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If there’s one thing we do a ton of during the warm, summer months is road trip. Spending hundreds of hours on the road when school is out has become a way of life for my family- and with that way of life comes travel hacks and essentials to improve our road tripping experiences to keep us happy and safe. From tech to snacks and even vehicle safety, here’s my family’s top six road trip sanity savers.
1. Back Seat Tech
If you’ve read the blog you’ll know we have a teenage daughter affectionately known as The Kid. And, while she’s our little piece of heaven on earth and never gives us an ounce of trouble on road trips (knock wood), on longer road trips I can hear sighs from the back seat and that’s when I know the batteries on her e-devices have died. We have an older vehicle that doesn’t have the luxury of rear seat plugs or outlets so I had to discover an alternate way for her to charge them easy and efficiently- that’s where our WakaWaka Base 10 becomes a figurative life saver. Using four solar panels, The Kid can lie them in the rear window and, once the Base 10 is fully charged she can begin to charge her e-devices without ever having to use our front outlets. Here’s where WakaWaka Base 10 becomes a literal life saver: the system can charge a cell phone completely four times with one full unit charge. Cue sigh of relief.
It goes without saying that we always keep the back seat loaded with e-devices including e-readers, tablets, and the like. When her eyes are swimming from staring at them, here’s where road trip sanity saver number two goes into full force.
2. Books on CD
The day before a big road trip, we hit our local library for books on CD to take out on loan. Most times each book has several CDs and lasts for hours. We adore listening to our favorite series while heading down the highway and, man, do they make the time pass quickly. It’s also fun to check out one or two that we know nothing about to really up the suspense and make the hours fly by.
3. Stop and Smell the Roses. Or Tulips. Or Dandelions.
If you have little ones, taking the time to stop and smell the roses (AKA a road trip pit stop) can do wonders for your mood. When you see something beautiful, stop and take photos. Take a quick walk to get your blood flowing and your circulation going. Breathe deeply.
We’re always looking for the beauty in nature and if that means making an unauthorized stop to smell roses or tulips or even dandelions for the sake of our sanity, so be it.
4. Snacks and Drinks
How many times have you been in the car in the middle of nowhere and you can hear your stomach rumble? Hopefully for you it’s happened few and far between but for us it happens more often than we’d like. Here’s where a bag of snacks and drinks becomes our new best friend. We head to the grocery store a couple of days before a road trip and I let The Kid pick out her favorite healthy snacks and throw one or two sweets in for good measure. If we’re on the road and make a pit stop we love looking for local or unusual foods to try, too.
Road trip tip: If you have space in the back seat or trunk, purchase a case of bottled water and leave it there. Not only does it quench your thirst, you never know when you may need it for an emergency.
5. A Well-Maintained Vehicle
As I do most of the driving, this one is my top tip for saving my sanity when road tripping. We check the pressure in our tires, our coolant level, the tread on our tires, our windshield wipers, and our head and tail lights before we ever leave the house- and we check the oil constantly (especially when road tripping several hours in one day. Oil levels can drop during this time so please keep a close eye on them.)
I’ll admit it, Mr. Locke has changed the oil in my vehicle right in our garage. But lately we’ve both been so swamped it makes sense to have someone else change it for us- and that’s where our Walmart Automotive Care Center comes in super handy. I own a car that’s well over a decade old and has high mileage (over 75,000 miles!), but we’ve taken good care of her so we still feel confident taking her on road trips. And, while we could put any old oil in it, our last oil change we decided to use Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® motor oil. If you do plan to change your oil yourself, it’s super easy to find on the stores’ shelves, too.
Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® motor oil helps clean out the engine sludge lesser-quality oils can leave behind, while helping to reduce leaks and oil consumption in well-worn or higher mileage engines. It’s been specifically designed for both new or late model vehicles with over 75,000 miles, and has the mission of keeping engines running clean and going strong. And there’s a nice perk: oil changes at Walmart Automotive Care Centers using Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® motor oil are $39.88 on Rollback to $35.88 from June 15 – September 28, 2016! It’s super easy to drop off the car, head into the store and shop for snacks and drinks (and any other road trip necessities!) and receive a call when our car is ready to go. I LOVE a good 1-stop shop!
6. When All Else Fails, Talk
Having the pleasure of partaking in number five is priceless. At least once on every trip we all tire of listening to the radio or staring at our tech and that’s when a good conversation is perfection. We’ll ask The Kid about what she’s looking forward to on our trip (or if we’re on our way home, what she loved most about it), where she wants to visit next, and I love to ask open-ended questions that give her the freedom to really think about her answers and rattle on.
Where are you headed this summer? Do you have a favorite way to save your family’s sanity on road trips? Please let us know in the comment section below!
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