This is the first post of a new series called… yes, you guessed it, “Ultimate Family Road Trip.” I need to start this post off with a confession… I am not the planner in my family. My husband does the planning, and he is very good at it! He gets all of his information together, and then we sift through it together to choose the best plan for the family. So whoever is the better planner (or googler) of your family should probably head this part of the road trip up.
Things you want to think about when planning your trip:
-A destination (I talk more about choosing a destination in 7 Initial Steps).
-Make a budget! You should think about gas, food, and lodging costs. And if you are flying somewhere for your road trip, you will have to include a car rental in those costs.
-Points of Interest. Research your destination online or at the library (yes they still exist, and they still have books in them!).
-Determine the length of your trip.
-Figure out which points of interest you really want to see, and map out the most efficient route from there. You want to be smart about gas usage and all that, so plan things in order of how they appear on your route.
-Pick extra things you might want to do. You can make a list of everything you have time for, but those things might not be the best things timing wise once you actually get to where you are going. It is always good to have a few back up plans to choose from.
-Remember to think about timing, eating, rest stops, and stopping for the night when you are making your rough schedule (you should never make a rigid schedule for road tripping because you would be setting yourself up to fail).
-Get the right maps (paper or GPS)! This is a crucial step for any road tripper.
-Plan out your hotels if you can, that way you can read reviews and get exact prices. Just a heads up… a 4 star hotel in Europe is like a 2 star hotel in the United States. And if it is an actual 4 star hotel, it does not mean it is in a 4 star location. If you are going somewhere you want to walk around and enjoy, make sure your hotel is not 30 miles away from the city center.
-If you are going to be in a foreign country, google maps will estimate your fuel costs, which helps a lot.
-Remember to watch out for the hidden cost of any road trip: toll roads! We spent around 40 euros each way driving from Athens to Thessaloniki. Yikes!