Meet Dana Holmes
Lifestyle expert, Dana Holmes, is the founder of MetroMomClub, a digital platform designed to help urban moms live stylishly while raising thoughtful, brilliant and badass kids. Dana is a pro at providing smart tips to help families raise kids that we’re proud of and live more satisfying and pleasant lives. With Spring Break coming up, and Dana being partial to road trips, I wanted to pick her brain about her tried and tested road trip tips!
I ask lifestyle expert Dana Holmes for her best tips for taking road trips with young kids.
Why road trips?
I have loved taking road trips ever since my family relocated to Florida from New Jersey when I was five years old. Motel pools, Motown tunes, and the magic of seeing new and unexpected things all still give me a feeling of adventure like little else. Now that I have two small kids of my own (1.5-years and 5-years), I love loading everyone in the car and hitting the road whenever we have a few days, or more, to travel.
What should families expect when taking a road trip with young kids?
Our road trips require frequent stopping because our little ones need to get out and stretch. And, the trips inevitably end up taking longer than the navigation estimates. But we have fun watching the scenery change, hearing the peaceful quiet of both kids napping at the same time, and simply being together on an adventure.
What are your go-to, time-tested tips for successful road tripping?
We’ve honed our skills at making the most of our journeys without over-spending and here’s how we do it:
1. Go to the grocery store before leaving and get small meals and snacks for the road.
Roadside snacks are expensive and aren’t necessarily what you’d pick if you weren’t stuck there.
2. Bring refillable water bottles and a couple of gallon jugs of water.
Gallon jugs are much cheaper than individual bottles of water and most families already have reusable water bottles these days, so there isn’t any extra cost there.
3. Look for a grocery store or deli off the road and in-town to get better local prices and fresher food.
Another reason why the snack cooler is key is to buy you time to find the right place to stop for your next meal.
4. When you’re ready for a sit-down meal, go for the local option.
Locally-owned restaurants can be a fun meal stop and a better value, too.
5. Don’t pre-book hotel rooms for one-night stays.
We’ve found that we get the best prices for one-night stays by just looking on our phones for a hotel when we start to get tired of driving for the day. This also cuts back on the stress of making it to, or having to stop at, a certain place.
6. Pre-book multi-night stays far in advance.
Whether it’s a campsite, a 5-star hotel, or your cousin’s house, you’ll probably be happier booking multiple nights in advance.
7. Limit what you have to buy on the road.
Bring everything that you can from home to limit what else you might buy on impulse.
8. Make sure your tires have the right amount of air.
Seriously. This will save you gas and that adds up on long-distance trips.
9. Set a budget for the road.
Funny little magnets, roadside jam stands, and local BBQ are all worthy of a spend, but only if you can make it work with the budget. Save spending for the way back if you’re spending too much on the way out.
10. Keep clutter-making souvenir shopping to a minimum.
Only buy souvenirs that you can use, like a beach towel, Christmas tree ornament, etc.
11. If the kids get restless, pull over and let everyone run around outside for a few minutes.
We never use tablets, apps, videos, or headphones in the car to help the trip go better. The kids color, snack, observe, listen, talk, ask questions, nap, and when all else fails…we get out of the car and reset. This saves you money by not needing extra stuff to entertain anyone and gives you a taste of some fresh air while you’re at it.
12. Keep driving!
If you can wait to make a stop, then wait as long as you can! Not stopping is a great way to save money if your crew can handle it. There are also lots of affordable family-friendly question-based card games that will keep kids occupied and entertained well past the honeymoon phase of the trip
13. Just say “no.”
Set your initial reaction to purchase requests from the kids to “no”. To prepare the, for the “no”s, tell them right off the bat that this trip is not about buying “stuff.”
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