Today’s post is brought to you by Kacey from The Drifter Collective an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.
Whether you’re planning a short trip over spring break or a longer road trip during the summer, cross-country road trips are a great way to see everything that this country has to offer up close.
Planning your first trip can be a daunting task though, especially if you’re bringing the kids along. If you’re planning on making this a family trip, here are a few tips to help you make it enjoyable for everyone involved.
Road-trips don’t generally require the use of a trailer, so it’s important to pack wisely to make sure that all the important items are easily accessible. Stuff that you’re not going to need immediately should go in first, followed by clothes and toiletries that are easy to reach, and then snacks and entertainment items that you’re going to need during the drive.
If you’re driving an SUV or other car that has a hatch instead of a trunk, the same rules apply — you’re just going to be packing from the bottom up instead of from the back of the trunk to the front.
Each person should also pack a small bag to keep with them in their seat of toys or activities to keep them entertained. We’ll speak more about entertainment in a moment.
Build an Emergency Kit
One of the things that should be on the top of your packing list is an emergency kit. You might be quite far from the nearest garage if you break down on your trip, so pack things like:
- First Aid Kit
- Jumper Cables – You should always have jumper cables in your car, no matter where you are
- Flashlight or Lamps – Don’t try to call AAA/CAA while using your phone as a flashlight, it’s just awkward
- Basic Tools – Screwdrivers, a hammer, and a couple of pairs of pliers can be used to fix just about anything
- Duct Tape – It fixes just about everything
- Oil/Antifreeze – Keep a couple extra quarts of oil and a gallon of pre-mixed antifreeze in your car. If you spring a leak, it’s enough to top you off until you get to a garage
Most of this you should keep in your car anyway, but it’s important to double check that you have everything before a long road trip.
Plan Your Stops
There are thousands of places to stop as you travel along the nation’s highways – not counting gas stations and bathroom breaks. Take some time before your trip to see what locations might interest you along your route.
Thankfully, in today’s world we are blessed with many different apps and handy tools that can lead us in the right direction! The internet makes this easier than ever to properly plan your trip so you can visit all of the must see destinations and attractions along your journey.
Don’t Forget Safety
Safety on a road trip is essential, especially if you have little passengers. If your kids are small enough to still need a car seat, take the time to double and triple check all of your car seats and booster seats. Make sure that the straps fit snugly, that the chest-clip sits in the proper spot, and that there is no sign of wear or damage on the chair itself.
If you’ve got an older car seat that’s been handed down from kid to kid, check to make sure the seat hasn’t expired. Yes, car seats actually expire — most have a lifespan of about 6 years so make sure that yours is still good.
Snacks Are Important
On a road trip, stopping every time you get a little hungry could get very expensive to say nothing of the time it will add to your trip. Take the time to pack some snacks and drinks that are easily accessible for everyone. If you’ve got a cooler, cold snacks like fresh fruit and vegetables are a good option. Stock up on the non-perishable alternatives too though— crackers, pretzels, etc.
Make sure you consult everyone when you go snack shopping. You don’t want to leave with a car full of snacks that no one will eat!
Remember the Entertainment
Perhaps the hardest part of a road trip is keeping the kids entertained during those long empty stretches of road. Movies on a tablet or phone can keep them going for short periods, but it’s easy to get bored when you’ve watched all the movies on the playlist two or three times in a row.
Have your kid(s) pack a small bag of some of their favorite activities or toys. Coloring books are great as long as you remember not to leave the crayons on the seat when you leave the car. Yes, they will melt into your seat, but don’t panic — it’s easy to get out with a little elbow grease and WD-40.
A lap table can be a great investment because it gives your kids a flat surface to write or draw on while providing somewhere to store the art supplies when they’re done.
Keep It Clean
Spending hours in the car is bound to lead to messes. Spilled snacks and drinks end up in the carpet and the floorboard can quickly turn into a garbage can.
Preempt any mess that might occur by setting up garbage bags in the car and insist that everyone uses them. For spills or messes, keep a roll of paper towels and a container of wet wipes to clean them up before they turn into giant sticky messes.
Road trips are a great way to spend time with your family while seeing all the amazing things that you might miss if you chose to take a plane instead. With a little bit of preparation you can enjoy your trip without worrying too much about the details. Stay safe as you roll out!
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.