Tips to Prepare for Family Road Trips With Kids and Pets

Are you preparing to leave London and hit the road with your kids and companion pets?

Road trips can be fun for the whole family - parents, kids, and even pets.  Escaping everyday life for a while can produce a big smile on everyone's face, whether traveling for a vacation or simply going on a road trip.

In addition, a well-prepared road trip is an excellent way to practice mindfulness and be happy. You can focus on the journey instead of worrying about what you forgot to bring.

When preparing for road trips, you can find a middle ground between over-packing and under-packing. This option provides your family and pets with what you need for the trip. 

Let’s look at some feasible ways your family and fur babies can prepare for the open road.

1. Do a Practice Run  

Practicing a trip can be worthwhile if you’re traveling with kids and pets.

You can do a practice run with your kids. Make it a day trip or weekend trip. The kids can practice any car rules” your family has during the practice road trip.

You can also take your companion pet to the vet to ensure it’s up-to-date on vaccinations. Its health should also be good enough for travel.

Once your pet receives a clean bill of health, it’s time for some short practice runs. Monitor your cat, dog, or other pet for any motion sickness, nervousness, or anxiety due to a moving vehicle.

Some signs of car sickness or motion sickness include:

- Panting
- Retching or vomiting
- Lip-licking
- Drooling
- Excessing swallowing

If your pet dog shows such symptoms, consult with your doctor about possible treatments, such as prescription medications or herbal supplements.

In the weeks right before the trip, take your pet canine on a few more car rides to places such as a pet supply store or dog park. Your dog will associate the car trip with a positive experience.   

2. Bring Enough Food to Avoid Fast Food

Part of traveling or taking a vacation is enjoying yourself. So maybe you’d think bringing some junk food and cheating on a diet won’t hurt.

However, you must make sure to pack healthy snacks for you, your kiddos, and your pet. One sit-down meal a day is reasonable.

You may have few options besides fast food on the road map. So, consider bringing enough food in coolers for some healthy meals.

Besides helping you eat healthier, packing some pre-made meals can also save money on food.

Do you have a large family? If so, each fast food or casual dining meal can add up faster than your odometer during a road trip. 

3. Plan a Pet-Friendly and Kid-Friendly Travel Route

When mapping out your journey, plan some “pitstops” for your kids. They give your family a chance to have back pain relief exercises and use the restroom.

You can do a web search to find local parks with playground equipment. Your kids and dog can have some fun.

It’s also essential to make plans based on your pet’s needs. For example, your canine will need to get out to exercise or take a potty break.

Rest stops are a good option since they provide dogs a chance to stretch their legs, play, and do their business outside.

Meanwhile, avoid places that are crowded. Kids and pets are likely to feel uneasy in such areas. A primary example is a gas station, a high-traffic area with lots of vehicles and people.

During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s especially critical even for pets to practice social distancing during the trip.

The USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that some pets, including cats and dogs, can get infected with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, they’re unlikely to transmit the virus.

4. Make a Checklist

There’s an app for that, or you can use old-school pen and paper. One of the main benefits of making a checklist is it’s in writing. So, it’s easier to remember everything you need.

Try to find online travel checklists, including ones for kids and pets. You’ll likely need to make some tweaks, but these travel checklists are good starting points. 

Make a checklist of things your kids will need for the road trip. The basics include snacks, food, and special items such as ski, camping, or beach gear like foldable chairs, tents, beach umbrellas, etc. Bring enough things to keep your kids entertained. 

This process can also help to make sure you have everything for your pet. For example, did you pack the collapsible bowls for your dog’s food and water?

5. Start Packing One Week Early

This option can prevent you from rushing around right before the road trip to gather everything you require. When traveling with kids and pets, it’s especially critical to give yourself some extra time. 

The process can start with basics like preparing the travel luggage such as suitcases and backpacks. You can then begin laying out the items you’ll need for the trip.

You can also start loading up the luggage. You can do a little bit every night or on the night before you start the trip.

If you start a week early, you’ll likely be done or nearly done at least a day before the trip. You can then commence your road trip with less stress and rushing.

6. Pack with a Plan

When packing for your road trip, consider the main items your kids and pets will need.

Here are some must-bring items for kids:

- Books
- Travel games
- Portable DVD player
- Binoculars
- Music
- Audiobooks app
- Headphones
- Camera
- Sketchbooks and colored pencils

Here are some items you should generally consider bringing for your pet:

- Food and water (Tip: avoid changing pet food near the trip)
- Leash and collar with updated ID tags
- Treats- Bed and blankets
- Recent photo of you and your pet
- Pet seat belt or car seat
- Flea and tick control
- Waste bags
- Some new and old pet toys
- Vaccination certificates and medical records

You can make adjustments based on the particular needs of your kids and pets. A general approach to take is to bring the essentials. Extras are an option if you're willing to haul them during the journey.

The Bottom Line

Prep work is a critical element of a successful road trip with kids and pets. Making a packing list, planning routes, and preparing for emergencies are just some of the steps to take to make your trip as fun for your pet as it is for you. 

Happy road trip!


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