Vacation preparation

Vacation! It’s here! It’s time to pack and prepare! What are my best ideas as a mom of three and my “must haves” when traveling across the country for a family road trip? Well… I have compiled my list of the top 10 things I think are most important to have to keep my sanity.. and my families sanity!

1. A MAP

Yes, that is correct. A map. Good old fashioned maps cannot be beat when you are driving cross-country. I do not know how to read them but my husband does. And like Plat books and field agronomy maps, he thinks that no amount of hardware and GPS devices beat pulling over to review your path and where you need to go next. Even though my map reading skills are a source of contention between us… 🙂

2. Movies

I have three kids and all three are movie fanatics. All three love to kill time watching movies and admittedly it is a great way to pass the miles. Our van has dual DVD players so the older ones can watch in the back while the younger one in front. Best invention EVER.

3. Snacks

No brainer here?

4. Technology

Forget I said that it can replaced. It can be in terms of finding your route.. but not in passing time. We are loaded down with Ipods, Kindles, Ipads and the like when we travel.

5. Old timey games

Yep- we play the license plate game, travel bingo and the alphabet game. When you are in the car trapped together for 24 hours driving you have to do something to pass the time!

6. Your eyes

My kids have been fortunate to see most of the states in our great country through road trips we have taken.  We have had them go from Iowa to Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, Georgia and all the states in between. They have been to the Rockies, the Great Smokey Mountains, have been skiing in Denver, to the gulf shores of Florida, the Grand Canyon, the “Grand Daddy of them all” rodeo in Wyoming, through all the sights in South Dakota and that just scratches the surface of what they have seen. They have tasted true gulf seafood, touched Sbarro cactus plants, walked among the masses in Walt Disney World, raced in a conversion van across the Atlanta motor speedway finish line and  sat in a chair in one of the minutemen launch sights in the prairies of the Dakotas.  While they appreciate the convenience of flight, they appreciate even more all the sights they see in driving across our beautiful country. So make sure you have your eyes open, your ears open and you are ready to watch our beautiful country roll by.

7. Sense of humor

It’s fun to take the time to laugh and watch the people around you. I remember once I walked into a gas station in Tennessee to buy gas on a road trip and the lady behind the counter called me a Yankee! This made me laugh just because my accent was something that was foreign to her and she appreciated the time I took to share where I was from. It was a great teaching moment for me and my kids!

8. Travel apps

I do not have a favorite for these, I kind of search as I go. But I have used apps that show restaurants, best gas prices, and local landmarks before on previous trips we have taken. Do you have a favorite for me to keep in mind?

9. Kleenex… and baby wipes

Even if your kis are grown- you never have enough of these when you spend several days in a car toegther. Someone is bound to spill something!

10. Lastly- an open mind

Keep your mind open because the road is yours for the taking. Who knows what memories you will create? I LOVE the idea of not knowing what is to come. We have had GREAT family vacations… too many to mention all of them. But we have had the rotten ones too. (ask me about the time my husband was hospitalized the entire trip and we got hit by a blown tire on the way home). It is what it is though, and I would not trade those experiences for all the money in the world.

Safe travels!!


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