We’ve been over road trips at great length. We have posted about how fun they are, all the benefits they provide, and why it’s simply amazing and refreshing to take the whole family on a cross-country road trip. However, what can you do if you have young children or pets? The answer is: take the whole family on a cross-country road trip. Just because you have to do things a little differently, doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a long road trip with young kids and pets. You just have to know what you’re doing.
Rule #1 – Do Not Travel without a GPS and Phone.
These two things are crucial items that could save your life. Since toddlers and pets are unpredictable, you will need these items to travel. Sure, people travelled for many years without these things, but the life expectancy of people also used to be much shorter. GPS systems have been out for a long time, so now there are many formats and styles, providing an array of affordable options. If you plan to have a break from technology, and want to stick to a traditional map, consider this. You don’t need to keep these items on and use them consistently. Simply keep them in case of emergencies, or if you’re severely lost. “I’m so glad I didn’t bring a cell phone to call for help when my RV breaks down in the middle of a New Mexico desert while my kid is hungry and my dog is thirsty,” said no one ever.
Rule #2 – Always have a Brand-New First Aid Kit.
Also, opt for a RV safety kit, which includes flares, a spare tire, tools, flashlights, and anything you’d need in the event of a breakdown. Same as with any road trip, inspect the entire vehicle before taking it on a run. Safety kits are rarely used items, which means many people opened first-aid kits that might be missing a Band-Aid or a few painkillers. You want a brand new one, to ensure 100% that you will have every possible item you could need. Also, ask your vet about emergency treatments and medicines for animals on the road. Make your pet an emergency kit as well. “I cut my hand and there are no Band-Aids left in the first-aid kit, it’s a great thing we didn’t buy a new one” said no one ever.
Rule #3 – Prepare your child, mentally, for what’s about to happen.
Take him or her on a few short road trips first. Your kid’s first road trip should not be an obnoxiously long one; it will ruin things for everyone. Explain to them that feeling “bored” is all about perspective. Remind them that they’ll get to see distant places and that you’ll stop often to get out of the vehicle and explore. The great thing about RVs is that many of them have glorious accommodations similar to home. Some kids still even get their own bedrooms. Ease your child’s anxiety by explaining that an RV road trip is just like being a home, except way cooler. There will be times where your child is bored, and wants a regular shower, so be ready for that. “I love 10-minute lukewarm showers,” said no one ever.
Rule#4 –Don’t Give Yourself Time Restrictions
Be sure to keep open-ended or flexible reservations for your first day. With kids and animals, you’ll have to stop often for bathroom breaks. Think about how long your trip will take if you stop every hour, and then you’ll be covered. Most kids and animals have to go to the bathroom every other hour. For cats, you’ll still want to take them outside to use the litter box for obvious reasons. “I want to drive across country with a litter box in an RV,” said no one ever.
Be sure to take this trip when you and your family are seasoned travelers. Long RV trips are great fun, but if introduced to them the wrong way, your kids and pets could learn to hate them forever.