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Summertime is the best because it usually means family vacation. My hubby wanted to take a few full-on road trips this summer that would have taken about a week and a half and cost a small fortune. Luckily, I was able to convince him to take a few day trips instead.
There are several reasons why I love day tripping over a full blown road trip. First of all, a day trip is much less expensive. If you plan it out right, you can picnic instead of eating at a restaurant, and you don't have to pay for a hotel. Which leads me to my second reason - you get to sleep in your own comfortable bed at the end of the day. The third reason is that you can plan around your work schedule and not even need to take any time off. Finally, it's amazing the amount of memories you can make with your family in just one day.
One of my favorite memories from before I got married and had kids of my own, was taking a random day trip with my parents and younger brother. I can't even remember how it came about. We actually hadn't done any planning - we just jumped in the car and took off. We went to an amazing historical park, drove up into the mountains and saw all kinds of wild life, visited a sun observatory, ate some delicious pastry from a super cute mom and pop shop, and went sledding at the famous White Sands national park. At the time, it was exactly what my family needed. We spent a lot of time talking about what was going on in our lives and just cracking up. That was almost 10 years ago, and the entire reason why I want to make sure that my kids get experiences like that early on.
So, we've already taken a couple of day trips this summer and I think we have probably one left in us before the summer is over.
I am all for letting the kids watch movies or play games on a tablet for a long road trip, but the day trip is all about connecting with each other. Here are a few fun ways to keep your family engaged:
- Play games such as "I Spy" and "Road Trip Bingo"
- Count the number of train cars when a train passes by
- Have your family use their imagination and talk about the shapes they see in the clouds
- Take turns telling jokes
- Have a meaningful conversation
So, how do you plan for a day trip? The beauty is, you don't have to. It's kind of fun to see where the road takes you. But, if you are a planner, just take a look at the map and see what would be interesting to your family in about a 2 hour radius. Does your family like to picnic? Pack some sandwiches and snacks. Is there a beach or fun water park near by? Pack some towels and sunscreen. Do you have a baby? Don't forget to pack extra diapers and wipes.
After many a road trip, I've learned it's always a good idea to keep water, hand sanitizer, and a 20 dollar bill in your car. But there is at least one thing you absolutely should do. Get your vehicle serviced. Nothing ruins a fun road trip like a break down on the side of the road.
My hubby is a little obsessive about getting our vehicles regularly serviced. He doesn't wait until the full 3,000 miles before getting the oil changed and certainly not 3 months either. He is a full time traveling musician, so he's on the road a lot. In fact, one of our cars is about to hit 225,000 miles. But, like I said, he takes really good care of it, so the car still runs great.
We like to get our oil changed at the Walmart Automotive Care Center with Pennzoil®. For our high mileage car we get the Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® oil. It’s a motor oil specifically designed for new or late model vehicles with over 75,000 miles, with the mission of keeping engines running clean and going strong. But for our newer truck we use Pennzoil Platinum®: Full Synthetic Motor Oil with PurePlus™ Technology.
I love the convenience of getting our oil changed at the Walmart Automotive Care Center, because I can shop for the upcoming day trip while I wait. Plus it's a great value. In fact, right now Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® motor oil is on Rollback - $4 off (39.88 to 35.88).
The moral of this story? It really doesn't matter where you go or what you do as long as you and your family are making some lasting memories.