10 Tips for Stress-Free Road Trips

Who can afford to take 6 people on a plane for a vacation regularly? I can’t! If we flew anywhere, that be the vacation (plus some;). But one of the benefits of living in Fresno is that I am within driving distance of so many awesome things!

I know that the idea of taking your kids on a road trip can be daunting but with a little planning and smart strategies it can be fun and affordable for all!

1. Get a great dependable travel backpack for women and men! Yes, it should be good for both. This bag should have all your group snacks and necessities for while you are out adventuring. Make sure it is a great bag. I recently had my Day Owl backpack save my computer from a leaking water bottle on a recent business trip. Take the time to get a good bag to save your stuff!

Now, why did I say it should be good for women and men? You are on a family trip. That means it is a group so why should 1 person carry the bag the whole time? You want to make sure you can hand it off to anyone in the group and they won’t be embarrassed ;).

2. Make and use a packing list. Make sure to include cords and prescription meds! I even like to put which bag each thing should go in.

3. Make an itinerary. Are you eating out every meal or taking some with you? Do the attractions you are going to allow you to take in lunch? Lay out the rough schedule and add the food list to your packing list;).

4. Pack snacks for the car and the hotel. Make sure you include napkins, utensils, and the like.

5. Take a file folder with you that contains reservation confirmations, maps with directions, attraction addresses, and phone numbers.

6. Let your bank or major credit card company know you are traveling. They may place a freeze on your card if they don’t know for sure that it is you. When NerdDad and I had only been married a couple of years we went to San Jose for the Embedded Systems Conference and it was our first trip. After 4 days American Express put a hold on any new charges. It was not good, to say the least!

7. Do a little gas planning. Vacation spots tend to have high gas prices so if you could hit the last Costco or bargain gas on your way it could save you big! We have found the Costco in Carlsbad that we hit on our Legoland trips every year! Saved a good amount of money over a gas station right off the freeway.

8. Make sure electronics are charged for the car and then have a spot in your luggage where all the cords go!!

9. Put together a little first aid kit. Bandaids, aloe, wipes to clean cuts, etc. You will find it on the road but it is annoying and expensive to get back to your hotel and realize that you need to go find a place to buy expensive bandaids;). On our first year going to LegoLand NerdBug fell and needed a bandaid. Then NerdDad got a sunburn on his neck. The hotel did have Aloe gel but it was like $10 for a small bottle that didn’t have all that much aloe in it! Now we always pack the first aid kit;).

10. When you are ready to pack up and go home, use your pack list!!! I think it is pretty self explanatory;). I also recommend that after all the kids and luggage leave the room, 1 adult checks under beds, in drawers, and closets! Peace of mind goes a long way on that drive home!!

8 thoughts on “10 Tips for Stress-Free Road Trips”

  1. Great tips! I make little travel goody bags for each one of my 4 kids. I hit the dollar tree or clearance aisle and put little activities they can do during the ride (ie: small coloring/activity books, markers, mossaic art kit..) Thanks!

  2. These are great tips. We just took a road trip to Missouri a few weeks ago and I was sooooo surprised how well my 4 kids did. They are 20 months to 14, and I had PLENTY of things to keep them shut-up…..I mean occupied 🙂 And it is DEFINITELY better to book whatever you can online. I went through Mypoints to book rentals and hotel rooms this year, and got thousands of points back to use on gift cards and such. It’s a little time consuming, but so worth it.

  3. Great tips for road trips. We are actually planning on going for our first long road trip to visit friends in Wisconsin in the fall. Hayden will be 9 months at the time so I’m definitely looking for ways that will make the trip more enjoyable for him.

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