This is truly the summer of the “Great Family Road Trip”…. or at least for our family anyway! In the past two weeks we’ve traveled more than 2000 miles…. traveling from NY out to Michigan, spending a week in one of my favorite towns in the world, Traverse City, and then heading down to Bloomington, Indiana to visit my alma mater and on to Cave City, KY to tour Mammoth Cave with the kids (all of which will be featured in future Momof6 posts!) But all of this traveling had me thinking…. there are some road trip items that we could just not live without! And I wanted to share them with you…
1. Power Converter
We seriously could not road trip without this thing. Sure, my Mommy bus comes loaded with 5 power outlets in the car, but we need to run 3 DVD players, a GPS, a car cooler, and at various times my laptop, my cell phone charger, and my wireless hotspot (more on this below). So we definitely need more outlets than we have. This awesome converter plugs into one of them, and then we string extension cords to run to all 3 rows of seats in order to power the kids’ DVD players. It works perfectly….. but might I suggest that you buy a few fuses for it. We travel with spare fuses for this as well as spare car fuses too…. because we’ve been known to over-power the darn thing (I think the kids sneak their DS chargers onto the extension cords from time to time!). For my laptop, cell phone, and wireless hotspot, I have purchased car chargers for each of these devices separately (so in my case, they do not plug into this power converter device).
2. Portable DVD player
3. Kids Gear Car Organizer
These are truly the best thing ever! They hold everything that two kids need for a long road trip…. books, crayons, pencils, paper, playing cards, DVDs, snacks, etc. And they have two mesh cup-holders in front, one for each kid to use. It also comes with a lid, which the kids can use as a food tray while eating on the go. The only drawback is that they do take up a whole seat… so it only works if you have just two kids sitting in a row of 3 seats.
4. Car Cooler
I love our plug-in car cooler for long trips. No ice needed, everything stays cold, and when you arrive at your destination you can simply plug it into a regular wall outlet and use it as an additional fridge.
5. Wireless Hot Spot
When Steve suggested that I look into one of these to use this summer while we travel, I have to admit that I had never even heard of this type of device (and yes, I used to work in tech people!). It’s just a small box (4″ x 4″) that connects to a 4G network like your cell phone does. Except that it creates a wireless hotspot for up to 10 users to connect to, to access the internet. You pay a small activation fee (around $35) and then you pay a monthly fee similar to your cell phone bill. Except this fee is based on data usage, not minutes used. For $50/month I can use up to 5 GB of data- which is likely more than I will ever need in a month’s time. I don’t plan to use it to download/upload videos or images…. but for blogging and email, it is a perfect solution for me to keep working while I am on the go!
So that’s my top 5 road trip list…. what items can you not live without when you are road-tripping it with your kids? Leave a comment and let me know!
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