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Road trip tips from a beginner

Road Trip Tips from a Beginner

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I am not a big fan of long drives in the car. After an hour, I’m tired of being there. At two hours, I start fidgeting. At three hours, I am all-out impatient. And when you get to four or more hours, I start to brood.

My boys and I had a trip planned to visit friends in New Mexico to kick off our summer vacation, but it was a surprise to everyone who knows me when I announced we would be taking a road trip after our visit. And most surprising for me…the boys and I all loved it! Here are some road trip tips that made our first-ever adventure a huge success:

I Remembered My Limits

When I first started making this road trip plan, I had grand dreams of driving north in New Mexico, then hopping over to see the Grand Canyon and stay a few days at Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa, travel through the Four Corners area, into Colorado, and make my way back to Texas via Kansas and Oklahoma.

Knowing that I don’t love long car rides, I calculated that this would take approximately 46 days. Oops. Distance and sites had to be cut so that we would enjoy the trip. So, we decided on a short drive through southern New Mexico before heading into west Texas and slowly meandering home to Central Texas. That turned out to be a really, really good decision for the success of our vacation!

Packing Cubes Are Still My Friend

Ever since Hilton Mom Tricia suggested using packing cubes, I’ve come to appreciate how organized they keep my family when we travel. I never imagined how important they would be on a road trip, though!

Checking in to a new hotel every night made organization of the things we needed paramount. I could easily find each person’s clothes in their packing cube, take my toiletries packing cube in the bathroom, and choose to bring in the cube with swim gear or not, without having to rummage through suitcases or lug more inside than we needed.

Dirty Laundry Goes in the Hamper

I kept one bag in the back of my car for dirty laundry. Each morning, as I put the luggage back in the car, I would take our dirty laundry from the prior night and throw it in the hamper. This kept me from hauling things I didn’t need in and out of the hotels, and kept our dirty things separate from our clean clothes.

Less Planning Worked for Us

Having detailed plans or none at all may be a personal preference, but we had exactly two things that were must-do’s on our list during this four-day trip. I had some other ideas about what to do along the way, but we only fit in what our moods and interests dictated along the way.

The morning we left, one of our friends in New Mexico suggested a stop I hadn’t considered that ended up being one of my younger son’s favorites. We ventured into state parks we didn’t know about when a sign popped up on the interstate. We skipped several attractions in the last city on our trip because we were tired and a swim at the hotel sounded more appealing than more touring. Flexibility definitely played a part in making this a fun vacation.

Tell us your favorite road trip tips that work for your family, even if you’re a beginner!

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Robyn fell in love with travel before kids and has found it even more wonderful since her kids have joined the family. She is married to an amazing…

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