Are you one of those “Need to Plan Ahead”- type of people? Then, you are in Great Company!!! 😀 I, personally, don’t like to start a road trip or plan a full-day of activities without knowing that I’m fully prepared for ‘almost’ anything. I stress the word: Almost! That’s why the following Road Trip tips will help anyone have a successful outing.
Although, I love the thought of taking the kids Apple-Picking and on other adventures, I love being prepared more…
I love making lasting memories and staying sane and road trips are a great bonding experience, made better when you are prepared.
Added Bonus – I offer some of my favorite Road Trip items and Free Printable Checklists to help you better prepare for your next One-Day or Multi-Day Road Trip.
This post contains affiliate links. What’s that??? Read all about it here.
How Should I Prepare for a Road/Day Trip?
This is a great time to incorporate the whole family in the prepping aspect of going on an outing.
Hudson Valley day trips and outings are typically a Family-Fun day. Because of this, the whole family should chip in with helping to plan for the trip to the destination. By doing this, you’re not only making them a part of the process, but you’re also teaching them valuable life lessons they will need for the future when they have their own families.
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret…
Road Trip Tip #1:
When I start planning, I don’t just use one list. For road/day trips that are longer, I use several lists in order to better organize myself. Here are some examples of lists you can incorporate:
List #1: Items for the Car/First Aid Kit
List #2: Food Items
This has been a true lifesaver for me and keeps me sane throughout the process. For a copy of My Own Personal Lists, Sign up and download them for FREE.
How Should I Prepare for a longer Road Trip? One that may take several days?
The rules really change , if you are planning a trip that will take longer than your average day trip.
During these trips, one must be prepared for more and packing clothes and additional toiletry items may be overwhelming for some people.
Road Trip Tip #2:
Keep these lists handy and laminate them for multi uses. That way you can always have them handy and not run into the problem of forgetting an essential item, especially when your having an outing with your children.
What should I bring on a Family Road Trip?
Road Trip Tip #3:
Start by having your children help in cleaning out the car of the non-essential items.
Typical item are the folding chairs you use for soccer, the mounds of reusable shopping bags you have in the trunk and any garbage that has been left behind. You want it to be a clean slate before you introduce more things into the car.
- Use a large plastic container or pail from the dollar store as a trash can. Put a plastic shopping bag inside as a liner and you can easily dump out the garbage and replace the liner at a rest stop or at your destination.
- You can also grab a shower caddy from the Dollar Store, so each child can have a place to store their own snacks. There is no confusion about who eats what and it minimizes the fighting for the ‘last one’ of an item. They can also keep wrappers and empty containers on one side of the caddy and eliminates mess in the car.
Road Trip Tip #4:
If you need 2 or more shower caddies, buy the shower caddies in the same color. Label them with a Sharpie so that there is no confusion, especially during longer car rides.
Road Trip Tip #5:
Download and update any essential apps you need for the trip.
Cell service while driving can be inconsistent, so it’s always a good idea to have everything updated before you leave.
Also, don’t forget to back up your photos and clear your phone in order to make enough space for the new photos/videos/memories you’ll be capturing on your outing.
- How to quickly & effectively store your precious iPhone photos
- Need Road Trip Inspiration? These Instagram Accounts that Spotlight the Hudson Valley will get you in the mood to get in the car and explore.
Road Trip Tip #6:
The following list includes some helpful apps for a successful longer road trip.
Accuweather: This App helps you keep track of the weather not only for each day but also by the hour. This can be helpful when taking longer car trips.
Google Maps: I use this App every day when navigating my way from one place to another. I like that it now offers an ‘Alerts only’ option so that you can keep the App running in the background when knowing the route and it will alert you only if there’s traffic and when wanting to re-route you.
How do you organize your car for a Day/Road Trip?
Road Trip Tip #7:
Ask each person/child (over the age of 5) to grab a reusable shopping bag or one of their own backpacks and pack things that they think they will need personally.
Try not to edit what they take with them. Road trips with be more successful.
It’s a great way of learning responsibility and they can’t be upset when something gets left behind because they are responsible for their own items.
Car Hacks for a Successful Road Trip
The Realistic Mama has a great blog post listing some amazing Car Hacks I wish I would have thought of myself.
For instance, Silicone Cupcake liners in cup holders minimize messes. Also, a lightweight cookie sheet makes an excellent travel tray.
You can read her post and see the additional hacks here: 10 Car Hacks Every Mom Needs
How do you keep kids busy while on a road trip?
Fun Ideas for Long Road Trips
Have your children ever made their own edible snack necklace? It is such a fun activity. What’s better than adding cheerios-type cereals and pretzels to a long string???
Another fun activity is to create an I-Spy Bottle. Collect little trinkets, add them to a wide-mouthed bottle, add rice and hot glue gun the lid shut. Then, create a checklist (either with a picture of the items or text) and have the kids cross off each item they find.
Road Trip Printables are great way to keep you child/children busy on any type of car trip. You don’t have to plan a long road trip in order to enjoy car games and activities.
Trust me, road trip car games are not only for the children in your life. Adults can also enjoy the games as much as the kids do.
Road Trip Tips for Families
Packing healthy snacks from home is a great alternative than stopping for unhealthy and expensive snacks on the road, especially for a Day Trip.
Road Trip Tip #8
I am also a firm believer that everyone should have their own stash of snacks. It could be the same snacks as everyone else but portioned out in Ziploc bags or containers. This way you don’t run into the problem, for instance, of a child who loves popcorn eating the whole big bag on the trip and not leaving any for others.
Trust me, I’ve lived it.
Some ‘Not’ Road Trip Friendly Snacks Include:
- Bananas (too slimy)
- Muffins (too crumbly)
- Watermelon (too juicy)
- Juice Boxes (too messy)
- Crunchy granola bars (too crumbly)
Snacks should, ideally, include items from a variety of food groups:
Some examples are:
- Proteins – cheese, sliced turkey
- Fruits/Vegetables – including dried fruit (raisins, etc), fruit purees (applesauce, fruit pouches), individual salads
- Carbs – crackers, pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn
When it comes to planning a ‘Successful’ Road/Day Trip, the most essential part is to plan ahead and be organized.
That may mean having lists made up ahead of time or using a printable. Even planning snacks can make for a more pleasant trip out of the house.
Essential Things to have are:
- First Aid or Emergency Kit
- Activities to Keep Busy
- And the FREE Road Trip Checklists
After that’s all done, you can then enjoy a wonderful outing either on your own, with your significant other or with your family.