After we embarked on our four day road trip from Massachusetts to Colorado I realized there were lots of things I wanted to share with you guys. Road trips can be daunting, especially if you’re not prepared. And in our case, we drove for four straight days only stopping for bathroom breaks and to sleep. We had a deadline and we had to stick to it.
To make sure we had a smooth trip I made sure we were prepared for everything. A lot of the prep has to do with how the car is packed too. So, I was sure to leave one bag behind the front seats of things we might want during the trip – books, magazines, notebook, Catch Phrase, etc – and left a few things even closer in the side pocket on the passenger door – maps, pen, smaller notebook, etc. Behind the other seat was the easily accessible cooler with food and drinks.
Here are some other tips I thought of that worked really well for us…
How to Have a Successful Road Trip
- Have maps. Even in the days of GPS you have to be prepared for the technology to fail. It always does when you need it most! So we were equipped with maps as well.
- Have a first aid kit readily available. I kept one in the same bag behind the seat with the books and magazines. I used one of those plastic take out food containers, cleaned out of course. It was the perfect size for bandaids, advil, alcohol wipes, etc.
- Keep a flashlight in the car. You never know.
- Line the center console cup holders with thick napkins or paper towels. This was actually super helpful for when drinks would sweat or spill. It made clean up a lot easier.
- Pack easy to eat food. We had lots of snacks and my sister kindly made a bunch of sandwiches for us (she also made us a big road trip bag of snacks so really she gets all the credit for us eating on this trip). We knew we’d get bored of eating the same thing every day so we had a different sandwich each day (chicken salad, tuna, pb&j) and then one day we actually had mac and cheese! We made it before we left, put it in a reusable container and ate it right out of the container. This was a little messier, but it was great to have the different variety, and that day we just ate while at a rest stop instead. We also had hard boiled eggs which were easy to eat on the go.
- We had lots of easy snacks: apples, bananas, trail mix, beef jerky, baked chips and so on. All things were easy finger foods.
- Hydrate. Sitting on your butt for 8-11 hours each day is a lot. To avoid cramping we made sure to drink lots. We had reusable water bottles that we refilled with gallons of water we had with us.
- Bring a cell phone charger that connects to the car. You’d hate to have a dead phone when you need it most.
- Have contact information for where ever you’ll be staying. In our case we stayed with friends two nights, so it was easy to give them a call and let them know we were close. One night we stayed in a hotel and it was helpful to call to ask about parking, check in, complimentary breakfast, etc.
- Be comfy. We had a pillow and blanket accessible for whomever wasn’t the driver. Just in case they wanted to get cozy and take a snooze. The pillow was also helpful for me when I was the driver, it gave me a little extra back support because my back was hurting a little from sitting so much.
- Have your camera out and ready! I think this was my favorite part. I never thought I would get so many great photos while riding in the car. Some though, are ones I know we’ll love looking at in many years to come.
- Pack separate over night bags from the rest of your packed clothes or wardrobe. We traveled with a lot of clothing. Only because I was starting work a few days after arriving and I didn’t want to risk our clothes getting lost or delayed with the rest of our belongings. We packed one medium sized duffel that was easy for us to grab out of the car when we were staying over night.
- Have fun and play Catch Phrase. We really did have the best time during our road trip. We were stuck in the car together for 34 hours straight. We laughed, we yelled, we smiled and we talked. It was a lot of fun. We played Catch Phrase and it was hilarious.
Whatever you do to prepare for your road trip, make sure it works for your family. These are things that worked for us and things that we found helpful. I’d love to hear any other tips you might have. And really, bring Catch Phrase along!