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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It's Time to Hit the Road

Now that the warmer weather is here (for a lot of places), it's time to start planning your road trips. I mean, I love it when I can hop on a plane and arrive at my destination hours later, but nothing beats a great road trip with stops along the way that make it fun and memorable. As a child, our family packed up the car an awful lot. Of course, I am an only child, so there was no sharing the back seat or fighting with siblings. I'm not sure if that made it more or less fun, but I always had a good time and was able to take stretched-out naps while on the road instead of scrunched up against the window {if you have to share, the Napper is actually a lifesaver for backseat snoozing}. Whether you have one kid, five kids or zero, there are always ways to make ever road trip more awesome. 
Where should you go?
There's an endless number of roads to travel on. If you want to see some of the most beautiful vistas in the U.S., check out this cool list from Afar. Once you've made the plan, create a custom travel map on Google maps. Kevin and Amanda show you how to do it. Drive to some cool amusement parks. Roadtrippers has all the best ones in America. 

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Make sure you plan a lot of stops along the way
A road trip isn't fun if you don't get out of the car once in a while. Look for those funky roadside attractions that might be interesting to check out. Sometimes, he kitschy ones are the best and most memorable, so don't pass up on the world's largest ball of twine or whatever you see. AAA books can help you find these places and they're free for AAA members, just go in and pick them up or order them online. I also like this awesome list from Roadtrippers of "international" destinations found in the U.S., so you feel like you're actually traveling abroad. They also have this amazing map that shows you all of America's best roadside attractions.

Plan some entertainment
You'll probably bring electronics, but make sure you bring/plan offline things to do, too. Books, magazines, notebooks and crayons are always good to keep on-hand, as are travel-sized games and things like license plate bingo that everyone can play. Create a binder for your trip that has printable games. This is a fun (and organized) idea from Glue Sticks Blog. I also love audio books for keeping entertained in the car. Sometimes you just need a break from music or when you're in between radio stations.

Bring a map
I know, you probably have GPS or you plan to use your phone to stay on track, but sometimes electronics don't work properly or the batteries run own. If that happens, then you have the old standby to help you get where you want to go without getting lost if you make a wrong turn.

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Get the apps
You probably won't break down and have no way to keep your phone charge, which means apps are a must. They make traveling so much easier when you need to find the nearest bank or public restroom or landmark or gas station. CoolMomTech has a fantastic round-up for family trips. And if you have kids, then downloading some apps just for them on your tablet is fantastic idea. CoolMomTech has a good list of those, too, which include educational ones, so they can learn something while you travel.

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Pack food and snacks
It can be fun to stop at greasy spoons along the way, but you don't want your family to live on crummy unhealthy food for days, so it's important to pack a cooler with some nutritious and homemade foods. I like to pack sandwich fixings that can be put together wherever you are and delicious sides like veggies and potato salad. You'll want to pack things that taste good cold, like chicken legs, salad stuffs, cheese {for crackers}, as well as fruit. Foods you can eat with your hands are the best. Make sure to keep necessary items on-hand, like a roll of paper towels, baby wipes (for when life gets a bit messy), paper plates and plastic forks. And don't forget bottles of water and/or juice boxes. Freeze them before leaving the house and you won't have to use ice that gets everything soggy. Need some inspiraton for food? Check out this post from KidsActivitiesBlog, these premade sandwiches that travel well from PopSugar and Brit + Co's list of epic road trip snacks. Also, pack your cooler better with these great tips from OneGoodThing by JilleeTip: Bringing your own food can also save you money and free up some funds for those fun stops along the way.

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Make sure to stay safe
Being safe and getting your car serviced and checked out before you leave is really important. There's nothing worse than breaking down from something that you could have fixed at home. If you have roadside assistance, make sure you have the card handy, so you can call if you have any problems. If you don't have roadside assistance and your road trip is going to be a long one, now might be the time to invest in AAA.

Keep hydrated along the way with a thermos from Laken that will keep stuff hot or cold for a whole day! They are totally worth the price. Need more great ideas for your epic road trip? Check out these fun hacks from BuzzFeed. You can also browse my Pinterest road trip board for even more road trip awesomeness. What are some of your favorite road trip tips?

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