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This has been an epic summer full of travel so far for my family and it hasn’t ended yet. We still have many more miles to travel and places to see. Having just arrived home yesterday from being on the road three out of the last four weeks and getting ready to head off once again in two more days, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of our travel essentials.
Taking six people on the road, with one being an infant and one being a toddler, can be interesting for sure. Being prepared can either make the trip a success or an epic failure. Granted, sometimes those epic failures turn into awesome stories full of laughter down the road but I’d prefer to keep them to a minimum myself. You can also check out a previous article where we share our tips for a successful road trip but below are our must haves to make a success for family adventures this summer.
Ten Must Haves for Family Adventures this Summer
1. Camera – Who doesn’t want to document their family adventures? Taking photos and videos allow us to experience our vacations over and over again. When we look at photos it recalls those moments in our minds and allows us to relive them again. While I am really working on living in the moment, I still want to document them to preserve those moments. Use what you have whether it be your cell phone-like this Walmart Family Mobile, powered by T-Mobile LG Rebel 2, DSLR camera, GoPro or Waterproof action camera. I have found I take more photos using my cell phone because it is easier than pulling out my camera each time.
2. Sunscreen & Sun hats – Coming off a monster of a sunburn, don’t forget the sunscreen! We used sunscreen but don’t make the mistake of not applying often enough. Make yourself take a break from all the fun and reapply frequently. Nothing puts a bigger damper on your travels than being sunburnt. Hats also for the sun, but also for the heat and shade. In our family these vary from floppy sun hats to ball caps and bucket hats.
3. Travel Journals – Being prepared helps you document your travels easier. Travel journals can be a simple notebook or something a bit more in-depth if you like to scrapbook. I love to carry a small notebook tucked into my bag that I can pull out and quickly jot down things that were said, or something I want to remember specifically. Then I can later add that to a scrapbook or notes on the photographs.
Being a homeschooling family we love to roadschool and turn our travels into educational fun. We print off travel journaling pages for the children to fill out along the way. It allows us to add them into a larger travel journal with photographs and they document our travels from their own perspective.
4. Plenty of water & snacks – This may seem like a no brainer but we always start our trips off stocked up and replenish along the way. Keeping our bodies hydrated is essential and if you have ever found yourself broken down you appreciate even more being prepared. And snacks go such a long way to keeping kids happy and passing the time. You can find our list of 25 kid friendly travel snacks here.
5. Things to do – In our digital age, traveling without tablets or iPads is almost unheard of. My kids with the exception of the youngest, all have tablets but we still limit the amount of time they play. So we try to pack other activities to keep them and ourselves busy. Packs of card games or small and easily fit into any bag for traveling, waiting at restaurants or even in hotels. We also create mini map books so the children can follow along our journey, various travel games that are smaller than their original counterparts and stickers. Here is a list of our top ten family road trip must haves for kids where we share a few more items we travel with regularly.
6. Backpack or comfortable bag – Bags are just a part of life when traveling with kids but having a super comfortable bag, whether it be a backpack or another type is essential. When we travel it isn’t for style but comfort. That doesn’t mean you can’t have both but comfort always wins out when traveling for us.
7. Extra pair of clothing – We love to create impromptu memories and seize the moment so you never know when you will need access to a spare pair of clothes. We have been known to stop along the way for a fun hike to a stream or waterfall. The kids were so hot on our recent trip to Sea World and when they saw the splash pad, how could I say no? They had a ball splashing in the water and it was just what they needed to be refreshed and ready for the rest of the day. I knew I had extra clothes and didn’t think twice. Sometimes you just have to seize the moment so I try to be prepared.
8. Mini First Aid Kits – You never know what can happen along the way, having the essentials on hand to deal with mini accidents, scrapes or burns can go along way. This is especially true of traveling with little ones, being able to quickly take care of cuts or scrapes puts them out of sight out of mind and allows you to continue with your adventures. I travel with all of our medications we take, may need or use on a semi-frequent basis. For my family that means: epi-pens, pain reliever, allergy medications, ear drops, inhalers and Benadryl. We may not need any of it, but when we do it sure gives me the peace of mind knowing I am prepared and don’t have to find a pharmacy.
9. Lots of Chargers – When you are talking about large families traveling with a device or two each, you are talking about lots of chargers. Travel, portable and wall chargers are all essential when road tripping if you plan to stay connected.
10. Cell Phone – This is pretty much a no brainer because when do we ever even leave our house without our cell phone? Traveling with a cell phone with great service allows us to stay connected on the road, find our way with GPS and map apps, keep my little one happy with Mickey Mouse on YouTube and so much more. Our new LG Rebel 2 phone was a great deal at $64.99 while still offering a decent 5 mp front/rear facing camera, long battery life and gps enabled. We love having a phone that we can hand to the children to use and not be overly concerned that something will happen to it but performs good enough for daily use.
We love the Walmart Family Mobile, powered by T-Mobile service. It is simple, no contract with a clear monthly service plan price. You can pick a phone, or bring your own, pick a plan, activate and go. It is simple to start or switch, saves money with no activation fees and no late chargers plus offers MORE DATA (on most plans)! My favorite part next to the savings is the more data!!! The new $49.88 PLUS Plan = Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to 15GB of 4G LTE† then 2G* plus a free VUDU◊ movie credit every month ($7 value) per line for $49.88.
That means I have enough data that don’t have to panic if I hand the baby my phone and he watches Mickey videos for more than a few minutes. I can upload a video of our travels even if I’m not on wifi or we can video chat with family and friends. While recently traveling in Florida the children were apart from my husband and I while we attended BlogHer. The kids had phones so they could video chat us if they needed and it gave us peace of mind they were always connected.
Walmart Family Mobile offers Walmart’s Best Pricing in no contract Wireless plans powered by T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G LTE† network. The monthly plans allow us to budget and know exactly what the cost of our phone service is with no extra charges. That gives us a little extra each month in our budget for occasional splurges on vacation, like our recent hands on interaction with the dolphins in Florida! I’d highly encourage you to sit down and figure out how much you pay for your monthly services. The $49.88 PLUS Plan is a phenomenal deal and you can put the difference in a vacation savings jar each month. When the time rolls around for your next vacation you might be surprised at what you can do with your savings!
Now that we are home for a few days, we can unwind and rest up with a family movie night thanks to our VUDU◊ free credit. The $49.88 PLUS Plan is from Walmart Family Mobile, powered by T-Mobile is a great deal and if you travel often, use lots of data or just want a great coverage option I would highly recommend trying it out.
Where are your summer adventures taking your family?
*Please always refer to the latest terms and conditions at myfamilymobile.com.
†To get 4G LTE speed, you must have a 4G LTE capable device and 4G LTE SIM Card. Actual availability, coverage, and speed may vary. LTE is a trademark of ETSI.
Disclaimer: ◊Limited time offer. Available for lines active with the PLUS $49.88 plan only. VUDU enabled device and account required for digital viewing. Customers must be 18 years or older to open a VUDU account. Movie rental only available in the USA. Free movie rental provided in the form of a movie rental code to the value of a $7.00 VUDU credit. Movie rental code allows for selection from available movies for rent. May not be readily redeemable on all new releases. Code will be delivered within up to 24 hours of the effective account renewal date. Must be used within 30 days of receiving code. Offer is non-transferable. Limit 1 per customer. Additional terms and conditions on VUDU’s website: http://www.vudu.com/t