Going on a road trip can be a fun, family experience. However, things can quickly spiral into chaos if you’re not careful. Taking some time to get prepared can ultimately be what makes or breaks your vacation. So, here are a few life hacks to help you save time and money when you go on a road trip.
Make A Map For The Kids
Children can be incredibly impatient when traveling. There’s a reason everyone knows the phrase “are we there yet?” Well, this can be a cute, little way to keep your children appraised of how far you are from your destination. All you need is some tape and a few strips of paper to make an adjustable chart to show how close you are to the goal.
Let The Sun Charge Your Phone
Did you know about solar-powered battery packs? When you’re going on a long trip, it’s pretty easy to put them on your window to soak up sunlight. Then you have a battery pack to charge your phone the entire trip if you don’t have an available outlet.
Get A Five-Port Car Charger
Alternatively, instead of getting solar-powered battery, you can just go the old-reliable route and get a five-port phone charger. More ports for each of your family members os that everyone can charge their phone.
Use Your Sun Visor To Watch Your iPad On
Mostly for those sitting in the front seat. Most of the time the fun activities you can do on a roadtrip are in the backseat, especially when it comes to video players. But if you’re in the front seat and you have an iPad, you can try this to give yourself some fun videos to watch.
Have you ever been driving and realize you need gas, but you don’t know where a gas station is? Well, that’s what GasBuddy is for. It lets you know where the cheapest gas you can get is in the area you’re traveling through. You can save money and not worry about distance where a station might be as you’re driving along.
Speaking of helpful apps, there’s also SitOrSquat. It was made by Charmin in order to find public restrooms or rest-stops for “emergencies”. If one of your kids, or even yourself, feel the need to relieve yourself, just open up this app.
Some gas station toilets can be disastrous, and that’s if they even have ones open to the public at all. Depending on what route you’re taking, it can be difficult to find a public restroom in a pinch. However, that doesn’t mean all is lost.
Toilet paper brand Charmin actually set up an entire app for this very reason. It’s free to download on Google Play or iTunes, and has a database of over 100,000 restrooms. It can point you in the direction of the nearest one.
Make Your Lockscreen Your Destination
Now, losing your phone can be a big worry when it comes to long-distance travel. But if you ever lose it, you can make things at least a little bit easier on yourself if you lose it. Change your phone’s lockscreen to your name and the address of your destination. That way, a responsible person can send it to you.
Using Cookie Trays As Makeshift Desks
Kids love to color and do other activities, but inside a moving car that can be a little difficult. Fortunately, you might have something that would work perfectly as a makeshift table. Cookie trays are the perfect size for a backseat workstation. They even have lip to make sure pens and pencils don’t fall off after you set them down.
Get A Small Car Table
If you have a little bit more money to burn though, then instead of making a makeshift table you can get a small car table. They’re not that expensive, but it’ll give you a small workplace to use instead of your lap.
Use Press n’ Seal To Avoid Unfortunate Spills
If you don’t have a to-go or travel cup, this can be an alternative if you still want to bring some other beverages along the road. It doesn’t have to be Press n’ Seal, but any sticky material that you can put over a cup. Just poke a straw through the top (or put the Press n’ Seal around the straw) and you’ve got a self-made to-go cup.
Invest In A Portable Fridge
Even with great air-conditioning in your car, drinks can still get warm and foods mushy. But, you can avoid all of this by purchasing a portable fridge. They plug into your car and keep everything nice and cool like back at home.
Put Foam Noodles In The Cracks Next To Seats
How often have you dropped something small between the cracks in your car and then spent forever trying to dig it out? And you can’t exactly stop on a long road trip to try to pull it out. Well, if you put foam noodles between the cracks, you won’t have to worry about that. They’ll just stop everything before they get too far down.
Pick Hotels With Complementary Breakfast
Depending on how long your trip is, you’ll probably stay at a couple different hotels. It’ll make sense to research potential places to stay. And to save money, make sure they have a complementary breakfast. That’ll be a whole meal you don’t have to pay for every day of your stay.
Use A Shower Caddy To Hold To-Go Meals
Even when you order something to to-go from a fast food restaurant, normally it’s just expected you’ll eat it when you get home. But on a long road trip, that probably won’t be happening. Using a shower caddie actually acts as the perfect way to hold your food, instead of just taking everything out of a bag and risking spillage.
Use Cupcake Liners To Keep Your Cup Holders Clean
On a trip of any length, your car’s cup holders can quickly become filled with dirt and grime. Or otherwise just dirty from holding your drinks. But this is a really easy way to keep things clean. A cupcake liner is the perfect size to fit in a cup holder, and it’ll take all of the grime instead of the holder itself. That way, when this gets too dirty, you can just throw out the cupcake liner and replace it with a new one instead of cleaning out the entire cup holder.
Use A Crib Sheet As A Seat Cover
On the subject of food, backseats can get pretty messy, especially on longer trips. But why buy a new car seat cover when you probably have some crib sheets stored away you can use. Just put it over the backseat and spray it with some Scotchguard.
Bring A Pool Raft For Sleeping Comfort
Additionally, you could also use a pool raft as a cover for your backseat. If you don’t want to stop at a hotel, but need some rest, this can make your backseat comfortable enough to take a nice nap in.
Make Your Own Seatbelt Pillow
Sometimes you don’t need to make a full stop and sleeping in your car or a hotel isn’t necessary. But if you’re a passenger, you still may want to take a nap at some point. This one’s more for people that are good as sewing, but you can make a seatbelt cover for padding. You can then rest your head on it like a pillow.
Keep Change In A Gum Cup
There’s a good chance on a longer road trip that you’ll be stopping at a toll booth. And how often do you really have coins handy for one? Well, putting some quarters in an empty gum cup will make that change a lot more easily accessible. Just make sure you do it before you hit the road.
Hide Quarters In A Mini-M&M’s Tube
Vending machines are a commonly used appliance when stopping at a rest shop. In the digital age, most people don’t bring cash or change out of their house, but this can be an easy way to carry and dispense some coins. The tube for mini M&M’s is actually the perfect size for quarters. Not to mention, people won’t know that you’re carrying money around with you at a first glance.
Make A Car Sickness Kit
Car sickness isn’t enjoyable, but it’s an expected part of any road trip. Children are more prone it it, so it’s up to the parents to be prepared. You can get together a car sickness kit, putting medication in a small bag, as well as anything to clean up an “unhappy accident”.
Hang Bags With Carabiners
Putting all of your luggage in the backseat can sometimes lead to disaster, especially when you put open bags with all your other things. Instead of trying to wedge handbags in the trunk, use carabiners to hang them on the neck wrests in the front seat. They shouldn’t take up any more room in the backseat and you won’t have to worry about them falling over.
Use A Shoe Organizer For Baby Toys
Perhaps, you don’t have too many bags and you don’t need the carabiners. What you do need is plenty of toys to entertain your children. Well, a shoe organizer works perfectly for that. Not only can you put plenty of toys in each shoe holster, but a bottles for water and other drinks.
Get Plenty Of Audiobooks
Maybe you want to get caught up on reading during a long roadtrip, but you’ll be the one driving. Or maybe even you get carsick while reading. Well, that’s one of the many things that audiobooks are for. Just download one for each of the books you want to read and you’ll be serenaded by the sound of literature.
Learn How To Change A Tire
It may surprise some that not everyone knows how to do this. But not only should you bring a spare tire on long roadtrips for emergencies, you should also make sure that you know how to change them yourself. You’ll need a few tools, but it’s better to be able to do it yourself then needing to wait a long time for a tow service.