Like I mentioned in my last post (part one of a three part series on roadtripping with Nitto Tires), roadtrips aren't quite as spontaneous as they once were. When you add two kids into the equation things can get a little tricky. That's where the old trusty list comes in. Efficiency for me is all about planning, and when we take a trip you can bet I'm planned and packed well before it's time to go. And it's not just about the things we'll need once we get to our destination- it's the entire adventure getting there too.
The other week we packed the kids into the car, to head all over our great state of Arizona to check out some future camping sites along with my parents. They recently purchased a camper and we wanted to scout out some spring and summer spots in person. I knew we would be in the car a lot, traveling from one part of the state to another, so I sat down to plan out this multi-stop road trip. And it's not just any list- since I first started taking car trips with friends my Dad would always have a checklist ready for me (or whoever was driving) to complete before we could go. One memorable time in college a bunch of us headed down to Rocky Point for Spring Break. 6 girls, 6 suitcases...and one list from my father.
First things first, according to my Dad, is the obvious- you check the car. And there are so many things to check, especially during the summer. Gas (duh), oil, coolant, etc. You check the tires- pressure and tread depth. I had no idea how to do this myself even though it's very simple, so I was happy to have my Dad teach me a few years ago. If you're curious on how to do it yourself, this video makes it very clear, but all it takes is having a good tire gauge and knowing what pressure your tire should be at. And another helpful tip? Check the pressure in your spare tire too. Like I mentioned in that last post, since we are working with Nitto we have their NT421Q tires on our car and I love them. Thanks to this project I've had fun learning more about "car stuff" and researching Nitto's products, and it's a good feeling to know we have great, reliable tires on the car.
Next up on the list is emergency gear. Now some of this may seem crazy, and I used to think I might be the only girl in the world with emergency triangles and flares in my trunk but I've recently discovered that I'm not! My Dad always made sure I was stocked with these items, along with jumper cables and a AAA membership too. Although I was always told not to count on it, because you could be out of cell service or the wait might be hours. So you have to plan (if you could only hear my father's voice like I do while I type this...). And to round out the rest of the list- a first aid kit, a blanket, and a big jug of water, which is a necessity when you're traveling anywhere near Phoenix in the summer.
Never thought I'd see the day I had a photo of me checking my tire pressure! HA! Do I look like I know what I'm doing? ;)
Making my Dad's list my own, I always add on the things I need to get together for the kids too. For Henry I make an entertainment basket for any car trips over 3 or so hours that will sit in the area between the boys carseats. This particular trip we were in the car for a collective 8 hours so it came in handy. His main form of entertainment comes from reading and drawing, so I usually include at least 8 books (with a few new ones from the library), a mini white board and marker or his trust Magna-Doodler, a pad of paper and some pencils, his camera, and little activity books with stickers. Henry is also a big time snacker so making sure we're stocked with his favorite- yogurt, apple slices, crackers and cheese, etc- is key. And then for Charlie the list is short- a favorite blanket, fun noisy toys to distract during a fussy moment, and some board books.
Once we have it all ready, we go. Although getting it all into the car (the diapers, the baby stuff, the stroller, the carrier, the suitcases...the PEOPLE) all seems to take a whole separate day, eventually we make our way out and hit the road. This time around we had a great time, listening to Disney music by request of Henry. Road trips might not be for everyone, but I feel like with the right planning and the right people, music, and snacks, anyone can fall in love with it.
Do you have any packing/planning must-dos or must-haves I may have left out? Feel free to chime in below with anything to add to the list, or any tips or tricks for car travel with kids.
And as always thank you so much for reading and commenting- I'll be back with the last post in this series next month.
*this post was sponsored by Nitto Tire but as always, all opinions are mine.