What do you think about trying out new recipes in the kitchen? Are you a creature of habit using the same recipes over and over again? Or do you shake things up and go all Pinterest-y with your meals?

I confess, I’m more of a Pinterest-Fail Girl than a 5-Star Chef. In fact, I have a really bad habit of leaving an ingredient out of almost every recipe I make. And, not just any ingredient- I’ve been known to leave out THE MAIN ingredient. You might wonder how that can possibly happen…and my answer would be, “I have no idea!”

But it does. Often.

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So naturally, when I’m making something new I look for recipes with very few ingredients. I like to think that it increases my odds of getting it right!

Similarly, when I’m planning a family road trip I typically focus on 5 main ingredients for making the trip successful. This is a tried and true recipe for loads of family fun and adventure along the way.

  1. Plan: No road trip should be attempted without at least a vague plan! Before you get going, take a realistic look at the amount of time and money you can spend on your trip. You will obviously have a set beginning and end destination, so focus on what you want to put in the middle and make your time and money count. Use a good website (I really like Furkot) to map out your route. Summer can be a very busy time to travel so make sure you book any necessary arrangements such as hotels or camp grounds as early in your planning as possible.
  2. Research: Along with the planning stage, you need to do some research. There is nothing worse that missing out on a cool opportunity just because you didn’t know it existed. Likewise, you’ll want to know hours of operation for any destinations, and even any deals you can apply. I always check Groupon for various locations along my travel route. Another great way to research besides the internet is by talking to people. Some of my best recommendations for road trip stops have come from asking questions on social media!
  3. Activities: I can count on one hand the number of times my children have uttered the words “Are we there yet?” on a car trip. Why? Because I stockpile my car full of activities that make our journey just as much fun as our destination. And, before you ask, yes we use technology (iPads, Kindles, iPods, etc.) but it only accounts for a small percentage of our trip entertainment. Most often our family can be found playing silly car games, searching for License Plates, listening to audiobooks or music we can jam to, or doing crafts such as knitting or coloring. Plan activities ahead of time or you will be pulling your hair out before you get out of your own city!
  4. Destinations: Make sure that your road trip includes a wide variety of destinations to appeal to all members of your family. Keep in mind your children’s attention spans and ability to stay quiet and still after long hours in the car. A few of our favorite destinations include: National or State Parks (be sure you purchase a Passport To Your National Parks book ahead of time!); zoos or aquariums; ballparks;  theme parks and museums. I always try to include a nice mix of touristy spots and off the beaten path stops!
  5. Wiggle Room: Of all the ingredients of a great road trip, this is perhaps the most important. And, the ingredient I most often forget to add! When you plan your trip, leave room for spontaneous stops. And anything unexpected that might come up. Oh, and of course, sleep! Don’t pack your trip so full of destinations and on such a tight itinerary that you can’t make any adjustments as you go.

Like with a good recipe, if you follow all of these steps and add all the ingredients correctly- the end result will be a memorable and amazing family road trip!

You may also enjoy reading:

Travel Journal: Two of My Favorite Cities

Best Ways To Limit Your Children’s Screen Time When You Travel

10 Educational Places To Take Your Kids

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