It’s time to take off again! The annual summer road trip begins on Saturday as we load up and head out to Florida. Road trips are great, in my opinion; here is my favorite road trip tip.
Much to my kids chagrin, we are a road tripping family. When there are 6 of you, finances just say, nah, girl, you gotta drive…planes cost way too much!
If we can make it under 16 hours, we’ll drive it. Florida is only 12ish hours away, so off we go!
We’re #ReadyForUniversal, y’all!
Why do I like the road? Well, it’s a bit of an adventure, isn’t it? And the new scenery is always interesting to me. For example, the sunsets in California are different than the ones in Texas or New Mexico.
And I do love a good sunset!
My biggest takeaway from my time on the road is this: road trip success relies on the snack bag.
Sure, directions are important.
And so is entertainment. Our (tone deaf) family sing-alongs are hilarious, that’s for sure!
Don’t forget to coordinate the pit stops too.
But something always goes wrong. And when it does, trust me, folks: the snacks will save you.
Here are my steps for packing the perfect road trip cooler.
Think about what will keep you filled, happy and motivated while on the road.
And, more importantly, what will keep the kids from whining I’m hunnnngryy from the back seat. Because no matter how fast you drive, you’ll never get away from that!
Right now, my body wants all the sugar. Being a fat kid is hard, y’all!
But I know it actually loves protein, fruit, and veggies.
Things like grapes, apples, hard-boiled eggs, almonds, jerky, and veggies with peanut butter go on the road with us.
I packed along some goldfish crackers, humus, and pretzels for the kids as well.
Everything is cut up and portioned out to make sharing easy.
If you make individual bags or boxes for each kid, you’ll be the queen of the road and be singing a happy tune when they start asking for snacks!
Snack-sized bags or reusable plastic totes are worth buying for your trip.
Keep Things Cool
Since you’ve got so many goodies coming with you, be sure you keep it all cold while you travel.
I like to make my ice packs for this part of the cooler prep.
Spoiler alert: ice melts. That leaves you with a cooler of nasty water that your food is floating around in.
Plus, with kids digging around in there while you are driving, it’s highly likely you’ll end up with a mess. Especially if the car is in motion if you follow me!
These ice bags are the perfect solution to keep things cold, but also save a bit of your sanity with no water sloshing around in there. And they don’t freeze completely, so they are flexible and can be molded around the food or drinks as needed.
- Plastic freezer storage bags. Any size will work. I used gallon sized bags.
- Rubbing alcohol
- Food coloring if you want to be fancy
Making the bags is pretty simple. The magic formula is two parts water and one part alcohol.
Add the food coloring, seal the bag tightly, and shake it up to distribute the colors.
Carefully press as much air out as you can to avoid air bubbles.
I double bag them, with the seals ending up at opposite ends. This is added protection against spillage.
Put the bags in the freezer overnight.
Load ‘Em Up!
You’ve got the snack plan, you’ve got the ice made, now it’s time to load it all up and hit the road.
I start with a couple of packs in the bottom of the cooler to make sure all levels are being addressed.
Then I start adding in the food and drinks, layering in ice packs as I go.
Zip it up, load it up, and off we go!
Protip: leave the cooler packing as the last item on your to-do list to ensure the everything stays refrigerator cold for as long as possible.
What does your summer, summer, summertime road trip look like this year? Where will you be going?
This post was originally shared as part of a Collective Bias sponsored post.
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)