Since both the hubs and I are teachers, we get a solid 2 months vacation, give or take a few days. Since we got married we always talked about having a family and going on sweet summer vacations with said family.
Two summers ago, when the oldest was the onliest child and not even 1 year old, we booked a flight for San Fransisco. Morning of the flight, it was cancelled! We decided we were going to go anyway and drove the 9+ hours. It was long, but so worth it! That’s when we decided we were going to try our hand at road trips.
Last summer, I was severely pregnant with babe #2 so we were stuck at home.
This summer, we knew we had to go all out. We planned our trip from June 11th to July 6th. We planned to drive the whole thing, stay in hotels, visit things none of us have seen, and spend time with family.
We left from Las Vegas and started at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We traveled south through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, and back to Nevada. Our boys got to experience a lot of cool things from a Cardinals baseball game to milking cows on a farm. These are memories we won’t ever forget.
Having spent almost a month on the road, we picked up a lot of travel tips and ideas. We learned a lot of things that made it easier for us with small children and basically living out of our car for a long time. Below are tips I found useful. Some were given to us before we left, others we discovered along the way.
- Find out if your health insurance offers some sort of on call/ video chat doctor service. Day 2 into our trip, I got sick and needed antibiotics. Thankfully with the free service through my insurance, I was able to pick up antibiotics within 2 hours and felt better within a few days. This also happened at like 2 in the morning and there were no urgent cares open at the time. Of course if it’s a serious emergency, find a hospital.
- A first aid kit with bandaids, ointment, hydrocortisone cream, Tylenol, and anything else you may think you need. You can never over pack first aid items.
- Pedalyte. Because my kids got sick on the last day and passed it to me! When they are throwing up I’m so worried about dehydration. Thankfully we were at my sister’s house and she has some. They have little individual powder servings that we used. They were life savers.
- Always stay in hotels with free breakfast and dinner if possible. A friend recommended Drury Inn hotels. They had kick backs every evening with a buffet dinner and free alcoholic drinks. It was a little bit more money, but totally worth it.
- With kids, stay in hotels with indoor pools. Burn off that energy from a day of travel.
- Don’t drive more than 8 hours a day. We made most of our days 4 hours. It made the travel enjoyable for us and bearable for the kids. We tried to find things along the way so we could even break up those hours. I think doing 8 hours constantly gets old fast.
- When packing the car, we tried to take up less room. Instead of everyone having their own suitcase, we got a large bathroom caddy everyone threw their toiletries in and we packed our clothes into plastic storage drawers. We took 1 carry on size suitcase and put the clothes in it for the next day. Way easier than hauling 4 suitcases up and down hotel stairs. When we were staying at a place for longer than 2 days, we took the drawers with us!
- Pack just one bag of toys. Enough that they will play and stay interested, but not too much that you’re playing hide and go seek with little Paw Patrol dogs for half the trip.
- Books on tape or Audible.com. For the long days, we listened to books instead of the radio. We have Sirius radio, but after 2 or so hours the songs seem to be on repeat.
- On vacation we took a ton of photos on our camera and our phones. We use Google Photo to back up our pictures. It’s free and it has unlimited storage. Our phones automatically back up things. I’m NOT into scrapbooking and printing all these photos would be a waste of money. I use Adobe Spark Page to create a page of our vacation. It’s basically a digital scrapbook and so easy to use! I would work on it for 10 minutes each night, typing out and adding photos from the day. It’s fun to look back and instantly see my photos in a cool creation. Adobe Spark also offers Post and Video. It’s a user friendly site for any type of technology user! I’ll post mine here in a few days.
All in all, being gone a month you deal with a lot of things not on your agenda like barfing and infections and bug bites, but we had so much fun and look forward to doing a different road trip next summer!