All of our family vacations involved a road trip.  We didn’t fly for a vacation until I was somewhere in my teens.  And these days it is still more cost effective (in most situations) than hopping on a plane.  So what have I taken away from my many automotive adventures?  ….That I have a really hard time staying awake as a passenger, lol!

I grew up before there were TVs in the back of Mom and Dad’s headrest.  Instead we kept ourselves occupied with books, personal Cassette and eventually CD players, coloring books, playing cards, sign/license plate games, mini travel games, and naps.  These days I require a little less to keep me entertained.  My boyfriend and I have our smart phones to play Pandora and take turns picking stations, our iPad, and my Kindle.  My point here is just to illustrate the many options you have for yourself and your children aside from popping in a movie to lull everyone into submission for the long journey…or at least to supplement.

One cute thing my Mom did for us was to make us travel pillows.  I know, I know you’re thinking that involves sewing and who wants to do that.  It can involve sewing if you want to go that route but there are now products at the fabric store that will allow you to use nothing more than an iron.  Instead of dragging our full size pillows around in the car taking up space, my mom took one pillow case and separated the two halves, then created smaller pillows from each half.  She used velcro to close off the open end after she’d stitched together the other three sides, that way she could pull the stuffing out and wash them.  She also used personalized iron on decals from the fabric store.

So we have activities, cute pillows, now we need snacks!  Obviously this is going to be completely up to your taste buds.  One thing I can recommend though is to plan ahead and pack things such as trail mix.  Pick up an assortment of nuts, raisins, chocolate candies, whatever else sounds good to you and mix it yourself in a sealed container.  Candy that doesn’t melt easily; personally I like having Twizzlers or JuJuBees.  Another already handily packaged snack are Pringles.  A box of granola bars might go over well too.  I try to think about what will make the least mess (which includes the likelihood of a bag popping open and spilling all over) but still be satisfying.  Another thing we make sure to do is hang on to one of the plastic bags we brought home from the grocery store in, that way we have a designated trash bag for between stops.  Don’t forget some bottles of water, your carbonated beverage of choice, energy drinks, and/or coffee drinks.  If you happen to pack a small cooler for your beverages, consider expanding your food selection.

If you have room for that cooler, you can save additional money and eat healthier than running through that drive thru you were probably otherwise going to hit.  Think compact, easy to eat, low mess…sandwiches (lunch meat, chicken salad, egg salad).  The other great benefit is that you can eat whenever you want rather than waiting for the next exit.  If you want to glam it up even more, consider that cold chicken or even turkey is often delicious.  Cook up a couple thighs, wings, breasts, whatever floats your boat and pack it up for a heartier feast.

A few other things to think about before you take off for adventure.  Make sure your tires have ample tread and are in over all good conditions, including checking the pressure.  Clean your windows, fill your washer fluid.  Check your other fluids and belts.  When is the last time you had an oil change?  When is the last time you had new breaks?  The last thing you want while on vacation is to be side tracked with car troubles.  Last but not least fill your gas tank and hit the road.  Don’t forget your seat belt!