I can’t believe we’re already in September! I don’t know how the summer has flown by and now we’re in back to school mode. I may be in the minority, but I love having my kids home! I love the sleeping in and cuddles on the couch that last into the late morning. I love moseying into the day with just the sun to guide us on our adventures. And I love spending it all with my family!
One of our favorite things to do is road trips. Whether it’s just spending a day to drive to nearby Portland, OR or a few weeks to tour the country, we love just getting in the car and driving. Last month we left for a ten day southwest America trip! We visited Arches, Mesa Verde, The Grand Canyon National Parks. This is our fourth major National Park trip as a family. So while I’m still learning how to pack a family of 6, I’ve done enough road tripping to know what I’m doing. Today I’m going to share with you my how-tos on how to pack for 10 days on the open road. Let’s go!
- Try to keep your luggage to a minimum. This means sometimes sharing luggage space. My husband and I share one giant suitcase and we leave enough room for extra shoes or jackets for the kids. While I would love for my kids to share luggage, I know that with a teenage son and daughter, it will not happen. So, be realistic with who can share. If you have littles and they don’t insist on pulling their own suitcase, pack them together.
- Pack plenty of snacks for the whole family. With 6 people, we all have fairly diverse preferences. While I prefer healthy non-spill snacks, my 7 year old would love to have a banana and peanut butter in the third row. Not gonna happen! Pack things that are easy to clean up and high in protein (to prevent car sick kiddos) like trail mix, beef jerky, and cheese sticks. I always throw some extra goodies in the cooler for rest stop breaks, but try to keep the in car food to a minimum. We also keep drinks to a minimum with the exception of water, just to so we don’t have to find a rest stop every 20 miles.
- Small balls or frisbees. We haven’t done this in a while, but I think we may need to revisit this idea. When our older kids were smaller, we would make our rest stop breaks a little longer by getting out a ball or tossing around a frisbee. It helps the littler kids with wiggly legs get a good stretch and helps mom and dad get a nice break from those long highway drives.
- Maps. That’s right, a good ol’ fashioned, folded backward and forward map. While Apple Maps and Google Maps are great and convenient, when you’re out in the middle of nowhere without cell service, those apps will do you no good. On our last trip, we ran into a bit of a jam with our directions and thankfully had a map in the car. Without it, we would’ve been in trouble and probably would’ve extended our trip a few hours longer than it needed to be. If you’re a AAA member, you can get all of your maps for free.
- Use Gasbuddy. Speaking of apps, Gasbuddy was a lifesaver on our last trip. We like to save money wherever we can and thankfully our Gasbuddy app saved us close to around $50, just by driving a few short blocks away from the convenient gas stations.
- First aid kit. While we don’t always need one, it’s a good idea to have one. I pack in mine bandages, first aid cream, tylenol, wipes, and believe it or not, barf bags because we usually have at least one barfer in the car at any given time. If you’re doing any hiking I would recommend packing a full first aid kit.
One other thing I want to mention, is that when we travel, we stay at hotels across America. It may not be the most economical way of traveling, but it is the easiest. If you need help with finding great hotel prices, let me know and I will tell you my secrets! It’s not hard, just takes a little more time. And let me know how your next road trip goes! I love to hear (and sometimes steal) other family’s ideas!