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Top 10 BEST Tips to Get Road Trip Ready

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Our family vacations always include road trips to reach our destination. As a family with young children it is MUCH more affordable than flying and with these top ten BEST tips, hopefully painless.

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We just spent 18 glorious hours in the car together as a family. Thankfully that was just the trip total. With a little planning ahead of time you can make ANY road trip successful with these tips.

Snacks & Bottled Water

When people get hungry, they get HANGRY. At least that’s life in our little family. As a food-allergy family that means taking extra time to pack tons of “non-messy” snack options. This usually includes two boxes of dry cereal and four tupperware containers full of Food Allergy-Friendly Trail Mix. Delicious and Nutritious.  Baby Food Pouches- Pumpkin for Raymond and Apple for Emma Marie are a sure way to not make a mess and are easy to store.  We always plan to grab lunch on the road at our halfway point… milkshakes in the middle of the desert have never tasted so good! I always try to pack a few goodies that help hold us over for thirty more minutes… like rice krispy treats which are sold in a disastrously large box at my favorite big box store. We always pack up our water bottles and add in two extra water bottles per person. This is where my husband wants to let you know to bring an empty one in case of emergency. I guess you’ve been warned.

 

Emergency Kit

Better safe, than sorry. Our road trips take us into the middle of the desert where service stations are 60 miles a part or more. Worst Case Scenarios can be made just a little better with some items that could tide you over until help arrives-or can even help you get to safety. Our Homemade Kit includes: Flares, Flashlights, Safety-Vest, First Aid Kit, Fix-a-Flat, Blanket, Snack Bars, and even more water bottles. We crossed the desert before the real summer heat kicked in, but we always error on the safe side.

 

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Superhero Masks

I don’t think I’ve laughed harder, nor longer while traveling out through the desert. My husband and two children wore various sets of Superhero Masks throughout our travels and stayed true to character while re-enacting their famous lines. Emma Marie proudly wore the Hulk mask and chanted, “Hulk SMASH!”, while laughing maniacally. She is my daughter. My husband, Bat Dad, as he likes to be referred to while in character quietly dispersed snacks and tidbits of wisdom on the trip, all the while tweeting people’s reactions to passing Batman in a Honda Pilot. Raymond maintained composure and kept reassuring us the, “Everything is going to be fine,”.

Laughter is a gift. One that serves you well on hour six with a one and three year old.

Oil Change

I take my car maintenance seriously. I took auto-shop when I was in high school and know exactly what it looks like when you don’t treat your car like a machine… it breaks, badly. We saw time and again how much damage it would cause an engine to be low on oil or worse be run on dirty oil for long periods of time. We always, always take our cars in to get oil changes before road trips and when the mileage mandates.

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Walmart Automotive Care Center

I know what a difference the next level up means in car care from first hand experience. Unfortunately, sometimes people are told that they always need to get “fill in the blank” fixed and therefore paying just a bit more for the oil change seems like just another rip-off. It’s not. Your car will treat you the way you treat them. Although most cars are quite fine with the basic oil-change, as long as it is done regularly-I know that my car(which we are keeping FOR-EV-ER-Sandlot Style with a flashlight-Google it) performs better with the Platinum Pennzoil Oil Change from my neighborhood Walmart.

Pennzoil-oil-selection-at-walmart-auto-center PENNZOIL-PLATINUM

SALE ALERT

From June 10th – September 9th, Pennzoil oil changes will be on Rollback at Walmart Automotive Care Center stores.

  • High Mileage $35.88, compared to the regular Walmart price of $39.88. {Industry standard price is $46}
  • Platinum Full Synthetic $45.88, compared to the regular Walmart price of $49.88. {Industry standard price $66}

I get all of my Road Trip Shopping done, while my car gets an oil change. Some things that you may not know about Pennzoil-

  • All Pennzoil products help clean out sludge lesser oils leave behind.
  • Pennzoil is designed for complete protection and will allow you to drive an extra of 550 miles per year vs. a dirty engine.
  • No other motor oil provides better protection from friction.

It should be noted that while my Pilot receives the Platinum Oil Change, our Prius(another car for life) received the Conventional Package until we hit over 75,000 miles and are now on the High Mileage Vehicle Oil.

It pays in the long run to keep your car running and healthy. A little bit of planning and oil can go a long way.

Tire Pressure

Keeping your tires to the correct pressure can save you at the gas pump. We always fill-up our tires the day before at the corner gas station while we fill up the tank. Please make sure you fill up your tires to the correct pressure. Under and Over inflation are seriously dangerous. Our car goes 75-85 MPH on the freeway and the desert heat makes things much touchier and could cause a blow-out. Keep your love ones safe and check this regularly.

emma-in-hot-tub

When life hands you a screaming one year old? Chant: I think I can… Desperate times folks.

You will arrive at your destination.  Emma Marie thinks she is singing, bless her heart, but to everyone else it sounds like she is having an epic, EPIC meltdown.

Gas Stations

Our Road Trips take us through many deserted deserts where there are 85-90 miles between rest stops and civilization. Unless you carry around another tank of gas for emergencies(we don’t), you will need to plan ahead on your route. As we cross state lines on our trip we make sure to always fill up on the cheaper side. We save over 30-50 cents a gallon that way. Plus you need to make sure that when you hit those large pockets of the lonely open road that you have enough in your tank to get you to the next stop. It may sound like common sense but we saw at least five people walking with gas tanks to their vehicles. Know your route.

Rest Stops

With a potty trained three year old we were quite concerned about giving him enough options while on our Road Trip. Two years ago all of the Rest Stops were closed down in our State and that led to some interesting road-side stops in the desert. We are beyond thankful that they are back open and we stopped every two hours on our trip to give our family a break. No accidents on the trip, but one close call on a Toll Road in California… you can’t exit a toll road and get back on without incurring an extra fee so we just used the very large median and were thankful for the wooded area. My husband thought the empty bottle trick might work, but we couldn’t get a straight answer out of our preschooler on which way that trip would go… so woods it was.

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Remember there IS a reason you are traveling.  Find your happy spot.

Entertainment

Our family is a little young for typical Road Trip Games like the License Plate Game, Slug Bug, and Travel Bingo(although I will be printing out one for next time) so we packed the Superhero Masks. Please let it be known that those were worth their weight in gold. My husband also loaded up the iPad with movies that were “kind to the ears”- nothing I hate more when driving for hours is listening to a movie that isn’t easy on the ears-giving a big ole mean stare at Cars-Lightening McQueen just isn’t awesome to listen to… SO Finding Nemo, Frozen, and Toy Story were our Mom Approved Options. All were enjoyed throughout the trip.

Baby Wipes & Trash Bags

There are a multitude of things you can clean with baby wipes… and we always pack two boxes for in the car.  Always.  Plus as a food-allergy parent it helps to clean off “suspect” traces of food on tables at rest stops or restaurants. Bleach or Cleaning wipes do not remove food allergens.  Who knew?  Chalk it up to another reason we bring these bad boys with us.  On our Family Road Trip three years ago, one hour from home just as we hit the open desert Raymond projectile puked and literally filled up his car seat with GOO.  Apparently, his reaction to eggs(unbeknownst to us at the time) became more severe with every encounter and a small bite of a hard boiled egg rendered our small Prius a disaster zone.  Baby Wipes to the rescue!  Blow out? The diaper kind? Yes, those are in a league of their own.  That is another reason we keep a small container of plastic bags to dispose of problems that arise on our trips.

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The Whole Beach We Brought Back

Start with a Clean Car

My husband is adamant about starting with a clean car on each of our Family Road Trips.  He cleans it out-top to bottom.  I do not have the foggiest idea why you would want to take the time to clean out your car BEFORE you go on your trip. Okay, perhaps it is nice that it doesn’t smell like three day old shoes(that somehow got forgotten under the seat) and that there is a nice clean place to put all of my diet cokes… because caffeine is my friend when I’m driving.  We sure brought the whole entire beach back with us… but I must admit, climbing into the car being squeaky clean isn’t that bad.  Especially when I didn’t have to do any of the cleaning.  Chalk it up to being the driver!

 

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Our Family Road Trip was a complete success and I would like to thank these Top Ten Tips to getting Road Trip Ready.  The list above is my mental checklist whenever we start to plan and pack for a trip with our family.  Our trip to visit California, see family, and of course visit the Happiest Place on Earth was wonderful!

I shared my favorite tips to getting Road Trip Ready.  Now I would love to hear from you!

What are some tips and tricks that work for you on road trips?

What adventure are you off to this summer?  Visiting family?  Perhaps a trip to see Minnie? 

 

Would love to hear from you!

 

3 Responses to Top 10 BEST Tips to Get Road Trip Ready

  1. I love the superhero mask tip! Great way to pass the time and I’m sure the looks from other cars are priceless. My husband insists on doing oil changes himself(which is always put off) but looks like having someone else do it is almost the same price! Looks like I’m calling Wal-Mart to schedule some maintenance.

    • Woohoo- Superhero Masks for the win! Definitely much easier time wise to go get an oil change at Walmart- and grab any on the road snacks you need!

  2. Now I want to pass Batman while I’m on a roadtrip! Apparently driving a Honda instead of the Batmobile just keeps him undercover, right? Awesome post…thank you for sharing! #client
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