Road Trip Tips – I’m always on the hunt to make my family’s travel easier if we traveling by plane or car. On our recent road trip of 14 days and 3,000+ miles I knew I had to be prepared. The last thing I wanted was spending a bunch of money on items that I already had at home. There is nothing more upsetting to me than spending money on stuff that I already have, and dipping into our travel funds when we are on the road. That means less money to do the FUN STUFF!
These Road Trip Tips will make your next adventure a breeze.
1. Emergency Car Kit – Ok…so this one may not be a kid friendly travel tip but I felt it was worth mentioning. I’ve shopped at several stores and there is “pre-assembled” car kits but I already had plenty of the items at my home. Here is what you need: 20 qt container, toilet paper, electric flares, 3 pk gloves, hand warmers (3pk), screwdrivers, flashlight, extra batteries, jumper cables, utility knife, plastic bags, duct tape, WD-40, scissor, bungee cords, Fix a Flat, matches, travel first aid kit, needle nose pliers, allergy medicine, and Epi-Pen (our daughter has allergy to peanuts)
2. A dual monitor DVD player & DVDS – you don’t have a DVD player already in your car, then you need one! On the first day of our 11.5 hour road trip, I knew this would be a life saver….and it was! We purchased a $70 dual monitor DVD player from Wally World. It comes with seat straps (so it straps to the seat in front of the child), a car charger, and remote control. We had an old CD booklet-style case and used this to carry the 10 DVDs for the trip.
3. “Pit-Stop Pack” – I made a trip to the dollar store and put together a total of 16 packs. 8 for our 3 yo son, and 8 for our 6 yo daughter. At each “pit-stop” the kids got to pick out a bag with their name on it and inside was 2 or 3 items that they could play with until the next stop. Some of the items were crayons, small coloring books, balloons, cars, play-dough, flash cards, games, etc. The kids were so excited to open up their “presents”! I asked our 6 yo at the end of the trip, “so what was your favorite part of the trip?” her response, “opening up presents!” Oh my goodness! It’s the little things!
4. Air mattress & air pump, and bed sheet – On the first 4 nights of our trip we stayed at the Embassy Suites & Homewood Suites. Both of these hotels have sleeper sofas so we knew we would be fine for sleeping arrangements. However on the last 3 nights of our trip, we didn’t make hotel reservations because we weren’t sure how far we would travel and if the kids would hold up. So, we opted to make plans on the fly…and it worked out well! Now some of you may ask, “why not get a room with 2 beds?”. Well, when making last minute reservations you can’t always be guaranteed a room with 2 beds. PLUS, we found it to be at LEAST $20-$35 cheaper a night if you get a room with one king-sized bed….so we did! All the hotels we stayed at had extra blankets and pillows in the room but the hotel can also provide you these items at no additional charge. The kids LOVED sleeping on the air mattress. It was a treat to them! I used an old king blanket plastic case (the ones that come with the comforter) and put the air mattress, pump, and bed sheet inside.
5. Satellite Radio – Satellite radio isn’t something I have activated in our SUV. However, I thought that since we will be traveling in some remote areas, it probably wouldn’t hurt to splurge for one month ($9.99 plus $15 activation fee). (Plus, I only have one song downloaded on my phone.) It was well worth it!! Our recent road trip was through the mountains to the California coast, the Redwoods, and Oregon Coast. Needless to say, there aren’t a lot of radio stations available and there were kids stations too! They really enjoyed the songs. It was also nice to have the music playing in the front of the SUV while the kiddos were watching their shows in the back.
6. External GPS – We have a GPS in our SUV but it needs a disc for the West Coast and we can’t program anything. Luckily, I have an external GPS that came in real handy. Some might think, “why not use your phone GPS?” Well, when we got into the back woods of the California coast, we didn’t have cell phone signal!
7. Snacks and Drinks – Before we leave for a road trip, I stock up with snacks and drinks to bring in the car. The last thing I want to do is stop every hour to pick up food and beverages. I don’t know about you but my kids are always hungry. So having snacks on hand is vital! Some snacks include: Goldfish, dried fruit strips, applesauce pouches, trail mix, and cereal bars. Every member of the family has a re-fillable water bottle too. We buy gallons of water along the way and fill up our water bottles in the car when we are driving.
8. Disposable supplies – Typically we are gone for 10+ days for our road trips and eating out can get expensive. So, we stop at grocery stores and pick up sandwiches, salads, and picnic for lunch or dinner. That means we need paper plates, paper towels, plastic utensils, wet wipes (for easy cleaning) and zip lock bags (for leftovers). These items are light weight and easy to pack.
So there you have it! What road trip tips and suggestions do you have that made travel with your family easier?
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