Road trips are a lot of fun. Experiencing the open road, traveling from city-to-city and passing through historic towns can be unforgettable. But when your parents come along for the trip, things can get very interesting very quickly.
Add old age into the mix, when your parents are elderly, and you’ll find out that you have a lot more planning to do than you expected.
These tips can help you plan a road trip with your parents that is a success.
1. Plan Familiar Stops Along the Way
Elders – no offense to any readers – love familiarity. When things are always different, there seems to be anxiety and chaos. You need to provide some activities and stops along the way that seem familiar to your parents.
For example, if your parents go to Starbucks often, plan a few Starbucks stops along the way.
By adding in a few familiar stops along the way, you’ll be able to keep your parents in a good mood.
2. Get Your Vehicle Maintained Before Your Trip
I know my parents always gaze at the dashboard when a check engine light is on. “Are you going to get that fixed?” is a common question I hear. It’s never fun when you’re on a trip with a paranoid parent who doesn’t seem to trust your vehicle’s longevity.
But your parents may be on to something.
Mobil recommends doing the following before a road trip:
- Checking and changing your oil
- Checking and topping off all fluids
- Inspecting and replacing any worn hoses
- Inspecting and replacing worn belts
- Checking and changing engine coolant as needed
Of course, also have any check engine lights diagnosed and major repairs made as needed.
3. Prepare Health and Medical Supplies
Parents, especially fathers, never want to be a burden on their children. Health and medical conditions often go unspoken of because parents don’t want to burden their children. If you know that there are certain health issues that may arise, take a proactive approach.
You can also ask the other parent what mom or dad may need on the trip, like:
- Adult diapers
- Bed pads (to cover the seat)
- Drinking aids
- Eating aids
- Oxygen (if needed)
Make a list of medical supplies that your parents might need. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to cover everything, but you’ll be able to bring along a few supplies that are must-haves.
4. Entertainment is a Must
Road trips are bad when there are kids, but matters get even worse when you have a cranky, older parent with you. Legs start to cramp, the heat or air conditioner is changed a hundred times and forget about your music tastes.
A way to avoid these complaints is to bring entertainment along with you.
Smartphones are great because you’ll be able to:
- Stream parent-friendly music
- Download movies to watch
- Bring e-books for your parents to read
You’ll want to download all of your entertainment choices before you leave to save data. If you’re on an unlimited data plan, you might even be able to stream / download on-the-go.