Disclosure: This road trip tips post is sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and I have received financial compensation.
The first time I took the kids out of town without my husband was when they were four and just turning three. My husband was working a contract job – no work, no pay. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me from getting to the beach. Easy peasey, y’all.
We were on the highway when I realized I had forgotten my entire toiletry case. I returned home for that. We were barely out of downtown Atlanta when we got stuck in accident traffic and my newly potty-trained kid had to “go”. The ride to the beach took longer than it should have, thanks to the tire pressure light continuing to come on regardless of how many times I stopped at a gas station to check the tires.
My oldest is fifteen now and I’ve thrown one more kid in the mix. The kids and I tend to get wanderlust more than my husband, so we have lots of Mom-led road trips under our belt since that first experience. I’m sharing our best road trip tips with you! At the end, look for details about a fun Instagram Travel Tips sweeps that can snag you a $250 gift card!
Get The Car A Check-Up
The peace of mind this will give you is priceless. That first trip mentioned above? Turns out both my front tires needed to be replaced. The stress I felt with two little boys in the car while my tires were doing wacky things was over the top. Prior to our most recent road trip we took the van in, got new brakes and an otherwise clean bill of health.
Know How To Change A Tire And Jump Start Your Car
These are just basic road trip tips, y’all. I am the Queen of the Flat Tire, all bow to my uncanny bad luck. Do you know where your spare tire is and how to get to it? I do, now. The only problem I’ve had is when mechanics use machines to put new tires on – those lug nuts can be hard to get off.
Never leave home without jumper cables. NEVER. I used to be paranoid that I would mix up the clips and blow up my car but really – a quick internet search can make sure you’re doing it right. If you REALLY want to be prepared, you can keep a can of “Fix a flat” in your car and a portable charger that might get you to a mechanic.
On The Road
Pack A Potty
That first road trip with a newly potty trained kid was a challenge. I didn’t want to throw him back in a pull-up. So I kept a plastic potty seat in the back and pulled over to use it whenever needed.
Keep Things In Reach
Now that I have two teens and a kid in a booster instead of a 5-point harness, I don’t need to worry about them being able to get to what they want in the car. If you have kids in car seats, though, things are a little trickier.
When my kids were small, my mom found something like this that worked perfectly. This is an affiliate link; click on the picture for more info from Amazon.
Their car seats already had cup holders that were sturdy; I just needed somewhere to throw
a drive-thru meal healthy snacks they could get to without dropping them.
I have two teens and a tween, y’all. The amount of devices between the four of us is insane. In my older-model minivan, there are only two car charging ports. GASP! When I found a cord like this, it was a total score. (Affiliate link) I could charge my iPod, my Samsung phone and my kid’s LG phone all from the same charger. No more cries of “Who unplugged my phone?!”
Pull Out The Map
Remember when you used to get maps from AAA or you would go to MapQuest and print out your trip directions? Do that. I found myself leaving the Okefenokee Swamp and headed to St. Mary’s, Georgia. I was out in the middle of nowhere and my GPS wasn’t catching. A knowledgeable gas station employee got me headed in the right direction until the GPS could kick in but you may not always be that lucky.
Road Trip Tips At Your Destination
Be An Insider
I always look for hotels that have the room’s doors facing inside into a hallway. Motels that have rooms accessible from the outside are a no-deal for me when traveling solo with the kids. It’s great to have a ground-floor room with a patio, but when traveling solo I prefer a room off the ground floor.
Pack a Fully Stocked First Aid Kit
The best emergencies happen at night, right? During that first solo trip, I began my years-long relationship with migraines. Go figure. I had dealt with the headache during the day, but by night time the pain was getting pretty bad. I had no pain relievers and neither did the front desk. My littles were already asleep. I chose to just deal with the headache vs. waking them, dealing with car seats, walking them into a drugstore and then trying to get them back to sleep. It was a rough night and therefore a very long next day.
Don’t Leave Valuables Packed In Your Car
Fellow TravelingMom Breeze learned this the hard way. Car all packed for their next destination, Breeze and her family went inside the hotel to eat breakfast. This is when her car window was smashed in broad daylight and her husband’s phone and wallet were stolen. Read what the police had to say about her experience.
If you are leaving things in the car, make sure everything looks as boring as possible. Pillows. Coolers. Shoes. Don’t leave anything in your car that might lead a thief to think there is something of value inside it.
When All Else Fails
Even the most prepared Mom has to sometimes deal with things that are out of her control. Extreme illness. Luggage lost or stolen. In the worst case scenario, you have to cancel the trip or head home early. Any of these things could cause you to be out a lot of money, especially if you are traveling internationally! Allianz Global Assistance offers a variety of travel insurance plans. Know when to say when and pack it in with a minimum of money lost.
TravelingMom and Allianz Instagram Travel Tips Sweeps
Now it’s time to share your best travel tips! TravelingMom and Allianz are partnering for an Instagram sweepstakes July 5th-14th. To enter follow @travelingmom, post your best travel pictures on Instagram and give us your favorite travel tips. Be sure to use the hashtag #TMOMAllianz because there are going to be two winners each receiving a $250 gift card – one of them could be you!
I can’t wait to grab some wisdom from y’all! I’ll be following along and sharing more tips with you during the entry period. Follow @MomsMagicalMiles to see more of our travels and some of our best advice.
Don’t be intimidated to take the kids on a road trip, Mom. You’ll be making memories that last a lifetime and showing your kids just how capable you are!