It’s been just over a week since we returned from our road trip to Neskowin, Oregon from San Diego. It’s a trip that we look forward to every year. We love spending time with our extended family…great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a whole bunch of cousins. The trip is about 1,080 miles each way, and we consider it our annual summer adventure!
We’ve had some not so great road trips, and some really awesome ones too! Lucky for us, we’ve managed to have more of the good trips than the bad. Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t continue to go on these adventures!
I think I’ve picked up some pretty great tips over the years. Today I thought I would round them up (along with some obviously simple reminders) and share them with all of you as “My Top 10 Road Trip Tips.” Hopefully, these will come in handy for you some day too!
My Top 10 Road Trip Tips
#1 Before your trip make sure you are a member of AAA. Not only for their amazing roadside assistance but also their awesome hotel discounts. A few years ago, we made the mistake of thinking that the roadside assistance that came with our car insurance would be good enough…we were stranded in 118-degree heat for two hours before assistance came. I’m not kidding you, I signed up for AAA that night in the hotel! And just this last trip, we used AAA for almost $100 off our hotel. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got to be better about those AAA discounts! I always forget about them…ugh!
#2 Vehicle Inspection/Tune up – oil change, check tires/pressure, clean exterior, and interior – this always gives me peace of mind knowing that I’ve done my best to prevent a mishap.
#3 Make sure proof of insurance and registration are in an easy to access location – hopefully, you won’t need them…but just in case.
#4 Prepare an emergency kit on hand to keep in the car – we like to include a flash light, band-aids, wipes, a couple plastic bags…for easy trash clean up, and in case anyone gets sick.
#5 Charge all electronics – package cords in separate baggies marked for each electronic, and make sure car chargers are easily accessible.
#6 Prepare a bag or basket of snacks, drinks, and don’t forget some treats too! Sweet treats always seem to help the drivers!
#7 About a week before, start making a travel binder for you children. If you do a search on Pinterest for ‘Travel Binder for Kids” there are a TON of free printable pages you can include in your binder. For my son, I print a map for each leg of the trip so he can follow along. He also LOVES “Would You Rather” questions. You can find a TON of those free printable question on Pinterest. We also like to include a map of the USA, and try to find a license plate for each state. This is also a great way to learn the states. He colors in each state when he finds the corresponding plate. Have fun with this one, and you can even include your kids. The first time I made one, I gave it to him as a surprise, but now my son likes to be involved with choosing what goes in his Travel Binder.
#8 If you will be staying overnight in a hotel, pack a separate bag that just includes toiletries, PJ’s, and changes of clothes for the next day. That way you don’t have to be hauling out everyone’s luggage when your car is already packed. You can just bring one bag into and out of the hotel…easy peasy!
#9 Try to keep the kid’s area as organized as possible. Pack the back of the car for the kids with pillows, a blanket, and favorite stuffed animal, and their own bag full of things to occupy them along the way. We like our son to wear flip flops, so he can easily take them off and be comfy in the back. But he also has a specific spot (the side door) to put them when he takes them off. Too many times they’d get swallowed up by a blanket or sucked under a car seat, and we’d spend valuable driving minutes trying to locate a missing flip flop!
#10 Have a set amount of time for all passengers to unplug. Talk about what’s passing by on the road, play road trip games, tell stories.
This is a great time to build memories that last forever! If your adventures this summer take you out on the road, I hope you have a wonderful time together!