Roadtripping 101

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At work, we have a high school intern; he's very cool, and very 16. He's never heard of Friendster, he didn't recognize a photo of Elvis Costello, we had to send him to YouTube to know who The Marx Brothers were, and he thinks roadtrips are pointless. Wha?

And I quote: “Any time you're in the car for more than about an hour, it's a roadtrip. And it sucks.”

Bashing my beloved roadtrip? Oh, sweetie. Roadtrips are the best things ever! Pick a direction and just GO!

Need some ideas of where to go, exactly? Check out Exit the Highway,, or just google “roadtrip” and your area. I found this awesome list of places every California kid should see, so we plan to work our way down that list.

Before the concept of the roadtrip is totally gone from the thoughts of kids today (Get off my lawn!) I wanted to get down some survival tips, and ways to make your road trip the best one ever.

Safety first, kiddies! Always make sure your care is well-maintained and not in need of anything before setting out. Check oil, fluids, tire pressure… all those things your dad always told you to check. And personally, I prefer a clean car for roadtripping… if nothing else, so I can see how dirty the car can get while we're adventuring! (You should have seen it after the trip up to Yosemite when I took that ^^ picture! Gross yet awesome.)

We all have our own tastes in music, of course, but there are certain requirements that should always be adhered to for a good roadtrip. 1. Cheese factor: You must have a little Journey in the mix, or maybe Meatloaf. Cheesy is good. 2. Sing-along-ability: Related to the cheese factor, it's just fun to crank it and wail at the top of your lungs while zipping along an otherwise deserted highway. 3. Upbeat: I love a sad song as much as anyone, nut really? The tears will impede your driving ability, so keep it light! 4. Something for Everybody: Do NOT let the kids dictate the whole soundtrack! This is your roadtrip too! Max will get annoyed if I turn off the kids channel, and I'll get the old “Is this Nineties on Nine? I don't even like Nineties on Nine!” but honestly? It only lasts a minute and he can just get over it. If I want to rock out to a little Wannabe then I will! (Note: Spice Girls fulfills ALL of the above requirements!)

Comfort is key. Your favorite jeans might be comfy for running errands, but when you're sitting in the car ALL day, elastic waistbands and stretchy fabrics are preferred. Yoga pants are a win in this scenario. I also prefer shoes without socks, and that are easily slipped off and on… I like being able to change my position in the car, and sometimes I tuck a foot up under my butt, or just want to be able to relax, so barefoot is good. (But for the love of all that is holy, PUT YOUR SHOES ON AT THE GAS STATION! Seriously.)

There are many schools of thought on snacks; stop as you go, pack in advance, or don't eat in the car. (What?!?!?) Personally, I'm a combo of the first two. I always make sure we're well stocked; select something ending in -ito (Cheeto, Frito, Dorito), something sweet (I recommend something that can easily be popped into your mouth; M&Ms are always a good choice!) and something refreshing. Water, soda, coffee, whatever. We tend to pack snacks and buy drinks on the road. I'd rather pick up a fresh cold drink at the gas station instead of sipping on as room temperature something I brought from home.

This can be a challenge, depending on the occupants on the car. Jamie and I don't need entertainment; one of us is driving (usually Jamie, I'll admit) and I'm playing on my phone, just watching the scenery, reading a book (I'm glad I can read in the car without without getting sick!) With a four-year old in the car, entertainment is a whole different thing. Unless I'm interested in playing “I Spy” for hundreds of miles at a time, I need to have other things on hand to keep his brain busy! We are anti DVD player in car; Jamie and I figure that we survived our childhood trips without it, so can Max. I bring books, which he loves, and might even surprise him with a new one mid-trip. I picked up some of those old school Car Bingo games at a local shop recently… we haven't tried them yet, since he didn't get it last time, but I'm pretty sure he'll be ready for it come September! We sing along to the kids channel, we tell stories and jokes… it's really important to me that Max also grow up with the love of roadtrips that we have!

So tell me, fellow roadtrippers, what are your must-haves for a successful trip? What's the craziest roadtrip you've ever been on? Let's hear it!

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of Toyota.

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