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How to Plan Your Next Summer Road Trip

Say it with me- summer is almost here! It's been such a long school year, and I am counting down the days until summer break officially begins. Normally, I don't wish for summer to come so quickly, but this year, it can't get here soon enough. I am longing for summer travel, and cannot wait to take my family on a few amazing trips! Ever since my husband and I were newlyweds, we have loved traveling together. There's something so fun and exciting about road trips, and we've been fortunate to have two kids who also love to travel by car. While we're gearing up for summer travel, we're sitting down and making plans as to where we will go, what we'll do, what our travel routes will be, and how to stay sane while traveling many hours in the car with our kids. We've been doing this for many years now, and I have some awesome tips on how to plan your next summer road trip.

Save & Plan

There are two top things that'll help you have an enjoyable and smooth road trip, no matter what the destination is. The first step to save money and travel within a budget. We've taken some last minute trips that sort of popped up at the last minute, and while they were fun, we didn't have as much time to plan,  or save for the trips, and we wound up sending more money than we normally would.

At the beginning of each school year, we start a 'trip jar.' It's sort of like the huge water jug my parents used to put all of their loose change into for a trip to Disney World. Start a jar, make a cute label, and start adding change or loose bills to it when possible. If you carry cash on a regular basis, you might be surprised to see how quickly the change adds up after a few months. You don't have to have the destination planned out to start saving for your next adventure.

Once you have a little play money saved up, start talking about where you might like to travel to. Disney World is usually everyone's top family trip destination. Myrtle Beach, SC is another huge family vacation spot. If you're like me, and live in the south, you might like to travel north for the summertime. My kids love traveling to New Jersey and taking a trip into NYC during the summer. Once you figure out where you want to go, you can start adding up the cost for trip expenses and create your travel budget.

Decide how you'll travel

Most road trips are made in the good 'ol family car. Every now and then, depending on how far we'll be driving from home, we decide to rent a van or SUV to cut down on adding a ton of miles to our car. Traveling with other family members? Work out the travel plans from the very beginning. If you are traveling in a group of 5-6 or more, travel might get tricky. Decide who will ride with whom, who will drive, and which vehicles you'll be using for the trip.

Make sure your car is travel ready

There is nothing worse than hitting a bump in the road on the morning you leave for a trip. My dad and I once left for a 12 hour road trip, and drove into heavy rain, only to find that the windshield wipers weren't working and needed to be replaced. We had to pull off the interstate to find a service station that could replace the wipers, and it added a lot of time to our travel. That was such an unpleasant experience, but it did teach me to always check to make sure that all fluids were replenished, and everything on the car was in good working order before embarking on a road trip.

Map out your route

GPS is a wonderful tool, but don't be surprised if you hit a pocket where you can't get a signal. We sometimes take the roads less traveled because they're faster or safer, and sometimes they're backroads with bad signal. Bring current roadmaps along with you and make sure that one adult in the car can read the map and navigate the route. Knowing where you're headed and how to get there before you leave home is your safest bet for smooth travel on the road.

Plan your stops

No road trip exists without having to make stops for restroom use, food, and drink, or resting. Look for safe places to stop in well lit, high traffic areas. Don't put yourself into a potentially dangerous situation, and always pay attention to your surroundings. Keep your phone charged, and always have it on you in case of an emergency. Keep your car locked while you're not in it, and never ever leave a child or pet alone in the car.

Bring snacks and fresh water

Bringing your own snacks will help you save money while on the road. We like to make our own snack mixes and bring them along in plastic zip bags. I usually make a custom snack mix for each of my kids, and portion them out into snack sized bags. They are super easy to pass back to them in the car, and they can snack right out of the bag. We also travel with reusable water bottles while we can fill with fresh cold water, no matter where we are.

Road trips are so much fun and can really be amazing bonding experiences for friends and family. Some of my most cherished family memories involve family travel. Summer is a busy time for travel, but with some simple planning, you can have the trip of a lifetime with the ones you love most!

This post brought to you by DCH Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram FIAT of Temecula.

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