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Most single parent families have road trip travel tips and tricks when it comes to vacation travel and our needs are a little bit different than those families who have both parents taking on duties for a road trip. If you are a single parent about to embark on a road trip with your kids, the most important thing to remember is not to take on too much. You can easily stress yourself out and the vacation becomes more of a hassle than a heartfelt memory with your kids. I have been a single parent for a very long time and have traveled a lot with my children and I learn something each time I do it. With countless road trips throughout Texas and the United States, I can say that I have a lot of experience in knowing how best to handle a road trip as the solo parent. This year I took a road trip from Dallas, Texas to Charlotte, North Carolina. Whether you take the I-30 Route out of Dallas through Texarkana spending 16 hours and 1071 miles or the I-20 Route with 15 hours of drive time you are bound to have to stop, rest, refuel and take in the sites.
For this particular trip my mother came along and most single parent families can empathize with the idea of multi-generational travel. Having Grandma along is a big help but she is also elderly and requires the assistance of an oxygen concentrator so our road trip REQUIRED many stops. I didn’t mind at all and beingwith different conditions and circumstances is exactly the kind of assistance I’m going to provide in this post.
Pre-planning is an important part of this process. Map out your route, check for road and weather conditions and choose to stay in towns on the outskirts of the big cities because if you plan on staying at a hotel, the room rates are cheaper and you are still close to bigger cities. On our first night we stayed at a Residence Inn in Jackson, TN that was smack dab between Memphis and Nashville. There were rooms available, less traffic, and still close to restaurants, grocery stores and more. Residence Inns only have suites with in room kitchens but we requested a room with handicap access and my mother enjoyed that a lot due to the large bathroom space. This also meant that we could easily bring in our cooler into the room and snack items cool and food into the refrigerator as well as use a stove or microwave. It was enjoyable to also eat on a table in the room. I also leave every day at 5 AM while the kids are still asleep so I can get a 3 hour head start of quiet drive time and sipping my Gevalia Coffee drink. By the time the kids get up it’s time for breakfast and to change their clothes.
Packing Snacks for On the Road
Many of the snacks we were able to get atwas a lifesaver with two kids under 5 and Grandma. Grandma loves her chocolate and having items in easy to open and close packaging made road trip travel snack packing very easy. We had a Lincoln Navigator for the ride and while the kids sat in the back, Grandma was up front. I purchased a large plastic easy access container to place between the two kids. In this container the kids had access to not just their snacks but also their game tablets, napkins, baby wipes, plastic utensils, paper products, cups and juice boxes. We also had a large pink cooler in the back/liftgate area to store more items.
Keeping the car clean along with packing/unpacking tips
My biggest pet peeve with road trips is just how messy the car can get. I noticed previous old cookies and orange slices from a previous trip (Mommy Clean Fail Here!) of which I only discovered after my son spilled milk all over the interior. I’m sure everyone can feel me when you have another 19 hours to go and you DON’T want to have the smell of old milk in the car. So I have a system for road trip trash that you are bound to collect when you are snacking on a road trip. This requires everyone to be accountable and responsible for their own trash bags. Each person has their own insulated lunch bag for their own snacks along with an empty plastic grocery shopping, an empty Gallon size plastic zipper type bag, along with wipes and hand sanitizer. When someone has trash they put it in their own plastic trash bag. If they ate an item that might be wet or have juice/soda/liquid in it, then that trash container goes in the zipper bag with a closed top. Baby Wipes are great to clean hands and seats. Hand sanitizer just makes sense. We made it a point to stop at all state rest stop stops regardless if we had to use the bathroom or not. Typically it was because they all had trash and recycle bins there along with running water. We also stopped at many places that are “family friendly” like fast food chains, convenience store chains and/or large known retailer we are familiar with. I find making people responsible for their own trash empowered the kids and also made it easier on me.
Heading to North Carolina and Back
This was no easy task and I’m glad that we took a multitude of snacks with us like: Oreo Thins, Whole Grain Fig Newtons, Popped Rice Crisps, Dove Chocolate covered dried fruit, Twix Bites and Gevalia Iced Coffee. Being able to purchase them at a localalong with finding other stores on our road trip like Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Randalls, Market Street and more makes it easy to ensure you are getting the snacks you need on the road. Staying hydrated was also an important part of the trip since that cruise through the south during the summer was very hot. When we stopped at Vicksburg National Park in Mississippi and explored many of the Civil War places it was definitely too hot to be outside of the car. The trip was memorable and even though I drove the entire time I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I thought it was an experience of a lifetime for Grandma and something the kids will never forget. The only thing that would make it better would be to enter a sweepstakes and win a new car such as the one in . For many of my single mom readers this would be a big help.
This was one of the most memorable road trips by far and I would like to hear about your most. Where did you go and what are your tips for surviving a road trip?
Disclaimer: The above post is a sponsored post and may contain affiliate links. All opinions presented are 100% my own. For more information, please visit my disclosure page. If you want help planning your next vacation, Dallas Single Mom is also a travel agent. Contact her for ideas!