Why ROAD TRIPS are a good idea for family travel…?

Spending long periods of time together gives us the opportunity to unplug and connect with each other on a completely different level…”

What we love most about road trips that they make the journey so adventurous, the destination secondary. Road trips were a big part of everyone’s childhood and some of your fondest memories. They are a wonderful way to spend time together as a family, travel on a budget, and see a lot of the countryside. Here are reasons why you should consider a road trip for your next family vacation and ways to make it possible:

Choose your own adventure, whether you drive 100 miles or 2,000 miles, you’re in complete control over where you go and how you get there. Being in a vehicle allows you to see the countryside and visit places you would not ordinarily visit. Adventure lies in the most unexpected places. The great thing about road trips is that every day is different. Tomorrow brings new landscapes, new towns, new attractions and new hotel rooms. This is exciting for little ones, and parents, because every day becomes a new adventure. It also means that you can change your itinerary at a moment’s notice if you find something better to do.

Schedules are not important; one of the most stressful parts of family travel is making your departure time. No matter how well you plan, you always feel rushed on travel days. Packing, feeding, cleaning, dressing, there’s never a shortage of things to do (and that’s before you start getting yourself ready). Planes and trains don’t wait for unpunctual families, so we often start “the process” several hours before departure time. Road trips allow you to go at your own pace, removing the unnecessary stress that come with strict departure times; we had a set itinerary with planned activities for each day. But, as the trip evolved, our itinerary changed. We added stops, we removed stops. We decided to swim in the pool after breakfast instead of hitting the road.

Save money on flights, purchasing flights for a family of four is not cheap. In fact, finding the money to pay for flights is often the biggest constraint that prevents young families from traveling. By removing expense, we are able to stretch our travel budget further, allowing us to travel longer and deeper. Starting a road trip from home allows us to use our personal vehicle, so we eliminate the costs of renting a vehicle and adding auto insurance. Renting a vehicle can cost so much  per day, so taking advantage of using your personal vehicle saves a lot of money. Having a vehicle also allows the freedom to stay at hotels or apartment rentals that are located outside of the city center, which tends to save us considerable money on the price of accommodations and overnight parking (don’t overlook the cost of parking in the town core of a major city – it can be as high as you think per night!).

Travel more often; building on the above point, by saving money on expensive air fare, we are able to have more travel experiences. Road trips don’t always have to be epic cross country adventures that take weeks to complete; sometimes a weekend getaway a few hours from home is exactly what the doctor ordered. Big trips to exotic destinations or remote tropical islands can sometimes feel unattainable when you’re caught up in the daily routine of raising your children, but that doesn’t mean travel has to stop. You must be thinking of a few destinations within a 3-5 hour drive from your home that “you’ve always wanted to visit” but have never found the time. Why not make that city/beach/national park your next adventure? The road trip mindset allows the ability to travel more because it can be a last minute decision that isn’t very expensive, especially if you plan to camp or stay with friends and family.

Take breaks on your terms; do you remember your first long flight? Did you have a “get me off this freaking plane” moment? Felt suffocated and trapped. All you wanted to do was walk around and get some fresh air (not a good idea at 35,000 feet). Kids are no different. They need a break from the chair, they need to stretch their legs and take a deep breath of fresh air. The problem is that young kids have a tough time understanding why they can’t get up and walk around or get off the plane (not an easy thing to explain especially to a 2 year old). Road trips allow you the ability to slow down and take as many breaks as you need, making the trip much more enjoyable for everyone. Routine is important, so try your best to drive long stretches during typical napping hours. When your children fall asleep, step on the gas and try to cover as much ground as we can. Try to plan breaks around the day’s activity or attraction.

Bring your own food – and save money, usually infant has a severe food allergy, so it can be difficult finding restaurants that cater to his/her diet. It’s a challenge even in your hometown where you must be very familiar with the available options. Traveling with a vehicle allows to stop at a grocery store and purchase food items that have ingredient labels. This is very important to us. Bring a small cooler with you and load it up with food so you don’t have to rely on restaurants. Eating at a restaurant as a family of four typically costs so much in Pakistan. If you eat out 2-3 times a day that number adds up quickly. By purchasing groceries in bulk we save time and money, and it allows us to pull over and have picnics at random parks, which is always fun.

Spend quality time together; this is one of favorite part of road trips. Life is busy. We’re always plugged in and focused on what’s “out there” or we’re too busy working through our daily routines. Spending long periods of time together gives us the opportunity to unplug and connect with each other on a completely different level. We blast songs on the radio, play games like “eye spy”, and actually talk to each other. We love listening to their stories and learning how they process the world. Kids have a way of simplifying even the most complex situations. While they may have perfectly valid reasons for this line of thinking, if travel is important then a fantastic solution is to load up the car and take a road trip. If you’ve recently said to yourself, “I need a vacation but the timing just isn’t right”, do yourself a favor and take a road. Open up a map, pick a destination you’ve always wanted to visit and go.

Spending long periods of time together gives us the opportunity to unplug and connect with each other on a completely different level…”

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Q&A A session with Zaheer  Kiani

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