5 Tips for Having a Great Road Trip Experience

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5 Tips for Having a Great Road Trip #ad #WhenImHungry #CollectiveBias

When I tell people about our long car trips, the number one question is usually “How do you do it with two young kids?” or “How do you not lose your mind, my kids would never sit still that long”. The answer really isn’t a simple one and the truth be told, sometimes we do lose our minds. Trying to keep everyone happy on a long car trip, some that even last for several days, is impossible. Don’t set your standards that high. However, there are a few things that we do in order to make our road trips more manageable and even mostly enjoyable.

1. Keep the Car Clean.

I made this my #1 because in my book it is most important. When the car is a mess, the things that we need to stay busy and the snacks that we want to munch on get harder to find. Plus, being that we are already stuck in a small car, when we add a mess to the mix it only becomes that much more smaller. I’ve found that when the car is a mess, everyone feels just a bit more cranky. To solve this problem, I like to give our car a really good cleaning before we leave on a road trip and also maintain the clean throughout the trip by throwing away all collected garbage at every gas station stop. It also helps to designate a small bag for garbage to make these stop quicker and easier.

2. Pack Snacks.

When I am hungry I can’t think. I say things that I don’t mean and I fail to enjoy what I normally enjoy, like watching the buildings, fields and tree’s gracefully float past me out the window and dance in the sunlight. When I am hungry, I am just not myself and that’s not who I want to be. One way that we combat hunger crankiness is by packing snacks. Each member in our family packs their own snack bag with what they like best and with what will keep them fulfilled until our next meal stop. To give you an idea, my bag usually looks something like this.

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3. Take the Road Less Traveled.

When we road trip we like to take the road less traveled. This means getting off the expressway when we can and driving along the back roads. Yes, this can add mileage and time to our trip, but we have found so many lovely things by doing this and have been able to visit several famous American roadside attractions. It is definitely worth the little added time.

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4. Plan Ahead.

Having a loose plan in mind before we set out on the road helps to keep things running smoothly and cuts down on pressured decision making, which can cause me a lot of tension. Here are a few way I plan ahead for a road trip.

– Have Change Handy. I can’t tell you how many times we have wandered our way onto a road or a bridge with a toll. Not having change handy means that we would have to find another route or go look for a place to get change. Now when we travel I make sure to have a jar of coins ready before hand.

– Invest in Comfort. Before our last road trip I bought everyone small neck pillows. Best decision ever! Having this small neck pillow made me feel so much more comfortable and kept me from getting my normal kink in the neck while riding. No kinked neck = happier momma. We also bought a small travel potty for the kids in case we found ourselves somewhere without bathrooms for miles.

– Research fun stop and attractions ahead of time. We like to make a list of all the places we would to see along the trip. While we don’t expect to stop at everything, this list gives us an idea of what is around us when we are needing a stop. Plus, it helps to break up the trip into smaller sections by giving us destination points that are within an attainable time frame. “Only one more hour until we get to see the giant pencil!”. It helps.

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5. Be Flexible.

Flexibility is a must have when deciding to take a road trip. When driving in a car, not everything is on a strict schedule like it is when traveling by plane. There is traffic congestion, detours, bathroom breaks and unexpected mishaps. Sometimes we have to be flexible to skip a planned stop or stop somewhere unplanned. We have also found that it is super important to know when to call it a day and stop for the night. There is nothing worse than pushing yourself too far when you are tired. Call it a day, find a place to stay and pick it back up in the morning.

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Do you love to take road trips? What is your best trick to staying happy along the drive?

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How to Prepare for Travel with Kids #ImagineSpring

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#ad #ImagineSpring How to Prepare for Travel with Kids
I remember when preparing for travel was easy. I used to put little thought into my trips or what I needed to bring. Sometimes I wouldn’t even be completely sure where I was going, I was just happy to be along for the ride. Then when I had kids, things changed for me. I would get easily overwhelmed at the simple thought of preparing for travel. I would over pack and worry for weeks about what I needed to do and bring. Over the years as my kids and I started to become accustomed to traveling together, we’ve learned to created our own rhythm of preparation. Being prepared ahead of time has helped everyone (especially me) relax and enjoy the process of travel even more. 
Below are a few of the things that we do to prepare as a family for traveling. 

1. Shop Early – Find the best deals.

Preparing for travel, especially spring travels after the long winter, usually means that new clothing is needed for the kids. At their age, they tend to sprout through sizes quickly and we often find that last years clothing doesn’t fit when we bring it back out of winter storage. Waiting until the last minute to find clothing to pack is just an added hassle. I like to watch ahead of time for spring sales to pop up and take my time to find clothes that my kids actually like and will wear again after the trip. Plus, shopping the sales ahead of time helps me save a lot of money, which is welcomed with the cost of traveling itself. 

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2. Don’t procrastinate packing.

It goes without saying that waiting until the last minute to pack means taking the chance of forgetting something important, like a favorite stuffed sleeping buddy. I like to start early on preparing to pack by setting aside things I know we want to take or making a list of everyone’s must have’s. By making a checklist I can cross things off as they enter the suitcase or car. Also by doing this I am able to enjoy heading out on our trip instead of mentally going through everything I “think” we forgot to pack. 

3. Create a mini first aid kit.

One of the reasons preparing for traveling with kids scared me in the past was because I feared being away from home and having one of my kids get sick or hurt. What would I do? While no one can prevent kids from getting sick or hurt during travel, I can help ease my own worry by preparing ahead of time in case something does happens. To do this I have created a small first aid kit that I bring with me on every trip. The kit includes things such as bandages, antibacterial ointments, over the counter medicines and past medicines prescribed by their doctors for re-occurring issues. It’s funny how now when people get a small cut on a trip, they come to me because they know that I will be prepared.

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Boys Clothing from OshKosh B’Gosh Spring Line. 

4. Let the kids help. 

Involving the kids in travel preparation has become liberating for me. While before I would spend my time negotiating with my kids about what they could and could not bring (which if they had their choice would be everything they owned because they NEED it all), now I give each child their own bag and allow them to take responsibility for what they want to take on the trip. They are only allowed to bring what will fit into their bags, so I have found that they make more conscious decisions about what they really want with them and what can stay at home. Plus, my kids enjoy having their own bags to carry and finding things to pack in it keeps them busy for awhile as I make sure other things are ready to go. 

5. Find destination books.

This is a cute new idea that we are starting to adopt for our trips. Ahead of time, when we decide upon a travel destination, I like to search for kids books that include that destination. It could be an educational book about the particular location or a book with a story set in the same location as we are going. Reading it to the kids before we leave helps to create a sense of familiarity and excitement about our travels. 

6. Set a spending limit before leaving. 

Being prepared for souvenir buying ahead of time has helped my family create a reasonable spending budget for our trips. Plus, especially with my young children, they seem to want to buy something at every stop we make. Since running into an issue with this we have adopted the idea of giving each child a small amount of money which they can use to buy their own souvenir’s during our travels. Once the money is gone, it’s gone. This has helped them make better choices about what they really like and has cut down on the cases of “I want’s” during our trip. 

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7. Research ahead of time. 

There are several things to consider about a destination before traveling there with kids. If it is a specific attraction we are traveling to, do they allow outside food and beverage? Will I need a stroller for the younger child? When making a road trip, can I find fun stops to make along the way? Are there attractions nearby that are educational or fun? Being prepared to know the area ahead of time has helped me pack appropriately and saved us from wasting time searching for options in the hotel room. 

8. Preparing for home. 

While it is never fun to come home, being prepared ahead of time for all of the dirty laundry can help. One of my favorite road trip travel hacks is to purchase a cheap pop up hamper ahead of time and use it to store dirty laundry in at the hotel. This keeps the room less messy during our stay and separates the dirty clothes from the leftover clean clothes in our suitcases. Then I can simply pack the hamper in the car and it can go straight into the laundry when we get home. The rest of the suitcases can go back to our individual rooms for un-packing. 

Do you have a useful tip for preparing to travel with kids? We’d love to hear it! Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.