Seeing a bunch of cool cities in one fell swoop … sounds great, right? Road trips can certainly be a wonderful way to experience different parts of the country. However, despite what the movies might suggest, they do require some advanced planning to ensure that everything goes smoothly (along with a healthy amount of spontaneity). Keep the following things in mind before you hit the road.

Book your accommodations before you go

It can be fun to leave some parts of your trip to chance: where you’re going to stop for lunch, or detours to a museum that looks worthy of a visit. However, it usually doesn’t benefit you to procrastinate on your hotel arrangements. Having a place to lay your head after a long day on the road is crucial for comfort, safety, and peace of mind. Depending on your route and the time of year, hotels might be busier than you think, so make all of your reservations at least a month or two in advance to make sure you get your top pick. If you are going to play it by ear, be sure to save on your walk-in by using

Family Road Trip

Create a playlist

Sarah likes country, Katie likes rock, and Beth likes rap. How to keep the musical peace? While you can’t please every person with every tune, you can get the best of all worlds, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. Services like Spotify make it easy to let an entire group contribute to mixes with its collaborative playlist feature, so everyone will get a chance to share their songs.

Bring books and magazines 

Reading material is crucial if you’re going to make it through a multi-day adventure. You can save space in the car with an e-reader like Kindle or Nook, and pick up a handful of  Cosmo and Rolling Stone issues to pass around in the backseat.

Stock up on games and puzzles

Invest in one of those big books that’s filled with crossword puzzle, Sudoku puzzles, or brainteasers that are sure to keep you occupied for hours on end. Trivia cards are also a good option, and encourage everyone to bond while keeping their minds sharp.
Sibling Fighting

Keep it civil

Road trips can bring people together, but long hours in the car together also inevitably bring out everyone’s most annoying quirks. Make sure that everyone stays well-rested and well-fed, takes turns driving (if possible), and try your best not to sweat the small stuff — like a traffic jam or a flat tire. As the saying goes, it’s about the journey, not the destination!