From East to West: 5 Tips for Planning the Perfect Family Road Trip

East coast families looking to make their way out West for perhaps the first time need to plan some things carefully to ensure a fun-filled vacation. There are plenty of places to stop along the way, as long as people know where to look before they take off on their adventure. With just a few tips for planning the perfect family road trip, everyone can enjoy their time heading West for some new sights to see. 

Choose Family-Friendly Locations

While there may be plenty of places to stop at, not all are family-friendly. It’s important to look for locations that offer activities for people of all ages so everyone can enjoy their time there. Visit Carlsbad, California, for example, and you’ll find the Carlsbad Premium Outlets not far from LEGOLAND. The whole family can spend a few hours enjoying activities and offerings at the LEGOLAND resort before heading out for some shopping that mom might prefer. Let the kids pick out a souvenir on the shopping trip to make it more worthwhile for them so you might hear less complaining. 

Take the Complimentary Breakfast

Most hotels offer a complimentary breakfast, or at least provide credit towards the meal in your nightly fee. Eat the breakfast whenever possible, as it provides a nutritious start to the day and keeps you from having to spend extra at that time of day. The trip will already be incredibly costly, so finding ways to save is helpful to ensure everyone can enjoy what they want along the way. The L’Auberge Sedona in Arizona is a great place to stop while heading West because there’s often an option for a breakfast credit and even credit towards the restaurant for nighttime dining. 

Pick a Hotel Near Attractions

It may be more expensive, but picking a hotel near at least one attraction will ensure it takes less time to get to the fun. A hotel located much farther away could take considerable vacation time simply getting to and from the hotel to the desired hotspot. Two of the best hotels in New Mexico are the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Sante Fe or the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, both with plenty nearby to do. 

Pack Everyone a Travel Backpack

Most items get packed up and put inside the trunk to store along the way. This may mean a beloved item is left in the back when someone really wants it. Having a travel backpack kept inside the car for everyone is a great way to ensure each person has fast access to some things they enjoy. This is especially important for multiple children who may fight over the few toys that were brought along. Each child gets to place their preferred toys, activities, snacks, and other helpful items inside to use during the road trip, without the other one being able to take it. 

Play Games Along the Way

Most kids won’t sit well for hours at a time. Doing nothing but listening to the radio and playing with the few toys they brought won’t hold their attention for long. Make the trip more fun for them by playing along with some family road trip games. Things like I-Spy and searching signs and license plates for the next letters of the alphabet are some easy games for everyone to play that will provide a good amount of distraction. 

A family road trip can be more stressful than fun for some, especially if they didn’t make the proper preparations before heading out. Each place to stop at should be thought out before ever heading out the door, with only family-friendly attractions chosen that will please everyone. Make the most of an East to West road trip by following these tips and making careful considerations. 

Author: Dan Collins

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