trip, and gifting it for the holidays.

Pick a destination...

Is there someplace your family has always wanted to visit? Maybe it's a theme park, or taking a cruise, or perhaps even visiting a beach or large city. Select a destination that your family will appreciate and enjoy, and one that's within your budget. Make the necessary arrangements for any venues you might be visiting (purchase tickets, make reservations, etc.). Be sure to check height, weight and age requirements if you plan to visit a theme park. Cruises can also be a nice gift to the family for an all-inclusive price, which includes the destinations, food, lodging, ammenities, etc.

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Decide how you'll surprise the family...

Pinterest has some fantastic and cute ideas as to how to surprise your family with the trip of a lifetime. You could make personalized travel kits to gift on Christmas day, for each member of the famly. Include fun items like snacks, activities, a toy or game, a new CD or movie, etc. Let them be a bit puzzled by the gifts as the excitement builds. Next, have a special ticket, brochure or booklet for each member of the family, all wrapped up. Have each family member open it up at the same time, so everyone can share in the excitement!

Organize and pack...

Packing for a family trip can be very stressful, especially if you'll be headed to a warm destination in the dead of winter, when all of your warm weather clothing is already packed away for the season. Make packing lists for clothing, toiletries, and other needed items. Make a general list, and then make a list for each member of the family. Consider whether or not your accomodations will haev a washer/dryer that you can use while on your trip. If they have a set available for use, you might not need to pack as much clothing. Coordiante outfits, make sure each family member has proper footwear and outerwear, if they'll need it.

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Packing the car...

Packing the car can also be stressful, so plan to take it easy and make the best use of teh space you have. If your vehicle has racks for a car carrier or roof bag, it might be a good idea to invest in one for a big trip, especially if you are low on trunk space. Have older children or adult children pack as little as possible, bringing only the needed items with them, and limit luggae to one bag per person. If children can share a bag, that would save even more space. Plan to have a snack and activity bag for the back seat of the car, that is easily accessible by an adult. 

Make sure your car is prepared for the journey....

Before hitting to road for a big trip, you'll want to make sure your car is in great shape for the trip. It's a good idea to take your car in for a tune up, have an oil change, check fluids, lights, wipers, etc. Be sure to check the tire tread, have tires rotated, if needed, check alignment, and give the car a good cleaning inside and out before leaving for the trip. Make sure you have directions to your destination, confirmation and reservation information, a reliable GPS system, flashlight, batteries, an emergency kit, and a warm blanket in the car.

Most of all...

Have fun! Remember to keep your cool, and relax. This is such a special time to make memories with your family. If you have time in your schedule to make stops along the way, allow for those stops. Make sure you have a camera on hand to take lots of family photos, so you'l have them to look back on later on!

This post brought to you by Brown Daub Fiat.

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