Guest Blogger: Kayla Petering
If you have followed us for any length of time you know we like to road trip! Having just finished up a Southwest road trip and getting ready for a Northwest trip in September I thought it might be time to share some of our road trip secrets and the general things we tend to do to make sure a trip is successful. Almost every single time we head out I get a million direct messages asking where we are staying, how we found good coffee, and how we manage to road trip and have fun with two small children. SO whether you are planning a road trip this summer or not if you have ever thought about packing your little ones up in the car and heading out this is the post for you! I should mention this post is sponsored by Firestone Complete Auto Care AND all thoughts are my own.
1. Book Hotels Ahead of Time. This is something we use to be really bad about…we would just hop in the car and drive until we were tired and then book whatever was available but honestly that led to some pretty sketchy hotels and spending more money than we needed to on not so nice accommodations. Now I will look ahead and plan out months in advance where we are staying which not only is super fun for planning but helps me set the budget for the trip as we then have that big cost of lodging paid for well in advance of our actual travels. This also helps keep us on track when we are driving as knowing we have to be at a certain place on a certain day keeps us from getting side tracked and spending unnecessary time in places we don’t necessarily want to be. If there is somewhere I think we may want to wander more I will book more than one night so I know that we can go back and explore areas we might not have had time for on a driving day.
2. Pack Layers! This is probably something you won’t even think about until you are in the car freezing while it is 100 degrees outside and you only packed sundresses because you were going somewhere warm. Between air conditioning and just the fact that you are driving potentially a long distance the weather is going to change and packing layers will save you. I cannot tell you how many times my husband and I have argued about the temperature in the car because one of us was hot while the other was cold and having an extra jacket or layer to remove saved us from a miserable car ride and a lot of grumbling. Also for little ones packing layers will be helpful if there is a diaper blow out or a spill or any other potential incident that could lead to the need for a change of clothes or an added layer.
3. Ask Around for the Best Spots. Some of our best experiences have been because of local recommendations or from social media! Before every trip I will start asking people if they have been where we are going and if they have any favorite spots. This has led to really good hiking trails, coffee shops, and most recently really amazing tacos. Yes you should definitely check the tourist guides and do that stuff too BUT sometimes the best experiences are only found through asking a local or taking a road you otherwise may have looked over!
4. Create a Road Trip Playlist! I do this on every trip you can find mine HERE and HERE. Nothing is more annoying than being out in the middle of nowhere and having to choose between static and static. I always create a playlist and love having that tied to the memory of the trip. I will listen to these playlists again and again and be instantly taken back to driving through Monument Valley or Arches National Park… Music and memories are so bonded for me there is really nothing better and if you have never created a playlist just for your trip do it! You are missing out!
5. Get Your Car Looked Over at Firestone Complete Auto Care. This is last because I want it to stick in your memory. When Ben and I went on our first ever road trip he took the car in for a check and to get a few things fixed and was told basically we were driving around in such a dangerous state the brakes could have failed at anytime. Now we take the car in before every single trip and have it looked over, fluids topped off, brakes checked…. And not once have we had an issue on a trip. NOT to say that will prevent all problems but I know for me traveling with kids and in unfamiliar places knowing I have done everything I can to make sure the car is ready takes such a weight off my chest. Firestone Complete Auto Care’s 4,000+ hardworking and trustworthy ASE-certified technicians keep your car running newer, longer since 1926. If you want to check them out for yourself (or are preparing for an up coming road trip) you can find a coupon for Firestone Complete Auto Care HERE.
Okay, those are my five tips! I would love to hear your road trip suggestions? What do you do to ensure your trip is safe and smooth? AND most importantly what are some of your favorite roads trip stops or local spots? Finding new places and especially good coffee shops is my absolute favorite part of traveling so seriously leave some in the comments below I have some new trips to plan!