Family travel used to be our THING! By the time Ezra was 3, he had been to 8 countries and had seen so much… (most of which he will not remember. Haha) Between Covid-19 restrictions *and having a new baby*, we haven’t been traveling AT ALL. It has been almost a year since we have been on an airplane! We are definitely getting the itch to get out!
When we moved to South Carolina one year ago, we were excited that we were in such a new place and that there was so much we hadn’t seen! Enter StateEscape! Celebrating travel… but staying close to home! We decided to head up to the mountains near Asheville… a short 2 hour drive from home. We found a road side creek to cool off in, stopped at a cider mill and apple orchard. Getting outside and enjoying nature in a new place was just what we needed to recharge and reset with the kids before school started. ☺️
86% of Americans perceive travel by car to be a safer option as opposed to airplane travel. Lump me in that category! We all know that this is a crazy time and we are all doing our part to stay safe. As we are trying to social distance ourselves, Shell understands that each stop made on a road trip needs to count! With 69% of Americans saying that a road trip could help ease today’s stresses, Shell is making it easier to get back on the road with Fuel Rewards.
Fuel Up, Save Up, Snack Up! With Fuel Rewards, you can earn points at tons of different restaurants, grocery stores, and of course, Shell gas stations… THEN with those Fuel Rewards, you save at the pump! I’m going to put a link here if you want to check out your area to see where you can earn your points! (“Here” will link to fuelrewards.com)
I know firsthand that traveling with kids can kinda feel like a three ring circus… or herding cats. ???? So I put 10 tips that may or may not save your sanity/make your road trip a magical seamless experience for all! **It is not guaranteed, but we’re all doing our best! ????**
1. Give them an itinerary –
If your kids are like mine, they love to be involved. In the past, I have printed Ezra an “itinerary”. A kids version of what we will be doing, activities he can be looking forward to, places we will stop, and things he will see. As we go along, he can follow and cross off the things we have done! This gives him a little bit of control and a feeling that he isn’t just a back-seat passenger!
2. Pack lots of healthy snacks –
You never know when you will have delays or when a meal time will be changed. This can totally throw a wrench in the day, especially if kids are hungry! I also have some pretty picky eaters. We do our best to go to places that have foods they will eat, but sometimes that is not possible. I have healthy foods and snacks on hand when traveling in the event that these cases arise.
3. Pack hand sanitizer –
Especially now, we are avoiding touching anything unnecessary! But sometimes you have to, and sometimes with kids its unavoidable. Keep some extra hand sanitizer in the car and use it often!
4. Comfort Items –
Sleeping away from home isn’t always easy for littles… and that is no fun for anyone! I can’t leave for an overnight trip without the kids’ blankets and comfort items. The more they feel at home, the easier it is at bed time.
5. Book places with a kitchen or kitchenette –
This has always been an absolute must for us. Even when traveling abroad, we have always looked at staying in rental homes rather than small hotel rooms. Especially now, and even traveling within your own state, having access to a kitchen or kitchenette means easy quick meals and being less dependent on restaurants. When traveling for longer periods especially, one trip to the grocery store is much easier and safer with kids than 3 times a day in a restaurant.
6. Don’t set high expectations –
Setting realistic expectations is key to a happy trip. I have made the mistake before of overbooking our activities for the day and nobody is happy. Being realistic in what you can see/accomplish in a day is much less stressful. I plan on doing one “larger” activity, and then filling around that. I also prioritize down time. I try to keep nap times the same or at least give some blocks of time to be doing nothing, to regroup, rest and recharge. With kids, this is especially important.
7. Practice Telephone Numbers + Contact Info –
In an event that you are separated from your kids, make sure they know or have your contact information. We have practiced with our 6 year old our telephone numbers, address and our full names. If your children are too small, keep a piece of paper with your name and address in their pocket. There are also wrist bands/temporary tattoos you can use for big outing days.
8. White Noise Machine –
Usually when traveling, our quarters are a little tighter. If I forget the white noise machine it is game over! (My kids are also used to sleeping with this at home… so having that at bed time is a must.) Unwanted noise is also expected… ice makers, people in the hallway, traffic outside, bringing a white noise machine will help with any unexpected/unwanted noise at bedtime.
9. Keep a “Grab Bag” handy –
Keep a separate bag with all your essentials nearby. I always keep a smaller separate bag up front with pajamas, an extra change of clothes, all toiletries etc. If we arrive at our destination late at night, this is especially helpful. Nobody wants to be unpacking all bags and looking for alllllll the items with cranky, tired kids in an unfamiliar place.
10. Make the most of your stops you have to make –
Making lots of stops along the way is something most of us are trying to avoid. With 80% of the US Population being within 5 miles from a Shell station, there is a good chance you’ll come across one along the way! We stopped at a Shell to stock up on snacks and fill up. Shell has a rewards program that helps lower the cost of everyday purchases. Rewards that you can use immediately!
What places in your state have you always been meaning to visit? Fun fact: I lived driving distance from the Grand Canyon most my life and have never visited. ???? If we were living there now, that would definitely be on my road trip list.
*Of course, always pay close attention to local and state recommendations or changes in requirements and comply with travel restrictions.
Big thanks to @Shell_OnTheRoad for sponsoring this post!