How to Plan the Ultimate Family Summer Roadtrip

Travel Inspiration

Whether you’re brand-new to the RV lifestyle or an old hat, there’s nothing quite as exciting as planning the ultimate RV family road trip vacation. The kids have ample time off classes, the days are long and languid, and the whole world is warm and wonderful.

We definitely get it: it’s tempting to just grab the keys and hit the road as soon as school’s out. But spending a little bit of time with your road atlas, travel guidebook, and family road trip planner ahead of time might help you create a better itinerary. After all, spontaneity is one of the most alluring parts of the camping lifestyle… but a little bit of planning can go a long way when it comes to family vacations!

Want to learn more about the best ways to go about planning a family road trip? We put together some of our best tips, tricks, and strategies when it comes to creating amazing summer trips for families. So read on to find out more!

Family Vacation Ideas

It’ll probably won’t come as a surprise that our favorite way to take a family road trip is by RV.

Yes, we might be a little bit biased… but think about it. When you’re cruising in your travel trailer or motorhome, it’s basically like hitting the road in your very own private bed and breakfast. You don’t have to worry about where you and the kids will sleep each night, or waste tons of cash eating every single meal at a restaurant.

Even with their high fuel cost, that means RVs can help lower your total family road trip budget — especially if you camp smart. After all, even mediocre hotel rooms are usually around $100 per night. If you’re brave enough to try boondocking, or dispersed camping, on public lands, you’ll pay a whole lot less than that, and possibly nothing at all!

You can find great deals on developed campgrounds, too, if you’re looking for affordable family vacations filled with resort-style amenities. One of our best pieces of advice? Consider signing up for a Passport America membership. Passport America is the only discount camping club that gets you 50% off your campsite accommodation fees at almost 1900 campgrounds across the country, including several locations in Mexico and Canada — which means there’s bound to be one nearby your next great destination.

Best of all, your Passport America membership costs less than $50 for a full year — which, considering the price of many popular campgrounds these days, can easily pay for itself in a single weekend. If you’re planning to hit the road for a whole summer, you can save a heap of cash with this simple investment!

Family Road Trip Destinations

Just one glance at your road map will tell you there’s a whole world of destinations out there waiting to be discovered. It can be downright difficult to choose where to go!

But when it comes to the best family road trip, not all destinations are created equally. However, which is the best for you and yours will depend on your personal preferences.

For instance, is your family the adventurous, outdoorsy type, always ready to take on a new hike or maybe even summit a mountain? Then you’ll want to focus your trip planning around national parks and other natural spaces, and the cities that serve as little more than adventure bases. Some ideas for you:

  • The Grand Circle tour of the national parks in the southwest — don’t forget to collect stamps in National Parks Passport, and maybe invest in a National Parks guidebook, too!)
  • Finding some remote, BLM-owned land on which to try out boondocking.
  • Setting up camp in an outdoorsy town like Austin, Texas or Asheville, North Carolina — which gives you the best of both the indoor and outdoor worlds

On the other hand, maybe your idea of a wild adventure is a great film followed up by a world-class dinner. There’s nothing wrong with urban exploring — and your RV is a cozy, private way to do it!

Here are some of our favorite summer family road trip destinations.

Cross Country Family Road Trip

Traveling by RV makes it easy to take the ultimate, cross-country family road trip. The only limit on your adventure is your imagination — and, OK, maybe your free time and budget.

Cross-country travel is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you should take advantage of over the summer if you can. But from packing fresh food on board to keeping the kids entertained, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re going to be spending multiple weeks on the road.

Here are a few blog posts we’ve written that’ll help you plan that epic cross-country trip you’ve been dreaming of.

What to Pack for a Family Road Trip

Finally, no matter where you end up going or how long you spend there (or on the journey), it’s important to be prepared and pack all the essentials you need to enjoy your trip. Here are a few items not to leave home without.

An emergency kit including road flares, basic tools, and more — here’s our post on the emergency gear you should always have on board your camper.

Basic necessities like your wardrobe, toiletries, and entertainment objects. Family road trip games are a great way to keep kids from getting cranky on the highway; this scavenger hunt card game is one of our favorites, and is available for less than $10 on Amazon!

Great navigation aids, whether you go the digital route with an RV GPS (or smartphone navigational apps like RV CoPilot) or take some old-school paper maps.

Finally, it is summertime, so be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and your bathing suit. Whether it’s a river, lake, or ocean, more than likely you’re going to want to find some time to cool down.

One thing to leave off your packing lists, however? The kids’ textbooks — and your day-to-day stress. Relax: that’s what summer is for!

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