Originally published on Manilla Blog.
Are your kids’ feet itching to hit the road now that school is out? Here are some budget-friendly ideas to keep in mind when packing for your next summer road trip!
1. First Aid Kit
Rather than purchasing an expensive ready-made first aid kit at your local drugstore, consider putting together your own. You can save money by tailoring your own kit to your specific destination or trip activities. It’s always a good idea to make sure your kit contains all the basic necessities (e.g., Band-Aids or bandages and antibiotic ointments). Include any other medications or prescription medicines that you or your kids might need — and make sure to check expiration dates!
What to consider: gauze, adhesive bandages, adhesive cloth tape, scissors, and a thermometer
2. Travel Pillows & Blankets
Keep old pillows and blankets in the car for the long drives, when stretches of farmlands or empty fields can encourage an onset of napping. The kids can bring their own favorite pillows and “blankies” if they’re not too bulky and won’t overcrowd the car’s interior.
What to consider: old throws, quilts, large cardigans or wraps
3. Water & Snacks
It’s always important to keep water on hand. Instead of buying a large pack of plastic water bottles, opt for refillable water bottles and fill up at rest stops. Take healthy, non-perishable snacks from home (e.g., snack bars, crackers, and mixed nuts), and cut down on the fast food stops. Instead of purchasing lunch boxes or using brown paper bags, you can reuse old baby wipes containers as individual snack boxes for the kids—just fill them up with yummy treats and label each box with your kids’ names!
What to consider: snack bars, crackers, mixed nuts and seeds
4. Car Games & Activities
Aside from the standard car games like the License Plate Game, you can keep the kids entertained with a simple yet educational scavenger hunt. Before leaving for your trip, create a list of possible items that your kids will see on the drive—list items that will get them thinking about the destinations and the histories behind the places you plan to visit. If you’re bringing any other kinds of travel games or activities, keep some breakfast trays or clipboards on hand to make playtime in the car easier for the kids.
What to consider: cards, books, crosswords and word searches
5. Mesh Laundry Bags
Store all games and activities your kids want to take in mesh laundry bags, and tie the bags to the backs of the front seats in your car for easy reach. This way your kids will have access to their play items while on the go. Don’t overstuff the laundry bags, and make sure the kids have enough leg room!
What to consider: reusable canvas/grocery bags and small laundry baskets (for between seats)
A. Noelle is the managing editor and staff writer for Savvy Auntie, the first community for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids. She is a contributor to the Chelsea Foundation‘s online magazine, Chelsea’s Beacon, and is the founder and manager of Chelsea’s Blog, a site dedicated to helping parents, guardians, and educators discover more effective methods for building lasting and meaningful relationships with children. Connect with her on Twitter @AudreyNoelani.