We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Family Road Trip Hacks You Need to Know

A family sits on top of their car and takes a smiling selfie.
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Summer is just around the corner, and if you enjoyed a summer road trip last year or are itching for a new adventure this year, you might want to give it a try this year.

But, let’s be honest, road-tripping with the family can be a little stressful. No matter how much you love them, someone is inevitably going to ask you if you’re there yet. There will be too many bathroom breaks. You’ll have to spend more than you budgeted for fast food and gas station snacks. You might also run into some dreaded car trouble.

Thankfully, there are a few road trip hacks you can put into practice as you prep for your road trip to make the experience easier and more enjoyable.

Get Your Car Ready

One of the best things you can do to ensure smooth sailing on your road trip is to make sure your vehicle is in top shape. Before you head out on any long journeys, it’s worth it to take your car to a trustworthy mechanic.

You should get the oil changed, your tires rotated and make sure the mechanic checks for any signs of wear and tear that could end up putting your trip in “park”.

Valvoline High Mileage 150K with Maxlife Plus Technology 10W-30 Motor Oil 5 Quart

An oil change can help your car get ready for the road.

Max Out Your Media

A young girl listens to something in the car.
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

You might not be eager to encourage screen time for your kids at home. But, when you’re all stuck in a car, van, or RV for hours on end, electronics can be a great way for everyone to stay entertained and happy.

Before you leave, have everyone put together a killer Spotify playlist and take turns listening to each family member’s tunes.

Additionally, download plenty of games, learning apps, movies, and television shows on your kids’ tablets or on your phone. Doing it before you leave means you won’t waste data, and your kids will stay occupied (and quiet!) for a while as you concentrate on the road.

Pack Plenty of Snacks

There’s no question that gas prices have gone up across the country, which might already put a damper on some of your long road trip plans. But, gas prices, supply chain issues, and inflation have also caused convenience store snack prices to rise.

There’s something fun and nostalgic about letting everyone get a treat or two at every pit stop, but if you’re on a tight budget this year, consider upping your snack game before you even leave home. Let everyone pack their own snacks and put them all in a cooler so you can munch along the way and everyone isn’t starving by the time you get to a rest area.

You can also get creative and use specific snack boxes (that look a bit like tackle boxes!) to foster car-friendly charcuterie vibes. Fill each compartment with meats, cheeses, crackers, and sweets for a fancy road treat the whole family will love.

Become a Gas Guru

A person pumps gas into a car.

Speaking of gas station prices, the prices at the pump might have you rethinking how far you travel on this year’s summer road trip. Thankfully, there are plenty of hacks you can use to save money on gas throughout your trip, including buying gas on Mondays or Fridays (there’s less of a demand), avoiding idling, using your car’s cruise control, and driving slower.

You can also use technology to your advantage, downloading apps like GasBuddy to get the scoop on the best nearby gas prices, no matter where you are.

Make a DIY First-Aid Kit

You never know what could happen on the road or when you reach your destination. When you have kids, it’s inevitable that accidents will happen, and it’s essential to be as prepared as possible.

There are plenty of excellent first-aid kits available online or at your local pharmacy or superstore. But, you know your family better than anyone.

If your kids tend to be a little more accident-prone, you might want to include more bandages or antiseptic cream. If they need specific medications, storing them in a first-aid kit will help them from getting lost or forgotten.

No one wants to think about someone getting sick or injured on the road, but it does happen. Put together a first-aid kit you’re comfortable with, and you’ll be able to breathe a bit easier.

There’s nothing quite like an old-fashioned family road trip, especially when the kids are out of school for the summer.

While you might have to make a few adjustments to save money, time, and wear and tear on your car, you can still enjoy all of the nostalgia a road trip has to offer. It’s a fantastic way to make memories with your family, boost your bond, and see the country at your own pace!

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on one thing: making your life outside of work even better. Want to know more?