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Time for a Family Road Trip! 

Time for a Family Road Trip! 
NOT JUST FOR THE BEACH

NOT JUST FOR THE BEACH

Deciding on a family road trips are often daunting challenges, not to mention an exercise in patience.  However if you prepare ahead of time, you will experience some of the most memorable experiences of your family’s life.

Here are some quick and easy tips for making your family road trip a fun and safe one.

First, prepare a checklist of items you will need.  This will include first aid kit, food, snacks, drinks, and lots of toys, coloring books, paper and crayons, a portable DVD player  so your kids can watch their favorite movies; and a cooler.

DESTINATION

DESTINATION

A good idea is to ask the kids what games they would like to take, within limits of course.

Ensure that the snacks are healthy snacks.  Too many sugar snacks can have the kids bouncing off the car seats.  Remember, this is a relaxing family vacation and you want to avoid the kids getting bored or repeatedly asking you when you are going to arrive.

Check online to print out games for the road that you and the kids can play along the way and don’t forget to bring puzzles and riddles, too.

In addition, if you have very young children you will need to take the diaper bag and wipes for the occasional spills, blankets and pillows if applicable and a favorite item or stuffed animal for the young ones is a good idea as well.

URBAN LANDSCAPE

URBAN LANDSCAPE

Second, decide on the destination and then contact AAA for a trip ticket.  Ask for the scenic route, one that is much more calming and pleasing to the eye, especially the driver!

Third, as you check out the planned route you may want to check online to find gas stations along the way that offer the cheapest gas.  Also if there are any points of interest along the route mark them on the map and plan to stop at these sites.

Fourth, while on the road make sure that you make pit stops regularly. This will allow the kids to run around and let off some steam, while allowing the adults to stretch and re-energize.  Bring along a football or soccer ball so that the entire family can have some fun while exercising at the same time.

Finally, it is very important to discuss safety concerns.  This includes having the car checked at your local mechanic or gas station.  Change the oil and filter; inflate the tires (don’t forget the spare tire, too); and replace windshield wipers (if needed).
Take these precautions and you will know that your  car is in great condition before you head out.

In addition, you may want to place the following items in your trunk: a lawn chair, extra blanket, emergency road kit, umbrellas, water, flashlight and batteries, a battery-powered radio, and windshield wiper cleaner.  In the glove compartment include a first aid kit and cell phone charger.  Keep all medications in a Ziploc bag in the glove compartment as well.

SUMMER MUST-HAVE

SUMMER MUST-HAVE

Another good idea is to take a list of telephone numbers including the hotel or motel where you are staying as well as those of family and friends you may need to contact.

If you enjoy scrapbooking, this road trip will be a perfect opportunity to add new treasures to the book.  As you make stops at some scenic sites, ask the kids to find an item they would like to include in the scrapbook.  Or if the kids point out something along the way that they find fascinating, take a picture of it to include in the scrapbook as well.

Engage the kids in the decision-making and allow them to decide what they would like to bring.  Have them pack their clothes (check the suitcases afterwards) so they feel part of the overall experience. Planning ahead of time for a family road trip will save you time, stress, and money.  And the kids will enjoy this adventure, too!

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Family Camping Fun

Family Camping Fun

While getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life is one of the reasons families choose to go camping, for kids – it’s the greatest adventure.   If you are planning a family camping trip this summer, here are some tips that will make sure your vacation is both a safe and fun experience.

FAMILY CAMPING WITH TENT AND CAMP FIRE

FAMILY CAMPING WITH TENT AND CAMP FIRE

Pre-camping preparation. If you have small children, you may want to select a tent that will accommodate all if you comfortably. On the other hand, if you are camping with older children, buy more pup tents to give them some sense of independence.

Another great tip is to practice assembling the tents in your backyard avoiding wasting time at the camp site.

CAMPER

CAMPER

  1. Selecting a campsite. Depending upon whether you decide to “rough it” or choose a campsite that is close to amenities, you can research the many campsites online that offer comprehensive information on the area. This will enable you to decide not only what equipment, clothing, and food you need to take, but the available hiking areas and points of interest as well. Ensure that the campsite you select is an official campsite area.  Moreover, when researching camping sites it’s a good idea to look for those areas that are on the high ground.  Thus, if it rains, your tent and equipment will not become water-logged.
CAMPING WITH CAMPFIRE AND TENT

CAMPING WITH CAMPFIRE AND TENT

  1. Make a checklist. This is very important so that you do not forget anything on your camping trip. Among the items on your checklist, some of the more important items you will need are:

* Cooking gear such as a frying pan, a few pots, a bucket, barbecue grill or stove, bags with a Ziploc, and cooking utensils.  In addition, food containers and canned goods are best.  It is also recommended that you prepare meals at home and package them in containers for the trip.  Also bring water, a can opener, hot water kettle and coffee pot, and a cooler with a block of ice.

* Packing proper clothing is also essential.  Depending upon the site, wearing light layers is a good idea as well as packing some sweaters and jackets for the evening hours.  Extra socks, hats, and gloves may also be warranted. If you intend to engage in some hiking, proper hiking boots are necessary.

* Sleeping bags, first aid kit, flashlights, cell phone, garbage bags, toiletries, sunscreen, ointments, a map of the area, insect repellent, games for the kids, and rain wear.

For a complete checklist on what to bring on a camping trip, there are many camping websites that offer a myriad of suggestions.

ARMY KNIFE

ARMY KNIFE

  1. When you reach the camp site, choose an area to set up the tents. Make sure there are no rocks or debris in that area.  Most campgrounds will post warning signs or instructions about specific animals and vegetation.
FIRE WITH LOGS

FIRE WITH LOGS

5.When preparing a campfire, set it up further away from the tents. After you have roasted the marshmallows, sang songs, and told ghost stories; douse the fire before going to bed.

Finally, enjoy the entire camping experience.  Sleeping under the stars, communing with nature, and relishing the time spent with family will not only bring a family closer together, but the memories of this experience will last forever.

 

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