Hassle-Free & Easy Way Family Road Trip Planning

It is that time of the year again: schools are almost out and it is finally summer. So we are planning a 5-day road trip to Niagara Falls & Toronto-Canada soon. As always and with everything, I like planning the framework of our travels in advance so there are few surprises or last minute glitches such as not being able to find a hotel room!

Our road trip planning usually consists of four (4) categories:

1- Accommodations Planning
2- Vehicle Readiness
3- Financial Readiness
4- General Preps

Let’s take a closer look at each item:

1 – Accommodations Planning: Book your rooms in advance by using hotels rewards cards. Choose a room/suit with a microwave and fridge so there is no need to eat all 3 meals out, we can eat out as needed and eat “home-made” meals back at the hotel. Make sure Internet and parking is free of charge since these costs do add up.

2- Vehicle Readiness: It is always prudent to get maintenance done on your car prior to any long distance road trip. Oil change, tire rotation, break fluid check, etc. should be done as part of periodic maintenance. Make sure your car inspection, registration, etc. are valid and be sure to have them with you.

3- Financial Readiness: Estimate your total road trip by using a simple excel table, apps, etc. Use Google Maps to get estimated distances. Carry some cash with smaller bills such as $20 bills. Use credit cards, not debit card, since your total liability is very limited with credit cards. If you are crossing any border, use a credit card without international transaction fees. In addition, you may use your debit card to get local currency. Make sure that the debit card you use to get cash has ATM fee-reimbursement and minimal or no fee.

4- General Preps: Don’t forget to take your IDs, passports, etc. with you. Leave a copy of them at a secure place and carry a scanned version in a flash-drive with you. Pack lightly, arrange mail pickup with your neighbor or put a mail-stop with your local post office. Inform your home security company if you have one. Make sure doors, windows are locked. If you have pets, arrange accommodations for them as well. Have some road snacks in the car so nobody gets bored. If you have pets ask your neighbors if they can take care of them, sometimes if you have small pets like fish you can also purchase 3 days or 7 days food cubes that you can place in the tank so your fish will be fed while you are gone. Make sure nothing is due while you are away such as DVD rental, bills, library items, etc. If there is a medical condition with anyone, don’t forget to address it as well.

One more thing; road trip is not just traveling from point A to point B, but all things in between so enjoy this time with your family!