*Thank you Jiffy Lube for sponsoring this post. Regardless all thoughts and opinions are my own and I only recommend brands I truly love.
Oh road trips. I’ll admit I hated them as a kid. But if you’ve been following my stories on Instagram you know we are doing everything possible to save money lately so road trips are our jam. And these days I don’t mind them (although I’m not sure what my kids would say). Honestly I’d rather load the car up and have Tom drive straight to our destination while I read some books than load the car up, drive to an airport parking lot, take the shuttle over, get checked in, go through security with 3 young kids, and after all that survive the flight with the kids. But no one should ever jump in to a road trip without preparing (in both a physical and mental sense). So here are 5 must do things to do before you embark out on a family road trip:
1 – Prep Your Car. I can say this from experience: the very worst thing that can happen on a road trip is for your car to break down and you spend 6 hours having it fixed before you hit the road again. And here’s the thing – it could have been SO much worse. What if we had been on the side of the highway and not made it to a dealership with a service center? What if it had caused a wreck? What if a part needed to be ordered and it took days to fix? This is why making sure you care is ready to go before the trip starts is so so so important.
Things you should consider having done include: Engine Oil Change, Engine and Cabin Air Filter Change, and of course check son your Engine Coolant, Transmission & Other fluids, Windshield Wiper Blades & Washer Fluid, Belts and Hoses, and Air Conditioning. We are road tripping to Orlando next week so we took Tom’s car to Jiffy Lube over the weekend to make sure it’s ready to go for our trip! We ended up just needing an oil change (check your vehicle’s instruction manual to see how often you should be getting your oil changed) and tire rotation but I was glad that they checked everything else. Everyone there was so nice, they did the work quick but we could watch how thorough they were, and it was all very affordable.
2 – Research and Plan. There’s no reason road trips can’t be fun but they do take plenty of planning beforehand. Try to figure out (a best guess) how often and where you can make stops on your trip. Consider food, bathroom breaks, etc. Also look up any sights or sounds along the way you might want to see and plan out those, including approximately how long you’ll be at each. Then try hard to keep to your schedule!
3 – Pack a Small Bag. We keep a small backpack for every family member somewhere easy to reach on our road trips. If our road trip involved spending a night on the road these bags are packed with 1 night essentials: pajamas, toothbrushes, change of clothes, etc. For day trips they just include things we might need on the road for each person – changes of clothes for the kids (water spills seem to happen a lot), maybe a toy or two, a couple of their favorite snacks, any medicines they may need, etc.
4 – Entertainment and Snacks. Another crucial road trip preparation step. Go ahead and stock up on entertainment and snacks before you even leave for your trip. For our kids I do the magic markers and coloring pads, iPads, extra battery chargers, books, and any other little crafts that they can do in the car without making a huge mess. Then we also keep a stock with tons of snacks right behind my seat so I can easily grab a snack and throw it at whichever kid is whining forgone.
5 – Relax. Look – road trips are a great way to save money but as with any type of travel (well really anything with kids) you have things come up and you have to be able to go with the flow. Also noise cancellation headphones aren’t a terrible idea.
And I’m giving away 2 $50 gift cards to Jiffy Lube so that a couple of you can get your car ready for Summer! Enter using the form below – good luck!
Jiffy Lube Gift Card Giveaway!
Debbie Erickson says
We are driving to Oklahoma next month to visit my husband’s parents.
Cynthia Conley says
I’ll be taking a road trip to New York later in the fall.
Great tips! I’m freaking out about our upcoming drive
Great tips! I’m freaking out about our upcoming drive for sure
Roadtripping to Upstate New York.
Kim Pincombe-Cole says
We’re driving to Nashville next month to celebrate my brother’s 50th birthday – should be fun!
Roswell, NM has an annual UFO themed parade that we talk about going to every year. I am going to try to make it out there this year. Apparently it ois a lot of fun, and I think our kids would enjoy it as well.
Jennifer R says
Yes, we are planning a road trip to Missouri this summer.
Francine Anchondo says
We are planning a road trip just haven’t decided where yet
Susan Smith says
We are driving to Denver to visit my family this Summer.