How to Plan a Safe and Enjoyable Road Trip With Your Parents


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There’s nothing quite like welcoming the arrival of summer by getting out and about for a road trip with family and friends. As a unique and rewarding experience, hopping in the car allows all generations of a family to trade bustling crowds for precious memories formed along the wild sides of the road. Even better, there is no age restriction or limitation when it comes to road-tripping.

Whether you are driving along scenic routes or traveling from state to state, advanced planning is essential so everyone can stay safe and healthy. Explore the following 9 tips to plan safe and memorable road trips for seniors.


Hitting The Road: 9 Tips for Planning and Handling a Safe Road Trip With Your Parents

Plan Your Route

Since exploring new places and crossing territories are the meaning of road trips, deciding where you are going and finding landscapes and trails pleasing to the eyes is an absolute must. Whether they love to immerse themselves in the salt air, admire sweeping views of national parks, or take a ride on the quiet side, some top cross-country routes to consider are historic Route 66, Pacific Coast Highway, The Great Northern, The Oregon Trail, The Great River Road, The Appalachian Trail, Atlantic Coast, and so on. Check here for more scenic drives across the United States.

Tips for planning road trips for seniors: Jot down what your parents want to see most or ask for recommendations from friends and family.


Decide On Activities

The journey itself is what makes a road trip memorable. Besides advanced planning for routes with must-see attractions and natural wonders, sit down with your parents to decide on activities and outings to make the most of the open road and keep everyone happy and satisfied. Sometimes, you might not need specific destinations at all. The best part of a road trip is breaking away from mundane routines and discovering beautiful hidden gems along the way. You and your family can enjoy local markets, visit unique museums, dine out at rustic restaurants and coffee shops, and explore forgotten ruins.

Tips for planning road trips for seniors: Cast votes from family members to decide must-do activities along the route.


Locate Rest Stops


Choosing destinations your parents will love and have fun with is crucial, but locating rest stops along the road is just as important. Rest stops could be a lifesaver when driving long distances or passing through areas without many shops and facilities. Besides taking a break from driving and getting some fresh air, rest stops are where your family can stretch their legs, use toilets, stock snacks and beverages from vending machines, or take a nap to recover from road-trip fatigue. Instead of regular rest stops, which can be too bustling, quiet parks, local restaurants, or museums are other alternatives worth keeping in mind if you and your parents want to try something new and more enjoyable.

Tips for planning road trips for seniors: How often should you stop when driving long distances? Consider taking a break every 2 hours or resting when feeling burned out. Avoid driving more than 8-10 hours a day.


Calculate The Cost & Budget

While driving may seem cheaper than flying, it is not always the case, especially if you take on longer routes. Given the soaring inflation and high gas prices, use Google Maps to estimate the trip distances and check for the average national gas prices to calculate how much you will pay throughout the whole route. Gas prices might fluctuate from state to state, but keeping an eye on current prices can help you better manage your budget and avoid overspending.

Keeping an eye out for places and spots that offer senior discounts is another tip to budget road trips. If you are looking for clues, contact your local AARP office, which runs a wide variety of nationwide discounted programs and services for seniors between ages 50 and 65. Some cities that offer an abundance of discounts for seniors are Columbia and Charleston (South Carolina), Las Vegas (Nevada), New Orleans (Louisiana), and Washington DC, to name a few.

Tips for planning road trips for seniors: Take the costs of accommodation, tolls, parking charges, maintenance and repairs, food and drink, entertainment, and other miscellaneous expenses into account.


Prepare the Car

Vehicle maintenance is another thing to check off the list when planning road trips for seniors. Whether your parents rent an RV or drive their car, driving a car in good condition is always safer. Here is the breakdown of vehicle maintenance:

  • Car battery
  • Oil filter and levels
  • Tire pressure
  • Tire tread
  • Air filter
  • Windshield wiper
  • Brake fluid
  • Horn
  • Brake lights
  • Headlights


Most people use their cars for road trips, but an RV is far better for long distances. RV means more freedom, security, flexibility, and comfort when traveling interstate. It can help your parents save money for accommodations, especially during last-minute plans.

Tips for planning road trips for seniors: Conduct comprehensive mechanic maintenance and repairs before heading off on long trips.


Practice Safe Driving Tips


Vision plays an essential role in a person’s driving ability and experience. Remind your parents of these driving tips to help them stay safe if they hit the roads without your companionship. According to the AAA, a few road rules to follow include:

  • Always buckle up before starting the engine.
  • Drive during the day as much as possible.
  • Avoid driving in bad weather.
  • Always lock your eyes on the roads ahead.
  • Turn your head to check for obstacles if you are experiencing diminished peripheral vision.
  • Get bigger rearview mirrors.
  • Keep mirrors, headlights, and windshields clean.
  • Don’t drink, eat, or use the phone while driving.
  • Take breaks when needed.


Take Out Insurance

Another tip for planning a safe and stress-free road trip with your parents is taking out quality insurance. Bumping into accidents and dealing with doctors in foreign lands can be a scary experience for most people, let alone old travelers with special safety and health concerns. That’s why insurance protects your parents from unfavorable situations when they are away from home.

Buying insurance is no easy task. Check with insurance professionals to see if the preferred insurance offers top-notch coverage and is valid across the states. It helps to keep your out-of-pocket costs to a minimum. Instead of getting brand new policies, which can be pricey or insufficient in coverage level, it is worth looking into insurance riders as this supplemental coverage provides extra security and benefits to the existing policy at affordable cost.

Tips for planning road trips for seniors: Consider taking out healthcare, auto, and travel insurance.


Secure Medical Records

A curated medical record is time-saving and facilitates physicians and doctors to make life-saving decisions. This ensures your parents get the care they need in times of emergency. Suppose your parents are taking long-term prescriptions. In that case, stock ample medicine supplies that last the entire trip, ideally a 90-day refill. Another thing to keep your parents healthy and safe is always carrying prescriptions in labeled containers to avoid misunderstandings or mistakes during the trip. Again, it also saves time instead of digging through the whole package to reach for the ones you are looking for.

Tips for planning road trips for seniors: Prepare physical and digital copies of your parent’s medical records.


Pack Smart

When road-tripping, the main focus is capturing the beauty of nature and the places you visit. That’s why it is best to remove all stressors. Packing essential items helps your parents cut back on time and the burden of carrying heavy luggage. Meanwhile, avoiding having valuable items with you can create a more fulfilling experience when they don’t constantly worry about losing their belongings.

In addition to clothes and toiletries, remember to prepare a traveler’s first-aid kit for your parents to keep by their side in case of need. A first-aid kit may contain the following items:

  • Anti-nausea medicines.
  • Antibiotic ointments.
  • Disposable gloves.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Tweezer and adhesive tapes.
  • Flu and cough medicines.
  • Extra refills of medicines taken regularly.
  • Over-the-counter medicines for diarrhea.
  • Ibuprofen, aspirin, and other types of painkillers.
  • Antihistamines pills for relieving allergic reactions.
  • Antiseptic wipes and hydrogen peroxide for cleaning and disinfecting the wounds.
  • Bandages of many sizes for minor scratches and big-sized bandages for big cuts.
  • SPF sunscreen and aloe vera gel for sunburns.
  • Extra pair of glasses or contact lenses.


If you have questions about how to plan safe road trips for seniors or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more. 

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us. 


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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