An increased desire for families to travel more while being more budget-conscious as costs continue to be higher than average for travel were both aspects identified in the Family Travel Association’s (FTA) 2023 Travel Survey. 

For families looking to spend more quality time together in 2024 while cutting down on costs, planning a family road trip presents a fantastic solution — especially when aiming to see and do more on a vacation. From the healthiest road-trip-friendly snacks to bring for the whole family to which vehicle to get and how you can plan a family-friendly route, forming the perfect road trip itinerary can be made simple.

Healthy Homemade Snacks for the Whole Family

Snacks are an integral part of any family road trip, working to keep your family satisfied and full while keeping the dreaded ‘hangry’ attitudes at bay (without spending big bucks on eating out for every meal). Packaged snacks, like granola bars, freeze-dried fruit, and fruit juices, make for excellent road trip options due to their convenient nature, allowing them to be quickly taken on the go. 

However, there are several options out there when it comes to healthy homemade snacks worth bringing along. Taste of Home points out several considerations — including homemade Cheez-Its, teriyaki beef jerky, mini muffins, and even homemade potato chips.

If you plan on taking an RV with a refrigerator or bringing along a cooler, packing fresh fruits, deli meat sandwiches, and snack-sized vegetables will ensure an array of healthy options. Bringing healthy options may sound like a buzzkill, but how you present them can make a difference. 

In addition to having your children help prepare the snacks, cutting vegetables, fruits, and sandwiches into fun shapes can make them more exciting. Applying the concept further by investing in fun, budget-friendly containers can make for a fun and easy-to-pack snack. 

For example, choosing containers that feature your child’s favorite characters or their favorite color will allow you to make road trip snacks a more exciting experience overall (all the while giving them something new to look forward to if you happen to be buying the supplies for an upcoming trip).

Vehicle Considerations 

In addition to bringing along the right snacks, taking the right vehicle out on the open road can make or break a trip. One prime consideration is determining the length of the family road trip. 

For longer trips (a week or longer, for instance), renting an RV can be a beneficial option, especially when aiming to create a budget-friendly itinerary. With advantages such as a spacious interior, space for sleeping and eating, and a bathroom on board, renting an RV can make for a convenient and comfortable way to travel with the whole family without booking multiple hotel rooms along your route. 

An RV can also help cut down spending when it comes to food, allowing you to bring along snacks and groceries and cook your own meals — grilled hamburgers, one-pot spaghetti, and even grilled peppered steaks are all feasible when cooking in an RV.

A car or midsize truck will suffice for shorter day trips. Midsize pickup trucks, for example, can benefit families headed to a camping location or another like-minded destination that may require bringing hefty supplies. With the ability to haul camping supplies, surfboards, fishing gear, or other large items, it’s imperative to note that midsize trucks have a footprint that makes them more maneuverable than larger trucks, allowing for more accessible parking and garaging. 

When searching for the right vehicle for your family’s needs, consumer ratings of top midsize truck models can play a crucial role. They allow you to gain insight into everything from cost to modern features, like a WiFi hotspot. This can help immensely when looking for a specific price range or safety features, like lane keeping assist or lane departure warning.

The Power of an Interactive Experience 

One USA Today article highlights a few ways road trip planning can be made easy and engaging. Getting the kids involved from the very start is just one way to inject excitement into the trip from the beginning, from helping to plan and make the snacks to choosing what you’ll see and do along the way. 

Setting aside a day or two to plan the details can be a great place to start, even if you’re just getting ideas for destinations. If you have more than one child, allowing them to each plan a stop or two along the way will inject even more excitement into the trip while proposing a bit of freedom (instead of choosing a set route without their opinions).

“Take the kids to the library and check out books on your destination. Make a list of sites you want to see and activities you want to do,” suggests the USA Today post. This can make planning more interactive, giving you specific insight into your children’s excitement. Keeping a road trip binder or notebook can further work to keep everything in one tangible place when it comes time to solidify plans. Allowing your children to add their ideas will create an interactive and exciting activity they look forward to.

Family road trips can be an excellent solution for those wishing to spend more family time together in 2024 while keeping a budget in mind. However, planning the perfect trip goes beyond simply getting in the car and hitting the road. From bringing nutritious homemade snacks to choosing the right vehicle, planning a family-forward trip can be made simple.

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