Plan Your Own Memorable Road Trip – Part One
When I initially decided I would make the trek from Texas to California on my own with my three young girls, my friends and family cheered me on, but many were quick to tell me how CRAZY I was to do it alone. They would say things like, “You’re a BRAVE woman,” or “Better you than me!.” For those who think they CANNOT do it alone, let me reassure you that YOU CAN and I’d love to share a few tips on how to make a road trip enjoyable and doable on your own!
I’ll start by listing a few TO DO’S before you hit the road. Many of these are obvious, but perhaps this can offer a few ideas for your consideration.
A Few Items For Your Road Trip Checklist:
— OIL CHANGE and TIRE CHECK
(Once you reach your destination, have the tires checked again to ensure your tire pressure is good all around with no leaks. I had three nails in my front right tire and didn’t realize it for a week! #LuckyLady #ThankfulMom)
— DON’T OVER PACK
(at some point, you can do laundry and your kids will wear the same outfit over and over whether you like it or not)
— PACK A SNACK BAG AND HAVE WATER BOTTLES IN CAR
— BLANKETS/PILLOWS FOR CAR:
(Consider also bringing a sleeping bag (just in case you get stranded and it’s cold)
— MACE/FLASHLIGHT/FLARES/FIRST AID KIT/SWISS ARMY KNIFE FOR CAR
(Mama Bear Must Protect)
— GROCERY BAGS FOR CAR
(Don’t under-estimate having some plastic on hand to serve as trash bags or Car Sick Receptacles)
— CELL PHONE CHARGERS, ELECTRONIC DEVICE CHARGERS, BATTERIES
— FILL ‘ER UP
(Get gas before you hit the road and don’t wait until your almost on E to fill up again. I got dangerously close to running out of gas in the middle of NOWHERE! There were many spots in my route where gas was unavailable for at least 100 miles; a good hour and a half at times.)
— VISIBILITY IS IMPORTANT
(Make sure your luggage is not obstructing what you can see through the rearview mirror. Keep it clear!)
— PAPER/JOURNAL AND PEN
(You never know when a creative thought will spring, so be prepared to jot down your ideas! I did quite a bit of songwriting in the car between Texas and California and would record melodies in my cell phone.)
Special Music Playlist
For me, a huge part of road tripping is the music that accompanies it. Making sure my IPOD is set with a few great playlists and timeless albums that I can listen to straight through are a MUST! Driving through the Arizona desert, for example, is quite frankly incomplete for me without the U2 Joshua Tree album. I’d also encourage you to consider throwing in a little Pitbull or Flo Rida for some pep and the Garden State or We Bought a Zoo Soundtrack if you need a little time for reflection. The girls and I definitely have one song that when we hear it, we will always think of our trip together. Not because of the lyrics, but because we all enjoy jamming to it! Every time we’d start a new leg of our trip, the girls would request “Ghost Town” by Adam Lambert. If you haven’t checked it out, I HIGHLY recommend it!
Adam Lambert: “Ghost Town”
Treats and Sweets!
For any travel adventure, treats and sweets are a must! Treats: NEW and cool activities to occupy your children (emphasis on NEW to give your kiddos something fresh to look at). This doesn’t have to be a $100+ expenditure. A couple of new coloring books, fresh new crayons, stickers and even a few rolls of Scotch tape for them to waste will do the trick! Pay a visit to the $1 section at Target and see what you can find or pick up a $5 movie your kids want to see. Lastly, if you have any sort of learning electronic device, download a new game or app! Don’t forget the portable DVD player. Two hours of a movie is a Godsend when your patience is tapped out due to your kiddos bickering in the back seat! “Stop!” “No YOU Stop!.” Aye!
Sweets: When travel days grow long, melt downs are inevitable. Sweets and snacks really come in handy when you are still 45-60 miles away from your destination. I like to keep healthy staples like cashews and peanut butter crackers on hand, but I also purchase a few guilty pleasures. For me, a road trip is not complete without Pringles and Skittles. Throw in a few cookies or gum the kiddos never get to eat at home and Melt Down Town has been diverted. Usually on one of our gasoline stops, I will also allow my girls to pick out one “snack” for the drive. Anything pretty much goes, EXCEPT ice cream. After stops like these, I usually get a, “You’re awesome mom!” or “You’re the Best!” Of course I’m awesome! I’m taking them on a cross country adventure!
Take In The Views From The Road
Countless times on my road trip, I found myself in complete awe over my surroundings while driving. I witnessed beautiful skies, a great sunrise, rugged terrain, hills, plateaus and mountains, and odd, laughable road signs. Many trains passed us by, cows mooed and horses roamed. Dust tornados swirled, thunderstorms poured, and sand storms ripped. My trip was packed with forces of nature colliding!
Enjoy Outdoor Fun
When we traveled to Santa Fe, there was plenty to do outside. There’s hiking, local parks and even a cool labyrinth outside the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. We found some wonderful, FREE things to enjoy!
In La Jolla, we traveled down to the beach and got some close ups with the seals! Aside from the fact that they stink, it was so awesome to witness them in person in a real setting that wasn’t a zoo! I was amazed by all the tourist who were getting extremely close to them as if they weren’t WILD animals. This isn’t Sea World folks. Perhaps I’m just chicken!
Tune in later this week for Part Two of planning your own Memorable Road Trip! Have questions or need a few more tips? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a comment below!