Road trip planner: helpful tips for any road trip


ipad headrest mount

Entertainment checklist: 
Earbuds for the iPad: ✔︎, Puzzles & Magazine: ✔︎, Headrest tablet mount: ✔︎ 


Should you drive or fly?

Road trips for some have become a thing of the past. This is no surprise really with low fare airlines like Jet Blue, Spirit, Allegiant and the like offering routes across the nation. It has become more economical to travel via air, yet the adventure and challenge of a road trip still lingers in the hearts of many Americans. For my family the promise of an adventure was attractive enough to say no thank you to the airline baggage fees. 

There we were- decision made about how to travel, but now what? Sure we could throw everything into our car and set out hoping for the best, but while I’m open for an adventure spontaneity is not my cup of tea, so we began a road trip planner.


What to eat on a long road trip

I started by trying to decide what we should eat while on the road. While fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Subway have a few healthy food options we wanted to plan and make our own meals for while on the road. I began researching recipes for road trips and found quite a few helpful resources. Jill and Tawra have a website called Living on a Dime. One of their vlog posts helps with road trip meal ideas. They share some creative meal planning ideas that you might find useful. They have some great suggestions for brining hot meals to your road trip, but we settled for simpler options like sandwiches and wraps. We also brought along some grapes, apples and other healthy snacks like carrots.


fun things to do on a road tripStopped for a fun ice cream treat to go with the apples ;)


Keep your food cool and safe

So now that we have a handle on the food situation we needed to figure out how to keep everything cool and safe to eat especially since part of our trip meant crossing the desert. I came across some great cooler packing tips from Country Living. The biggest take away was to use ice blocks on the bottom of the cooler to keep food cold longer. I used ZipLock Freezer bags to accomplish this and started the freezing process 48 hours before our trip. I would recommend starting sooner as some of the water did not free completely. There are other great tips in this article about how to pack a cooler, I would recommend checking it out for some great tips. Another tip I used was to place a blanket on top of the cooler to add insulation and to keep the cooler in a shady area.


Stay hydrated and caffeinated 

Sometimes staying caffeinated while hydrated on a long road trip can be challenging, especially when you travel through remote areas. So plan ahead and bring plenty of water, ice and coffee. We brought large jugs of water and containers of Trader Joe's Cold Brew Coffee. While passing through large cities we scoped out our favorite coffee spots like Dutch Bros Coffee and scheduled a stop to get our caffeine fix.


Entertain your passengers

Our road trip was from Southern California to Central Illinois which ends up being about 24 hours of travel time. We traveled with two kids; one ten-year-old daughter and a teenage son. While our teenager had personal entertainment under control we needed some creativity to keep our younger one entertained. We packed an iPad and downloaded Disney movies, music and apps that were sure to occupy part of the time. To avoid fatigue we used a Unite and MagConnect headrest mount to position the iPad for the perfect and comfortable viewing angle. We also brought along a 6ft Amazon Basics charging cable and an Anker 24w Dual USB car charger to be sure the iPad never ran out of juice. A few activity books, an iPad, and a few car friendly crafts kept our 10 year old entertained for the majority of the trip. The remainder of the time was spent looking out the window and enjoying the view of the landscape and night stars. If you are going to bring an iPad I highly recommend a headrest mount, long road trips make for a long time holding an iPad in place.


best road trip apps disney activity book appFinding the right activity book can be challenging, but fun. Try Disney's Color and Play activity and interactive app- it is, in my opinion, the best road trip app.


Keep your entertainment protected and positioned 

We also have a protective case on our device just in case it accidentally gets dropped while entering and exiting the car. The case we used is The Joy Factory's aXtion Bold case, but there are lots of iPad protection options from different manufacturers such as OtterBox and Lifeproof that will still work our MagConnect or Unite Headrest Mounts. 


lifeproof ipad case diyDIY OtterBox or Lifeproof case into a MagConnect compatible case using a MagConnect Universal Tablet Module (MMX107). 


Pack an umbrella for the rain

Being from sunny Southern California one thing we didn’t anticipate was getting caught in severe weather. Checking the weather forecast before heading out for the day can save you a lot of trouble. For up to date radar and forecasting I used a weather app from The Weather Channel. The Weather Channel App helped keep us safe through two severe thunderstorms. Another option would be to purchase a wireless weather radio.


weather channel appweather appThe Weather Channel App saved the day twice! 


Have fun along the way

Don't forget to have fun along the way, every trip has room for spontaneity even if it is brief!


fun road trip ideasMaking friends with some ground squirrels somewhere in Utah.


Share your thoughts and insights
If you have ideas on how to tackle certain aspects of a road trip we’d love to hear them. We’d love to hear about how to save on hotels or how to pack to camp for the night or any other ideas and insights you have. For all of your upcoming road trips, we wish you safe travels and don’t forget to bring along entertainment for your kids. It will bring you and them joy on your road trip.

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