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Quick Packing Tips for Surviving a Summer Road Trip with Kids

June 8th, 2011 by bsmith | Filed under Uncategorized.

Among my friends my claim to fame is that I’m the woman who takes so many road trips with her kids, usually on her own.  When we relocated to Southern California, I committed myself to eight hour road trips to visit family and friends back in Santa Cruz.  Combined with the fact that plane tickets for a family of five are steep, we spend a lot of time on the road for our family vacations.  I’m in the midst of preparing for a road trip up to the California Gold Country and thought I would share a few packing tips  for your summer road trips:

Divide=Conquer:  Pack a Separate Suitcase for Each Stop

Since most of our stops are only for a night or two I pack a series of small roller bags with the appropriate clothes for each hotel.  Then I just transfer PJ’s and toiletries from one suitcase to another.  The swim suits and towels go in a separate beach bag.  This strategy has served me well.  It’s easier to juggle kids when I have less bags to wrangle and dirty clothes don’t get mixed up with clean clothes.

Stay Comfy Smith Family!

I have the kids bring a soft blanket and a pillow .  These come in handy when we are leaving on a chilly dark morning or arriving late at night.  I also throw in a camping air mattress, sheet,  and pump in case the kids don’t want to share a bed or the room can’t accommodate everyone.  I also make sure that everyone has flip flops to wear at pit stops since my kids like to take off their shoes when they travel, and I don’t want to waste time with socks and shoelaces for a short bathroom stop.

Well Stocked Cooler=Road Trip Success

I have a small cooler with wheels in the trunk where we keep healthy snacks for pit stops  as well as a small bag of non perishable snacks up front.  I also stock the cooler with some picnic food so we can avoid restaurants  at our destination  and have do it yourself room service.  Instead of waiting for food and paying high prices for tip and taxes, we have a picnic in our room with food from our cooler supplemented by TV dinners or food from the supermarket deli counter.

A few bottles of Starbucks Mochas  purchased from my local grocery store keep me alert for less than that fancy Starbucks drive through coffee.

Looking forward to a summer full of Smith Family Adventures!  Where are you headed?

Happy Trails,


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