Road trips are one the few things that are forever woven into the American culture. Trekking across this great land by vehicle gives you a whole new appreciation for the beauty and diversity. It’s a rite of passage for couples and the ultimate bonding experience for a family.
This year about one third of Americans will take a family vacation. Of those, 69% will take a road trip. The most important decision you make, even more important than where you go, is what you drive to get there. The vehicle can make or break the experience.
Here are four road warriors that can make your next family vacation more enjoyable for everyone.
Recreation Vehicle (RV)
Comfortably accommodates up to 10 people.
If you want to take your home on the road a recreation vehicle is the only way to go. RVs are the ultimate road trip vehicle because everything you need is right there with you. There’s also enough space for everyone to spread out. In other words fewer fights while you’re cruising down the road. And if you plan to hit a few national parks during your vacation there’s no better way to experience the great outdoors.
There are a few things to consider before loading up in the RV. The most important consideration is who will drive. Typically no special licensing is needed, but it is totally different than driving a van. As far as the cost goes you could end up breaking even. RV loans are much more affordable than most people realize. The money you save by skirting the hotels could cover the cost of your payments.
Minivans and Passenger Vans
Comfortably accommodates up to 8 people.
If you want something spacious but won’t have space for an RV at your vacation spot a minivan is the next best option. They may not look cool and have a soccer mom reputation, but today’s minivans are basically entertainment on wheels. Passengers in the back can watch movies on a decent size drop down screen and have enough room to stretch out there legs. There are also cup holders galore, plenty of storage options and some newer minivans have built-in Wi-Fi hotspots.
Today there are many types of vans that can make a long distance trip. If you need extra space for extended family or additional luggage consider renting a passenger van that can hold up to 15 people.
Comfortably accommodates up to 7 people.
Any family vacation that’s going to involve spending time near a lake or on a boat can benefit from a tow-ready SUV. It’s got the hauling capability of a truck, but the interior space of a van. You’ll have to sacrifice fuel efficiency, but a tow-ready SUV is both practical and function for certain vacations.
The other benefit of a tow-ready SUV is you can haul other toys or cargo trailers. If your family plans to take an extended road trip the extra hauling can really come in handy.
Off Roading Jeep
Comfortably accommodates up to 5 people.
If you’re looking for a little excitement and can count your immediate family members on one hand, then an off roading jeep could be perfect. The quintessential vehicle in this category is the Jeep Wrangler. It’s definitely a spring/summer vehicle since most models have a soft top. But cruising down the road with the top down will make a regular road trip feel more like an adventure.
This type of vehicle is best for short trips since they aren’t as spacious as other options. Even though off roading jeeps are tons of fun you may want to go with another option if you have young kids.
Prepping for the Road
Now that you’re considering your road trip vehicle options it’s a good time to bring up the importance of prepping before you head out. No matter what type of vehicle your family chooses maintenance is a must. Proper car care will keep you cruising smoothly down the road so the vacation doesn’t get sidelined before it starts.
During your road trip prep remember to:
- Check the tire pressure and tread
- Check the fluid levels (engine oil, transmission fluid, water, coolant)
- Check the battery
- Make sure all of the lights are working (headlights, brake lights, blinkers)
- Test the brake system
- Examine hoses and belts
Save a little space in the vehicle for:
- Few gallons of water
- Quart or two of oil
- Jumper cables
- Operable spare tire
- First aid kit
- Gas tank
Once you’re done inspecting everything take a short test drive. Cruise around the neighborhood as well as down the highway so you can feel how things handle at different speeds. Happy Travels!