We love road trips. I know it’s crazy – 6 kids strapped in and rolling down the road for several hours between destinations. It is one of the most fun, most memorable exciting summer memories our family has.
We don’t have a fancy television system but we have good ol’ joke telling, scavenger huntin’, audio-bookin’, scenery gazin’ good time.
In fact, on the last road trip, we had a great discussion with the kids. Even though road trips are one of our family’s favorite adventures, it doesn’t always happen without a few bumps in the road… or rather a few elbows in the faces, complaining, whining, shoving, invisible lines being crossed, ya’ know the rules that kids create themselves and find uncompromisable while traveling.
So although we have some good times, it’s not all sugar coated. However, we learned something on this last road trip. It really came to mind when everyone was excited about the next road trip and Alex and I tend to romanticize about how amazing it is going to be, forgetting about the kids complaining and whining while we are supposed to be having the time of our lives.
That was, until our eldest daughter reminded us of those bumps along the way.
Before we left, she started complaining about how she was going to have to share a bed in the hotel room with her younger sister. They all have their own beds at home, but when we travel, we snuggle up into one room, which means the girls share a bed and the boys share a bed (usually the hideaway).
I immediately reacted with, “well, we can’t go on road trips if we don’t make sacrifices like sharing a bed, or not having much space in the van…” and then it hit me…
We gathered all of the kids together for a great discussion. The discussion went something like this:
Mom and Dad: “We all love road trips, right?”
Kids: “Yes! Yeah! They are the best! So much fun! Can’t wait for the next one.”
Mom and Dad: “Well, you know that many of you start complaining about the lack of space and having to share beds and spaces.”
Mom and Dad: “Well something occurred to us that we have never pointed out…you see, we all get excited and hype up how amazing a road trip is, but we haven’t ever explained that along with new adventures and experiences, we have to set aside our ‘norm’ and our usual comforts. Road trips are fun and awesome. But they require sacrifice. If we want to have a trip, stay in a hotel and get away from home, that is what we are doing, we are getting away from home as well as the comforts of home. We can’t have and live the same lifestyle that we do at home – but that’s the part of the fun of it! Something different and something that is not our norm.”
Kids: “hmmm, that does make sense. I guess we shouldn’t expect ta trip and normal life at the same time!”
Mom and Dad: “Right!”
And you know what… that road trip was the most epic ever. Not because it was the most exciting place (in fact it was to the middle of no where) but because we had a super pleasant car ride. Then when we arrived at our hotel, we had a very uneventful and very pleasant time getting settled into bed because everyone understood that in order to travel and have these new adventures, it would not be the same comforts at home – but totally worth it! And because we specified that we make sacrifices to vacation, we can save money on hotel, food and activities.
Getting the kids in order and preparing them for the trip is not the only important and money-saving part of our road trips. The other part is the essential part – the mode of transportation!
And since we love road trips, that mode is our vehicle. We have learned that preparing our vehicle for the trip (like our kids) makes for a much more pleasant, worry-less, trip! Our van responds much better with a bit of TLC before. And it doesn’t have to be a pretty penny. Why? Because you can do-it-yourself!
We recommend doing the routine maintenance and checks on your vehicle before your summer travels and we also recommend doing this yourself with the thrifty and helpful aide of a place like AutoZone.
We became aware of AutoZone a few years ago when a nearly costly repair became a fraction of the cost when we utilized the free and affordable services at AutoZone. You’ll have to read the whole story but we were amazed that we could actually make a costly repair ourselves, saving us hundreds, because of the help from AutoZone.
Don’t believe you can fix your vehicle the next time it acts up? Well, we highly encourage you to get the Fix Finder Tool (this service is not available in California) service at AutoZone to help troubleshoot the problem and evaluate the DIY repair. You might be surprised about what you could actually do yourself. The diagnostic service is not the only free service. They also provide Loan-A-Tool Program, Oil Recycling, Battery Testing/Charging.
So, we now are in the habit of heading to our local AutoZone before a road trip to make sure our vehicle is in happy, running order. And if not, with the free tools, tutorials and diagnostics, we can easily make the repair or maintenance ourselves and save loads of money! Even oil changes cannot be simpler and more understandable than they are using AutoZone’s services.
And with prepared kids and a prepared vehicle, our road trips are some of the best times our family has had (and all done on a dime!).
We want you to have the best summer of road trips too. And so we wanted to share our tips for preparing our kids and the expectations while traveling and how we prepare our vehicle to save money before the road trip and certainly while one the road. So we hope these tips will help you have an amazing road trip this year!
This post is brought to you by AutoZone; the opinions are all mine.
Head’s up: you can also find savings on the AutoZone Facebook page.