With summer starting, vacations are being planned and those long road trips may be painful for some! Especially with little ones who don't like sitting for so long. We were planning a 20 hour road trip (20 hours one way and 20 hours back!) this summer and I've been thinking of ways to help the car feel more comfortable and fun if it happens.
First, some great sites to help figure your gas costs for your trip.
Triple AAA Fuel Price Finder
MapQuest Fuel Price Finder
1) Have a mechanic give your car a once over. Change the oil, fill your tires, check the brakes and all the lights (interior and exterior) on your car to make sure they are all working.
2) Have a fire department check that your car seat (if using one) is installed properly. It's free and you want the best installation for long rides.
3) Have a first aid kit with the necessities. Band aids, cleanser and gauze for example.
4) Make sure to keep an emergency car kit in the trunk. It may very well come in handy on those long road trips with a lot of miles between rest stops and exits.
5) NEVER tell anyone when you are going out of town. Especially on Myspace, Facebook and Twitter. You may think you know your friends, but sometimes you don't s. You could let the local police department know and they sometimes will drive by often to keep an eye out. Stop your mail and paper delivery also so they don't pile up and alert people you are not home.
Have everything within reach. Sunglasses, Maps, Tissues, Wet Wipes, magazines or books and car phone charger for example should all be close. Consider using a car visor organizer to put CD's and Maps/directions above your sun visor and even consider a sun visor extension for those sunny highways.
1) Get a back seat organizer and/or a travel tray. I picked up this Kids Lap Tray at my local Michaels Crafts for just $3.50 on sale. Great for coloring, reading books or even eating on the go.
2) Put a small cooler between the back two seats. You could use this as a table and drinks are within close reach. You can always put a larger one in the truck or back of the vehicle filled with the majority of the drinks, then just transfer some to the smaller front cooler at gas stops.
3) Have pillows and blankets close by for those nap times. There is nothing worse than a stiff neck when you wake up after sleeping sitting up in a car!
4) Keep snacks together and bring small containers or plastic bowls to put snacks in. This way you don't have a box being passed around the car and everyone has their own portions. We like crackers, cereal bars, suckers, dried fruit, Goldfish S'mores, nuts, bananas, cookies, granola bars, You can even bring milk in the cooler and boxes of cereal.
5) Carry a sun shade in your car. We have used this to block our front window at a rest stop that we have slept in during a long road trip. It's just a little extra privacy so people aren't watching you sleep in the front seat. I've even gotten a few extra for the driver and passenger windows if you don't have tinted windows. You can find them at any Target, Walmart or even a local auto parts store.
6) A PORTABLE POTTY! If you have little ones, it is a must to carry their portable potty in your car for those emergencies. I can't tell how handy this is in emergencies! I just bring the seat we used when she was first potty training like below, but there are others styles.
GAMES FOR THE ROAD!
Make sure to take coloring books, crayons, work books, small puzzles, travel games, Vinyl Sticker Play Scenes and a portable DVD if possible! There are some great car trip books also like "52 Fun Things to do in the Car", "Miles of Smiles", "TravelMates; Fun Things Kids Can Do In The Car" and don't forget "Mad Libs".
Check out this link for more Road Trip Tips and have a safe summer!
Enjoy being a Mom All Day!