ausableOver the past two years, my family has taken advantage of the days off between Christmas Day and New Year’s to take a wonderful winter family vacation.  My husband and children have the time off, making it the perfect time to get away, but it can be difficult to fully prepare for a trip when you are also dealing with the holidays.  Generally, I’m so busy buying and wrapping presents that I don’t have the time to do all of my family vacation homework.  This year, we paid the price of our poor family road trip planning, and we absolutely learned our lesson.  Here are a few of my hard-earned lessons – hopefully this will save you some headaches in the future!

First, when I looked up our journey on Google Maps, I simply checked the drive time, assuming we’d use our Prius’ built-in GPS for the actual journey.  Therefore, I didn’t review the turn by turn directions.  Imagine my surprise when I realized those directions actually included a ferry ride – one we certainly hadn’t prepared for.  I didn’t know if the ferry had to be reserved, how long the trip was, and if I had to be there at a specific time. 

I also neglected to check the weather forecast for our entire journey – I just looked at our destination.  We were about three hours into our four and a half hour drive when we drove right into a horrible snowstorm.  For several minutes, we passed multiple car accidents and spinouts, before we reached a point where the highway was actually closed down.  For about an hour, we completely panicked as we sat in traffic, but finally the weather cleared up.

In the future, I’ll definitely be checking the full route, and the weather along my entire road trip path.

How do you prepare for a road trip?