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A road trip with the family can be quite an adventure. Sure, the places you go and the attractions you see may be exciting, but half of the adventure is the drama you encounter along the ride. From lack of snacks to breaking down on the side of the road, you never quite know what kind of issues to expect on a road trip.

Instead of leaving it up to chance, be prepared with this vacation planning road trip checklist:

Safety First, And Second, And Third

It’s just common sense, you do not go on a long trip without ensuring the safety of your family. From getting your vehicle checked, to packing essentials and backups, you can never be too prepared. So let’s go over what exactly you will need. First, make sure you have a spare. No, really go check. Too many times people assume they have that in their car, and forget that they used it ages ago and never replaced it, only to find that it is not there when they need it. Don’t let this happen to you.

Next, make sure that you have the basic essentials to keep you safe in case something happens. If you don’t already have these in your car, make sure to pack a blanket (or a few), a flashlight, a first aid kit, and a small tool box. The extra baggage may be annoying but it will be a lifesaver when you need it.

Also, to ensure safety make sure that you bring phone chargers, and lots of them. It’s best if you have an adaptable piece for your car to charge your phone as well as a charger for a wall outlet, because you never know what you will need. If your family ever got stranded, needed to find directions, or call for a ride, you need battery life.

Pack A Snack…And Then Some

Whether you’re traveling with a friend, a spouse, or the whole family, packing plenty of nourishment is never a bad thing. You know someone is going to get hungry, and when you’re hungry and on a long car ride, you’re likely to get very irritable. Keep the family sane and satisfied with plenty of snacks and drinks. Also, to be safe, pack more food than you think you will need, especially if you are going on a long trip. You really never know what could happen. Imagine driving on route 66 through the deserts of Texas or Arizona, and then getting a flat tire or the car just conks out. Who knows how long you will be stranded? But with the snacks and drinks you brought to sustain you, the family will be okay to last a few hours, or even a day, in the desert. Aren’t you happy you though ahead?

Know Where You Are Going

No one likes to stop and ask for directions, so make sure you are prepared. It helps to bring a GPS, or use an app on your phone, but you can’t always rely on technology. Sometimes the routes are wrong, or detours will be left off, so come prepared with maps, and printed versions of the directions just in case you don’t get service or your GPS is wrong. It happens, and in times of need you will be grateful you added a map to your road trip checklist.

Think About The Tunes

Let’s face it; a road trip is nothing without an awesome playlist. Whether you are traveling with kids or your friends, you know there will be times of boredom as well as struggles finding a good radio station. Instead of suffering through countless hours of country ballads and NPR, come prepared with some jams that everyone will love. While you may have different tastes in music, there is surely something you will be able to agree on. If not, take turns picking the music. Bring an auxiliary cord, and let each family get a half hour of picking the music and take turns. This will keep everyone happy an entertained, at least for a bit.

Get Comfy

A long car ride is not ideal for your sleep schedule, but sometimes you just have to tough it. So if this is the case, pack the essentials you will need to get your beauty rest. A warm blanket and pillow is a good start, but don’t forget an eye mask, ear plugs, and maybe some melatonin. If you and your companions are taking turns driving and napping, you have to be considerate of others in the car. You may not always get to sleep when it is dark, and even if you do. Your friend may need to play some tunes to keep them awake. You don’t want them falling asleep at the wheel, do you? Pack what you need to experience a good night of sleep and tune out the world, and you will be well rested, and tolerable to be around.

Prepare For The “Are We There Yet?”

On long car rides, everybody gets restless. So if you are traveling with kids, you need to pack plenty of supplies to keep them entertained and happy. While you should still engage with your kids and enjoy the ride together, packing some electronics can be an easy way to keep them entertained for a bit. But also packing easy items for coloring, or small toys can be useful as well. As for the rest stops along the way, pack some items for outside use, such as chalk, a ball, or jump rope, to let kids get out some energy, and even help them tire a bit so they will want to take a nap when you get back in the car. Play your cards right by adding these items to your road trip checklist, and you will have smooth travels with the kiddos.

Road trips can be fun, but also annoying and unpredictable at times. So follow this road trip checklist and ensure that your trip is safe and satisfying.

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