Happy Friday! We're back this week with a little something different than the norm! Spring is just around the corner, and I thought it may be helpful to share some tips on preparing for a road trip! There's nothing quite like driving on the open road with blue skies and blossoming trees in sight! Bonus points for being able to drive with the windows down and sunroof open!
Whether we're planning a road trip to Chicago or Cincinnati, there are several things that I keep in mind.
1. Packing. Let it be known that I'm somewhat over an Over-Packer. Not quite "everything but the kitchen sink," but almost! I like to be prepared! Especially with two kiddos in tow! I know that not all of these items may need to be on your list, but just in case, I typically pack the following items: Sunglasses, snacks (fresh fruit, Kind Bars, pretzels, bottled water, etc.), favorite toys (stuffed animals, blankies, books) for the little ones, clothes (varies depending on length of our stay and the forecast for the duration), shoes (again, consider the weather and your desired activities), other necessities for kids (diapers, strollers, sippy cups, etc.). Music is a big one! I have several stations on Pandora that my family enjoys. For example, when we need the boys to settle down and get some rest, my go-to station is Bob Marley! The laid-back vibes helps everyone to relax. When the driver needs a pick-me-up, we lean toward Basement Jazz, Old School Hip-Hop, or whatever the driver is in the mood to hear. Next item to pack is cash and coins if you'll be driving on tollways. On our last trip to Chicago, we used Reggie's I-Pass to pay the tolls as we drove, and it was great!
See what I mean about packing!?
Ok, on to the next thing!
2. Of course the car we'll be driving is of some importance! Reggie always keeps my 2013 BMW X5 prepared for adventure by having it inspected at least twice a year at the shop by one of Reggie's Motorworks' technicians. They make sure that my tires have enough air and plenty of tread. Oil and fluid levels are checked, you get the idea. Knowing that my vehicle is well inspected and prepared not only for every day driving, but also for road trips, helps me focus on the adventure ahead!
3. Enter destinations in Google Maps or your preferred routing app. Having your hotel address, conference center address, or attraction address stored in your mapping software can alleviate stress. For example, I don't know my way around Chicago very well. Trying to look up an address while en route can be tricky. Bonus: When using Google Maps, you can use their search along feature to find a great place to stop for a quick bite that won't take you on a massive detour. A favorite stop when traveling to Chicago is Portillo's in Merrillville, Indiana! It's a great place to take a break right off the highway and before or after getting into Windy City traffic.
4. Check the weather for your destination. See Tip #1!
5. Take photos! I heard someone say the best camera is the one you have with you! Snap photos on your mobile phone or your DSLR and share them with friends and family on your favorite social media channel!
The following photos were taken by me (Stephanie) on a family road trip to Chicago where we spent an afternoon at the Lincoln Park Zoo. We saw a variety of animals during our visit, including Remington's favorite one - frogs!
It may look like we're in a tropical place with the palm branches...but we're in the heart of Chicago!
One of Emerson's favorite animals is the hippo! He was pretty excited to see this guy at the zoo!
Both of our boys love giraffes! Seeing the giraffe at feeding time was so cool!
In the coming weeks, we plan to visit Chicago (again! There's so much to do and see!), Cincinnati, or Brown County right here in Indiana. Do you have road trips planned for Spring? We'd love to hear about it! Leave us a comment and tell us about your plans for adventure!