PART 1 : ROAD TRIP SERIES!
as with any adventure, i walked away from our summer road trip last year with twenty/twenty hindsight. (read here, PART 1, PART 2) we camped and motelled our way from southern ontario to the eastern coast of canada. there we drove through quebec, new brunswick, prince edward island and nova scotia! from that big trip i learned what we should have packed, what we needed and i thought i would share my insights now that road trip season is almost here! Writing this actually reminded me of the plumber we recently had come and do some work to our bathroom. He had actually traveled quite far to get to us, but don’t worry he didn’t seem bothered in the slightest as he had just picked up his newly leased van. The price that he got it for really put a spring in his step, so I guess that shows the value of having a shop around for deals. Long road trips are certainly mentally taxing ventures so you could consider an alternative like having your vehicle transported to your vacation location for you, by a company like Cars Relo, so that when you arrive, using less stressful means of transportation, your car will be there waiting for you to use. This avoids the headache of countless hours of driving and the anxiety that comes with it. It also means you won’t have to add all those miles to your vehicle!
- depending on your departure time, pre-packing your car as much as possible the night before is always a good thing, such a HUGE time saver, plus so much easier without the kids hanging around “helping”. If you’re particularly pushed for space, you might want to consider leasing a bigger vehicle such as this Wichita Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD for the duration of your trip. That way you can pack as many clothes and supplies as you want without having to compromise on comfort!
- clean your house before leaving. that includes cleaning out your fridge and changing the sheets on your bed. when we came home exhausted from our trips i was quite pleased with myself for cleaning the day of our departure.
- clean your car too. yes it gets super yucky on a big trip, but there’s something nice about starting out clean, inside and out.
- don’t forget to write down your odometer pre/ post trip so you can see how many kilometres you actually clocked!
- don’t forget to really psyche yourself up for being flexible and bring some extra patience too!
- when travelling with kids always have food accessible, and not just crackers and chips, but also fruits. i had little tupperware containers for the kids that i would make snacks for them in and then pass them back. it prevented some messes, but unfortunately not all!
- keep wipes, hand cleaner, toilet paper or paper towels handy too! spills happen, as do boogers, pee accidents or puke!
- always have toys, activity books, markers, and books available and accessible for the kids. i had a bin of books in between the two boys (propped on top of sleeping bags) and then each boy had their own basket of cars or animals or whatever.
- have a flashlight accessible up front in the car.
- have a fully stocked first aid kit. make sure nothing is expired!
- jars for collecting treasures is helpful. this tip was given by another mama, and boy am i glad i listened. for all the crab legs and stones and cones we collected the jars ensured safe travels for the treasures!
- a toy/ treat stash that you can pull new books or activities from, to help keep the kids happy during the long drives.
- laundry soap. on nice mornings, i always washed a few pieces of clothing and hung them to dry on our camp site for the day.
- access to a variety of music to fit all kinds of moods and times of day. books on CD are fun too!
- pack clothes by person and by need. i had the kids clothes in one bag, but each kid had a side, so when i needed a clean t-shirt for lion, i knew exactly where to look.
- do not over pack clothes. remember, it is easy to wash items by hand, and on a summer road trip kids end up spending a lot of time in their bathing suits!
- for things like rain gear, coats, sneakers and clothes that were not as needed, we kept in a bin with other items that we only needed so often. having things in bins makes it easy to see what’s inside and also easier to pack, at least in a minivan.
- i had a “kitchen” box with all of our plates, cutlery, cups, cooking pans, mini cutting board, matches, olive oil, dish soap (i brought some from home and just put it in a jar) in it. so when it was time to prepare a meal, i just pulled the kitchen box out and set to work.
- we had another big rubbermaid bin with all the camping stuff; tent, air matters & pump, rope, and tarps. this way when it was time to set up camp everything was together, or when it was time to take camp down, the kids were able to help by putting everything in the right bin.
- go easy on towels. you don’t actually need one for everyone. they are big, take up an enormous amount of space in the bag and take forever to dry! sarongs work great and the kids love ’em! they dry quickly, are tiny when folded up and can used for a variety of reasons, as towels, blankets, scarves, skirts, toga’s, sunshade… you get the idea.
- i had an administrative basket that sat in between the front seats, which contained important items like phone and camera chargers, pens, paper, adult pain killers, extra change, vitamins, extra hair ties, and other important odds and ends.
what did i miss?
what are some of your road trip tips or tricks?
where are you heading to this summer?
this summer is in fact our third major road trip. we will be driving north to thunder bay, the city where dear hubby and i fell in love! we also drove to NYC with the boys that fateful halloween weekend when the nor-easter landed full steam in 2011! you can read about that trip here PART 1, PART 2, PART 3.
– games and activities for while driving, camping and at the beach
– quick, easy and fun snacks and foods to make while on the road and camping
– tips for camping with kids
– what to stock in your first aid kit