Every year we make sure to spend some time as a family to take a trip. Right now Purolator is helping to make that road trip a little easier with the Family Road Trip Sweepstakes (see below).
Whether it is out of the city to the mountains, or the beach, or down to northern California to visit the Redwoods or southern California for Disneyland, it is important that we spend some time away from the home and away from technology. It’s a great way to let the kids experience other places, see new things, and let their minds think as we pass places they have never seen. Plus taking a trip makes them think about distances and how big the world really is.
So when we plan a trip, we make sure to plan it right. We like to pick places that will make our kids think and that will give them something to remember for their whole lives.
It is important first to determine the time you will be gone. We start by making a spreadsheet to fill in the days with what we will be doing. Road trips require driving, so it is important to plan out how much time you will be on the road, and when to leave and when you will arrive. After we get that information filled in, it is time to figure out where we will be and what we will be doing. For instance if we are driving to California, we have to plan when we will arrive to our destination to figure out when to stop and rest and where we will stay the night. Then we plan how many days we will have to enjoy our destination and determining how many days we will have and how to spread out our time with what we will be doing. We always take into consideration driving time and to make sure you know the distance on your routes, don’t forget rush hours when driving to populated areas. We print out maps from location A to location B for each day of driving. Our car and phones have navigation, but we still keep a physical copy of route maps.
After we figure out our planning calendar, it is time to figure out what we will need and what we want to take. First we start by packing clothes. Not only do you need clothes for the days, but keeping extra sets is important. Also packing clothes for inclement weather is important, because Mother Nature will sometimes change her mind, pack that umbrella and sunscreen.
My husband also makes sure the car is ready to go. Make sure all your vehicle maintenance is up to date. Change that oil and filter, fluids, air filters, cabin air filters, whatever needs to be replaced and changed. Last thing anyone wants is a car problem hundreds of miles from home. It is important to check your tire pressure and windshield wipers. He likes to clean the car to make sure we have a comfortable and clean trip, because when we get home, its apparent we have been in the car for some days.
Next we plan on entertainment for the road and at the hotels. We pack some toys, books, coloring books, notepads, iPad and video game system. We always plan to buy some new toys or books for the kids, but kids get bored real quick, so make sure you have enough fun things to do. With Kaila reading now, books keep her occupied and Brooklin likes to look at pictures and pretend read, it’s so cute. Packing snacks and a cooler is good to keep from stopping while on the road and to save some money and to eat healthy. The most important thing for any trip is to make sure that everyone is happy, which is important for the driver.
We like to work on the trip planning a week before the trip, depending on how far and how long we will be gone for. It is good to plan in advance, giving us time to think about anything we missed or if there is anything else we want to work into our trip. Also packing what we want to take is done in advance to make sure we have what we need. Last thing needed is to be fretting the day before or the day of leaving. It is important to keep to the schedule to keep the trip on course. The night before our trip, we double check everything; itinerary, entertainment, clothing, food, etc.
We stick to this plan every time we take a trip. We probably take 5-10 trips a year, with 1 to 2 major trips that last more than 5 days. We have it down to a science and every time we have taken a trip, it’s gone great with nothing that we regret or miss.
With many taking their family on road trips, in town, around town, and out of town, every bit of savings can help. Right now, The Family Road Trip Sweepstakes will award five winners, each a family road trip pack which includes: a $200 gas card, $25 gift card to buy some healthy snacks and $75 worth of books and toys from Scholastic to keep the kids entertained and their minds on reading, need to keep their brains fresh and ready for the next school year!
Check out the Family Road Trip Sweepstakes! The sweepstakes closes 6/30/12.
I was paid by Purolator to blog about my family road trip and to promote the Family Road Trip Sweepstakes.