Next month Wendy and I are headed to Arizona with our families for Spring Training. It will be the first Spring Training experience for both of us and we’re really looking forward to the trip as a kick off to Spring and baseball season. (We’re just going to pretend like last season didn’t happen for our Angels.)
Wendy and her family are flying to Arizona, and – because of his work schedule – so is my husband. Which means that the kids and I are road-tripping it solo. Fortunately, this isn’t our first road trip, and my kids have proven themselves to be pretty good little travelers. In fact, this will be the shortest road trip we’ve taken, other than day trips to San Diego and LA, so I’m feeling pretty confident about the success of this trip.
Nevertheless, I’ll go into this trip fully prepared with all of the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.
This seems exceedingly obvious, but if you’re going to be spending hours in the car, you want to be comfortable. Wear clothes that are comfortable. My first inclination is to wear flip flops when we’re headed somewhere warm, but if you’ll be driving, wear something that is more likely to stay put. I let my kids bring a pillow and a lovey. If it’s cold they can also bring a blanket, but I don’t let them bring a million things. I like to be prepared, but not drowning in stuff.
There’s No Such Thing as Too Many Snacks
While we’ve never had any major issues on a road trip, I’m always mildly afraid that we’ll end up stuck in the middle of nowhere for hours and therefore I’ll be so proud of my selection of snacks to keep us alive. In reality, packing your own snacks solves a variety of much smaller problems. Small snacks throughout the trip keep everyone happy and packing your own allows you to avoid spending a fortune on junk at the gas station. Avoid items that are sticky or melty and try to pack a few treats in addition to things like fruit and granola bars. A few surprise lollipops have staved off stuck in traffic meltdowns more than once. This is my one exception to the no-sticky-items rule.
It’s truth time. On road trips, I adopt a little bit of a schedule. I don’t allow my kids to snack during screen time because snacks are an activity in and of themselves. Also, I pre-portion out snacks because my kids have no sense of self-control when presented with a full bag of…anything.
Screens are Your Friend
Let’s be honest, our parents survived road trips in a world before devices, but now that we don’t have to, why would we? We load our devices with apps, movies, audiobooks and music. Hit up your library to see if they offer audiobook downloads before you go. Also, several streaming services allow you to download shows and movies to your device so you don’t need wifi when you’re on the road.
With screens, as with all things, moderation is key. My kids will be cranky disasters if I just throw a tablet in the back seat for six hours, so we have a one hour on, one hour off rule. (I’ll relax this rule if they’re watching a movie, but otherwise they know they drill.) During the off-hours they’re allowed to listen to audiobooks or music, or do any of the other non-electronic activities we’ve brought along.
Since it’s tax season and some of us are anxiously awaiting our tax returns, it’s also a great time to find a deal on a new device. Make sure to check out the Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy S7 if you’re in need of a new phone to keep you on your road trip route. To keep the kids busy, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is just the thing! Everyone loves a deal, and Walmart has you covered in that department!
The Galaxy S7 is a great option for travel. Add a microSD™card and expand your phone’s memory up to an additional 256 GB. Take photos to your heart’s content! Also, it’s water resistant in up to 5 feet of water so take photos poolside without worrying about frying your phone.
We think the Tab is a great choice for a tablet. Download everything you need with room to spare by adding up to 128 GB of storage via a microSD™ card. As a bonus you can snag the tablet once the kids are in bed and watch your favorite shows without waking anyone up. Anyone who has ever shared a hotel room with their children knows exactly what I’m talking about!
Yep, I just spent all that time singing the praises of the tablet, but I also like to bring plenty of activities that don’t need to be charged. The advantage is that these activities also work during down time on our trip, so I’m always glad I have them, even if my kids choose to spend their screen-free time doing nothing but counting down until the minute their screens can go back on.
My kids are finally at an age where they’re both old enough to play games together, so we’ll pack playing cards, small magnetic board games, coloring books and sticker books. I don’t pack anything with small pieces that can get lost.
Plan your route ahead of time. Have an idea of when you might want or need to stop for meals and bathroom breaks. If you have multiple addresses, save them in your favorite travel app in your phone, so you’re not searching for them while you’re on the road. Of course you’ll want to make sure you’ve made all of the necessary arrangements ahead of time. Fortunately, you can easily make hotel reservations from your phone while you’re en route if necessary.
Pack the Essentials
Sure, you’re going to want to have all of the fun stuff on hand, but don’t forget about all of the other little items you might need just in case. I highly recommend trash bags, hand wipes and a small first aid kit.
We hope these tips help get you on your way to making incredible family memories on your upcoming road trip. If you’re looking for a fun way to spend your tax return, consider picking up a new device before your trip. Before you go, check out some fantastic deals on phones, and tablets from Samsung at Walmart! You’ll even find some excellent deals on TVs from Samsung at Walmart. New tech items for the entire family!