Best Tips For Fun Family Road Trips
Thinking of planning quality time with your family? How good if you can spend, not just quality time but longer hours or days of quality time with your family?
My favorite is going on road trips. Malaysia is not a big country and we have very good highways connecting one state to another. So it is possible to drive to another state in the morning and be back home by the evening.
With all the hustle and bustle of the city life, my hubby was longing for some breakaways. So we planned not just one but two fantastic road trips in a month. The first was a fishing village and the second, a countryside with mountains, fresh air, and beautiful sceneries.
Before heading back, we stopped by the city of Ipoh in the northern part of Peninsula Malaysia, meeting up with one of my son’s friends where he brought us around on a ‘makan-makan’ adventure. Hey… what’s ‘makan-makan’, Mei N? Haha…makan means eat. So the direct translation would be, ‘eat-eat adventure’ 🙂 We went around hunting for some of the best local street foods in Ipoh. What a blessing!
Talking about road trips, do you think it’s too troublesome especially when you have small children on board? We traveled a lot even when my children were little.
Planning ahead is the key to a fun and enjoyable trip. It is a crucial step whether you are traveling with children, adults or old age parents.
Here are some good tips you may find useful.
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Finding The Location
Where do you plan to go and who are you bringing along with you? Before deciding on a location, be very thoughtful of who’s joining the trip. Different age group would mean different location criteria.
For example, if you are going with children, you may want to visit a place that has a theme park. On the other hand, if you are bringing your old age parents with you, then easy relaxing road trips would be more appropriate.
Shortlist 2 to 3 locations. Then start doing research and read up reviews available online. Also, ask around and talk to friends who have visited those places before. Write down as many information as you can gather.
Some of the information you need to know are, such as:
1. Duration of the journey
Will it be too tiring for the children and old people? Plan well so you arrive at the perfect time for lunch, dinner or to witness the sunset.
2. Condition of the road traveling
Is there anyone with motion sickness traveling with you? Do you need medication or remedy to improve the situation?
3. Highway patrol contact numbers
Double check and make sure you have the correct numbers and in fact, everyone traveling together should know the numbers too. Set it on your mobile phones. It will come in handy in time of emergency.
4. Gas stations or stop points along the way
Make it a point to stop at least once every hour or so, depending on the situation and people you are traveling with. Go for toilet breaks, stretch your body and get yourself a cup of coffee if you need to.
5. Weather condition
Everyone may need a scarf, sunglasses, or a light jacket while traveling on the road.
6. Best time to visit/travel
In Malaysia, some beach resorts are closed during the monsoon season. For some, maybe it is not a good idea to go on road trips during winter when it’s snowing and the road is slippery. So, do your research and plan carefully depending on where you’re going.
7. Available facilities at location
This includes convenience stores, pharmacies, equipment rental etc
8. Accommodation if you are staying overnight
My word of advice, get better accommodation if you are not tight on budget. Choose one which is convenient, clean and easily accessible because you are traveling with the young and old 🙂
9. Places to ‘makan-makan’ 🙂
Are the types of food served suitable for everyone – vegan and omnivore? Or do you prefer to pack from home instead? Do you have access to clean drinking water?
Go through the information you’ve gathered and make a list of all the things you need to bring on the road trips. Start preparing as soon as you can.
Do not wait until the last minute. We tend to be more clumsy and forgetful if we wait until the last minute. And please, please write everything down so you can always refer and know what is still missing.
If you are traveling with children or someone with special needs, you may have to pack extra on clothing and toiletries. Otherwise, keep your luggage minimal.
As for medicines, always pack them in two separate bags. And make sure at least another person knows where you keep them. I prefer to bring extra medicine every time I travel, even on short road trips. You wouldn’t know if you need it but better to be safe than sorry.
Road trips and family outings are times when you’ll be taking lots of beautiful photos and videos. If you are like me, even a day trip can mean more than a hundred of new photos on my phone. So, don’t forget to bring along power banks and external hard drives.
On the road
Schedule your car for a service and get it thoroughly checked before the trip. Make sure the tires, breaks, engine oil, battery etc etc etc are all in good condition. This is a happy wonderful trip that everyone is looking forward to. Travel safe.
To add more fun to your road trips, always keep the children entertained. Play cards or some easy games while traveling in the car. How about storytelling and singing happy songs. Crack some jokes. Laughter is good for everyone.
And if their journey is pleasant, yours is definitely blissful… haha …trust me, I’m speaking from experience 🙂 Adults don’t cry or throw tantrum when they are bored. But, children? Oh yes, anytime can be showtime.
Also, you may want to consider bringing a notebook with you if your road trips last for few days. Or maybe just a small notepad is good enough. Something for you to briefly jot down your experiences and what’s special on those road trips.
Home Sweet Home
On the journey home, relate some funny and happy moments of the trip. This is also a good way to keep the children delighted in the car. Ask them for suggestions on the next family road trip. Now that they have had an enjoyable experience, they would know what to expect. So, it’s a great idea to get them involved.
Upon reaching home, first thing first, settle the children. Give them a nice warm bath, feed them well and put them to bed (if it’s bedtime already). Make sure they are happy and comfortable.
I really love road trips as they are easy to plan. Most road trips are suitable for the whole family. So, we can bring everyone together. The more, the merrier. Remember to transfer your thoughts, experiences and beautiful memories into your journal. Choose some of your favorite photos and make them into a photo album or a wall canvas print, so you can display them in the home.