Tips to Help You Avoid a Griswold-Style Family Vacation

After some careful financial planning that included plenty of scrimping and saving, you are officially ready to plan your family’s upcoming summer road trip.

family vacation

While you are excited to have a family vacation, see the sights and visit some friends and relatives along the way, you know that there are plenty of things that could go wrong, and you hope to avoid them.

In fact, when you start packing for vacations, you usually start having flashbacks of the time you watched “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” the 1983 movie that tells the tale of the Griswold family’s cross-country drive to visit the Walley World theme park. If it could go wrong for the Griswolds in the movie, it did. And although you get a kick out of re-watching the movie even today, you definitely do not want to go all Griswold during your trip.

Fortunately, with some pre-planning and a touch of common sense, you can definitely avoid a Griswold-style summer vacation road trip. For example, check out these three classic movie mishaps and how you can prevent them from happening to you:

Mishap 1: The Suitcases Fall Off of the Car

The Griswolds weren’t even on the road before this mishap took place. The suitcases tumbled from the top of the vehicle, which is definitely something you want to avoid. If you cannot fit all of your suitcases and trip paraphernalia inside of your car, you can invest in a waterproof roof bag that will fit all cars, SUVs and vans. Priced at a budget-friendly $69, the bag comes with heavy duty straps, and it will work on a bare roof as well as on cross bars or side rails. You can stash a bunch of stuff inside this bag and then securely attach it to your roof—the bag will stay put during your road trip, so you won’t have to pull over to pick up your suitcases and then put them back on the top of your minivan.

Mishap 2: Clark Falls Asleep at the Wheel

Although it is amusing to watch as Clark Griswold nods off at the wheel and then manages to avoid hitting anything for miles, in real life this is definitely a serious situation you want to avoid. As the Sleep Foundation notes, you should prepare ahead of time and get 7 to 8 hours of snooze the night before your drive—this may mean handling last minute details and packing a few days before you leave. Also, if you can take a short nap before you hit the road, it will help you to stay awake during your long drive. If you can, share the driving responsibilities with your hubby or teenage kiddos with licenses, and try not to pack too many miles into one day. When you feel tired, find a motel and call it a day. You can also stock up on caffeinated drinks if they agree with you and don’t make you too jittery, but even the biggest iced coffee will not take the place of some solid snooze time.

Mishap 3: The Car Crashes and the Fix-It Guys Massively Overcharge Clark

Of course, you vehemently hope that you make it through the entire trip without having any accidents like our friends the Griswolds. After they crashed through a road closure sign the mechanics barely repaired the car and charged Clark a lot of money for their shoddy work. To avoid this situation, pay close attention while you are driving and steer clear—literally!—of any road closure signs.

If something does happen during your trip and you have a vehicle breakdown of some sort, be sure you have both roadside insurance coverage, so you can get towed if you are in the middle of nowhere, as well as an extended warranty plan on the vehicle. Protect My Car offers extended warranty plans for cars that are no longer covered under the factory warranty; this way, if your A/C conks out in the middle of Arizona, you can get your car repaired at a shop along the way and you won’t have to spend a fortune on repairs.

Have a Great Time and Don’t Worry about Those Griswolds

It is understandable that you worry a bit about the things that could go wrong during your upcoming trip. After all, you are a loving and devoted mom and these feelings are part of the mommy territory. But there is no reason at all that your road trip needs to end up like the Griswold vacation—you are organized and on top of things, and with pre-planning you will have a wonderful, relaxing and safe trip with your family.

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