Family car trips can be exciting, fun and a great bonding experience. But, they can also be nerve-wrecking, disorganized and headache-inducing! One way to reduce the headache is to get organized before the trip. Here are some tips to keep in mind for your next car trip.
A Cooler and “Stuff” Bin
We recommend two essentials for a family car trip – a cooler and a ‘stuff’ bin! The cooler holds sandwiches, soda and water for the trip; the ‘stuff’ bin holds games, books, puzzle books, favorite toys, crayons, pens, markers, map/travel books, etc. for the kids. Your kids’ ages will dictate what should go in the bin. If they are old enough to play with Nintendo DS toys, then pack a couple of them. Make it known that all the toys are available for ALL the kids to reduce the inevitable backseat fighting. Keep the cooler within reach of the front seat so when kids are napping, the driver and navigator will still have access to cold drinks.
Bring Pillows and Blankets
Bring your own pillows and some blankets if you hope to get your kids to nap. If you don’t have room enough for that, then at least bring a couple of throws they can use as a cover or pillow.
Map the Trip Beforehand
For the adults, we suggest that the trip be mapped out in advance and all drivers know the routes to be taken. This will lessen the chances of getting lost and reduce friction in the front seat, too! Make sure you have a collision kit in the glove box in case of a fender bender, and a first aid kit too.
Organize Brochures and Maps
Be sure maps are in the front of the car, and all brochures and reservations for fun activities are kept in one place with one person responsible for them (Mom or Dad usually). This way, they can be easily found when needed.
For Limited Storage Space
If your vehicle has limited storage space, pack lightly for your trip to reduce the number of bags you have to fit in the car. Many cars have racks on the roof to hold larger items – make sure to use it for your trip if you need the extra space in the car. Make sure you tie down the luggage in the rack with rope. Tie-downs can snap and cause serious injury. Bring extra rope in case the knots get stuck – then you won’t be stuck. You can also use this area to pack your ‘equipment’ such as skis, kayaks, etc. You can even rent a roof top storage unit that you can toss luggage into!
Bringing Along the Pets
Be sure to bring plenty of water and stop often for potty breaks. Just like the humans in your family, pets need breaks stretch-time too. Familiar toys and treats will go a long way. There are also many car sized crates and “seat belts” for pets to keep them safe in the car. Check it out before you travel by car with your family pet.
About the Author
Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch are on a mission to help stretched and stressed moms get their lives organized with simple tips and tricks and advice that insures success. Getting ‘Buttoned Up’ gives you peace of mind, and helps you save time, or money or both…. and who wouldn’t want that? (www.getbuttonedup.com)