Planning the Perfect Extended Family Road Trip

When we think of getting together with extended family, we often think in terms of holidays and family reunions. While these are a great way for everyone to see each other for a bit and say hi, they don’t offer much time for family to really spend quality time together. Reunions typically only last a short time and are jam-packed with so many relatives – from third and fourth cousins to great-great-aunts-twice-removed – that it can be tough to really get to know anyone there. Holidays, meanwhile, are often rushed and filled with stress.

That’s why when it comes to true family bonding, you can’t beat a road trip. How do you get everyone to your final destination? You can all opt to drive separately. Your family can also rent a mini bus or a school bus to ensure that no one gets lost along the way. This will also give everyone a chance to catch up and bond while enjoying the sights on your trip. The latter is the best choice, in our opinion, as it provides time for plenty of on-the-road family fun.

Where Should You Go?

In terms of destinations, everyone is likely to have a different opinion about where to go. One great idea is to set a final destination (driving from Houston, Texas to Destin, Florida for a beach trip, for example) while planning to stop for food and fun highlights along the way. If the kids in the family are old enough to read, let them decide where you’ll stop by perusing a guide such as the National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas. Along with fun facts and games that will keep the kids occupied, it lists some of the coolest sites you should definitely see along the way.

Keep in mind that the trip isn’t so much about the destination as it is about the bonding experience that will happen on the journey. You may not have ever realized that you needed to see the factory where Tabasco hot sauce is made, but now you, Aunt Edna, and Uncle Phil will get the chance!

Keep in mind that the trip isn’t so much about the destination as it is about the bonding experience that will happen on the journey. You may not have ever realized that you needed to see the factory where Tabasco hot sauce is made, but now you, Aunt Edna, and Uncle Phil will get the chance!

Pack the Essentials

Planning a long road trip isn’t like running across town for groceries; you’ll want to make sure that everyone is comfortable throughout the duration of the trip. While playing “I Spy” or looking for the license plate of each state in alphabetical order will keep everyone entertained and laughing for awhile, after a few hours, everyone may want some quiet time. When this happens, make sure you’re prepared.

This means packing a bag with portable chargers for everyone’s devices (music players, portable video games, and ebooks included). You’ll also want easy access to snacks and drinks for everyone, as toting your own is healthier and much less expensive than picking up munchies at gas stations. Also consider creating a mobile medicine cabinet for whatever may befall anyone; it’s a good idea to bring over-the-counter pain medication for a headache or back pain, as well as tablets for an upset stomach (as you never know when car sickness might strike!).

Be Flexible

Most of all, it’s important for everyone to relax, have fun, and be flexible. With so many different people on board your mini bus, there are sure to be differing opinions about what sites are a “must-see” and which ones aren’t worth the time. If you get stuck visiting the World’s Biggest Ball of Yarn because Grannie Mim is a huge fan of knitting, just go with it! Pose with her next to that ball and remember that you’re making silly memories that will last a lifetime. Now say cheese!

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When I’m not rockin’ out with my bros, I’m here adding my little tidbits of experience to the mix. You feel me?

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