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Enjoy The Ride!…..Tips On How To Enjoy A Family Road Trip

Bobbi and Son Walking over Alligators
Thank you to Bobbi Pack from MyMilitarySavings.com

I’ve checked all four tires on the mini-van, the oil has been changed and all fluids have been topped-off. Strap on some brand new windshield wipers and we are ready for anything. Yep, you have guessed it…..it’s time for the annual family road trip.

 

As a military spouse I’ve experienced my share of family road trips. Even PCSing from California to North Carolina without my soldier….toting two kiddos, two four-legged kiddos and a hamster. That was the longest ten days of my life!!! I am just thankful nothing went wrong…did I just say that?…But, yes nothing went wrong on our last PCS, which was amazing!

 

Here are some of my first-hand family road trip and packing tips to help prepare your family for your next adventure on the open road.

 

Bobbi Road Trip Headphones 

1. Entertainment – Trust me…if you are headed on a long road trip you are going to want to have everything from a portable DVD player to travel games. With the proper kid-friendly, age appropriate entertainment your road trip will go much smoother and the, “Are We There Yet?” will be minimized. If you have tiny ones I recommend bringing along interactive games, flash cards as well as plenty of books to keep their interest. Be creative, you are the only one who knows what your kiddos really like.

 

2. Yummy Goodies – Snacks are a family road trip must have…however, you need to choose the right snacks. Eating at fast-food restaurants can get expensive and is super unhealthy. I recommend hitting the Commissary and purchasing fresh fruit and veggies, lunch meat, whole-wheat bread, pretzels and bottled water. Chop up your fresh fruit and veggies, place them in individual zip-lock baggies for easy snacking. Don’t forget to get your cooler all cleaned and full of ice to keep your goodies fresh! Prepackage munchies like these in snack-sized baggies to make snacking easy and less messy.

 

3. Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Everywhere – I always pack a roll of paper towels and a tub of cleaning wipes as even my teenager makes a mess from time to time. Also, keep your plastic bags from the Commissary, they make awesome trash bags. Having a beach towel handy is always a plus for when you stop at the park for a lunch break. I love to spread it out and have a good old family picnic.

 

Bobbi Road Trip 

4. Don’t Forget The Weather Changes Every Second – Even when you check the weather channel before you hit the open road…the weather changes all day long. It can be sunny and 75 at noon and then thundering and raining at 4 p.m. I recommend being prepared for anything, make sure everyone in your family has a jacket, raincoat or sweatshirt just in case it gets chilly.

 

 

5. “Mom, I Have To Go Potty!” – Okay…let’s face it, when a kiddo yells “I have to go potty mommy – now!” pulling over on the highway isn’t always an option and if your kiddos are anything like mine they will not “squat”. Make sure you ask the kiddos every hour or so if they need to go to the potty….especially when you are a few miles from the next town. If your kiddos are still little and in training pants, bring extra pull-ups along with zip-lock baggies and wipes. You never know so why not be prepared.

 

6. There Is Always Room For More – Even when I plan, plan, plan I always forget something. Make sure you are prepared for any toll roads with some extra coins. Make sure all your cell phones are fully charged and you have the car charger just in case. Another great idea is to have a family brain storming session and write down all the fun car games you an play on the way, such as the license plate game.Bobbi Road Trip Dog

 

7. Put A Smile On Your Face – It’s very important to keep your spirits up and not stress.  After alladventure is what road trips are all about. Even if you forget the kiddos favorite sippy-cup, emergency toilet paper or that one DVD the kiddos can watch over and over again….smile and remember this is your family time and you can never get this back. Even if you use every road trip tip you are going to forget something or one thing will go wrong. The most important thing is that you have the entire family aboard…so, consider your road trip a huge success.

I always complete a family road trip checklist, after all I am human and make mistakes from time to time. Take a look at this checklist and modify it as you need to for your family.

1. The BAG (new games, toys, snacks and any other magical distractions you can come up with).

2. Updated your GPS (When traveling, it’s worth it to upgrade to the latest software as roads change all the time).

3. Don’t forget the coolers (grab a small cooler for upfront and larger cooler in the back filled with snacks and drinks.

4. First-aid kit (this is vital as when you have kiddos aboard there are bound to be scrapes and bruises).

5. Road-side emergency kit (if you do not have a kit visit the Exchange or local auto store. These are so important and you never know when you will need jumper-cables).

6. Wet wipes, paper towels or napkins (these come in handy the entire trip for various things).

7. Trash bags (remember to use your Commissary plastic bags as trash bags, they are convenient and cheaper than buying an entire box of bags).

8. Flashlight (my kiddos love having a flashlight in road trips, it is perfect for night time reading. Also, handy in emergencies).

9. Cell phone charger (this is very important as you never know when your phone will lose a charge).

10. Easy on/off shoes for the entire family (these are important for when you stop to have a break and play…the kiddos shoes might get muddy or wet).

11. Cameras for you and the kiddos (my kiddos love to document our road trips, so I always buy them a few disposable cameras so they can take pictures of whatever they want).

12. Pillows and blankets (the kiddos always fall asleep on road trips and having their pillows and special blankets are comforting).

No matter where you decide to go on your family road trip, it’s important to make it fun for everyone. Its important to have a plan, but don’t be scared to change it from time to time. Some of the best family memories come from spur of the moment ideas. 

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Bobbi Pack is a contributing writer for MilitaryOneClick. Bobbi has over ten years experience in marketing and broadcast as well as a BA from Ottawa University and an MSM from Baker University. Bobbi has many years experience being a military spouse and loves to share her experiences, challenges and highlights with other military spouses.

Bobbi is the proud wife of Mike, an active duty Army Soldier and mother of two amazing Army Brats and two loving four-legged Army Brats. Bobbi is currently stationed with her family in North Carolina and is loving every minute of it. You can check out more of Bobbi’s blogs and military deals and discounts at http://www.mymilitarysavings.com/.

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To read more of Bobbi’s blogs, please click here.
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