Ready for A Road Trip? 9 Tips to Help Your Trip Go Smoothly

BY: - 13 May '14 | Travel

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The family summer road trip is an American tradition just like apple pie and baseball.  Upcoming holidays like Memorial Day and the 4th of July are great weekends to hit the road for some family fun.  We have a few tips to make sure that you’re ready for the family’s big road trip.

On any road trip the most important item to prepare is the family car.  If you’re not going to rent a car, making sure your personal vehicle is road ready is crucial.  It’s a good idea to have the regularly scheduled service performed (even if it is slightly ahead of schedule) before your trip.  In addition to the regular servicing it’s also important to check the following yourself:

  • Double check and top off all vital engine fluids.  I remember one time my father had our station wagon (no cool SUV’s/minivans back then lol) serviced.  And just before we hit the road, he double checked things under the hood and he discovered the anti-freeze and windshield washer fluid hadn’t been topped off.  Needless to say when we returned they got an earful. (lol)
  • Inspect your tires, windshield wiper blades, radiator hoses and belts.
  • Have the family car washed or detailed.  Nothing is more comfortable (or cuter) than riding in a freshly cleaned car.
  • Gas up the day/night before.  Gassing up the car the night before eliminates another task in the morning rush, allowing you to get on the road to fun a lot sooner.

Preparation is the key to any successful trip especially a road trip. Here are a few more tips to help your family road trip flow smoothly.

  • Create a road trip budget.  This budget will be in addition to your destination spending budget.  The key elements of the road trip budget are gas, food and tolls.  You know your car’s fuel efficiency better than anyone.  Add 20% to the normal amount for a full tank.  Give the kids a road trip allowance and let them manage their own money.
  • Pack a few snacks.  To help with the food costs on the road, visit your favorite store and stock up on everyone’s favorite snacks along with a cooler full of water and beverages.
  • Consider an E-Z Pass.  If your road trip will include a lot of tolls, consider buying an E-Z Pass.  The E-Z Pass will eliminate waiting in the cash lane and the last minute rush to gather the right amount before you reach the toll booth. (lol)   Take your E-Z Pass with you when you park your car, thefts of E-Z Passes are on the rise.
  • Remember your destination and which activities the family enjoys.  Pack the necessary tools and toys for your activities.  If your family is full of beach lovers and swimmers, pack a lot of beach towels, sunscreen and sandcastle building toys/tools. (lol).
  • Pack the gadgets!  Make sure that everyone has their favorite electronic toys along with a main charger and a backup charger.

The most important thing to remember on any family road trip is to have fun and enjoy this time with your family!

BMWK family what are your favorite summer road trip destinations?  

About the author

Kirstin Fuller wrote 285 articles on this blog.

Kirstin N. Fuller aka The Travelin Diva is a DC based travel journalist bringing fellow travelers the best deals on family vacations, couples retreats, spa getaways, the best travel gadgets and more in BMWK's exclusive Travel Tuesday & Weekend Travel Guide columns. Check out her new travel blog daily for more deals & destinations www.passenger156.com.

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7 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Family Vacation

BY: - 28 May '14 | Travel

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It’s not impossible to save money and still have a good time on vacation. Trust me, I know this for a fact! I’ve compiled a list (from personal experience) of ways for you and your family to have a great time on your next little getaway, without breaking the bank. Some of these tips, I’m sure you may already know, but here are 7 ways to save money on your next family vacation.

1. Discount web sites. Nowadays, there are tons of travel discount sites that offer discounted travel packages. You can book your airfare, hotel, and car rental – or any combination of the three. You can also even bid on your own price and may actually win. Next time you start planning, give it a try!

2. Be flexible. A lot of the websites like the ones above will have last-minute deals that are complete vacation packages which include airfare, car rental, and/or hotel at deeply discounted prices as low as 70% off! The only catch is you have to be pretty flexible because most often the trip would have to take place within the same week and the destination may not be exactly what you had in mind. You can’t go wrong when there’s sun, sand and water involved, right?

3. Membership discount programs. There are several different membership discount programs, like a roadside assistance programs, that can be used for travel. Personally, I only have experience with AAA, and in my opinion, it has a wonderful “perks” program. We get to save a considerable amount of money, not only on our hotel stay, but also on our car rental too! Just make sure that when you’re booking your hotel/ car rental that you either mention it to the agent or look for that savings option online.

4. Hotel perks. Some hotels partner with nearby attractions. Depending on your hotel, you may be able to take advantage of these savings. Some of these deals are advertised on the hotels’ website, the attraction’s website or both! It also doesn’t hurt to ask your concierge upon arrival for any attraction discounts that may not have been advertised.

5. Breakfast. If your hotel doesn’t offer complimentary breakfast, then get your family ready to head out for the day and grab breakfast from a local spot. This is a win-win because you’re likely to stumble upon a really good local favorite and it’s even more likely that the cost savings will be substantial.

6. Public Transportation. Don’t shy away from taking public transportation to get around your destination. Taxis can be pretty expensive, no matter where you are. So, even though you may not be familiar with your surroundings, look at it as part of an adventure. I don’t know about your kids, but my kids love taking the subway and riding the bus!

7. Go off-season. It’s no secret that everyone wants to travel during the summer, spring break, etc. So, you may want to consider traveling to your destination when it’s not peak season. My kids feel like they’ve hit the jackpot when they arrive to the amusement park and there are no lines! This is the way to go, because it’s a lot cheaper and places are way less crowded.

These are just a few ways that save some money on our vacations and I’m always looking for new ways. The more I learn, the more I’ll share. Stay tuned!

BMWK, What tips do you have for saving money on vacation?

About the author

Sheree Adams wrote 117 articles on this blog.

Sheree is a wife and WAHM of three who passionately blogs about marriage, family, health tips and more as Smart & Sassy Mom. Sheree is committed to helping blended families and keeping marriages strong, healthy, fun and SPICY!

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