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With both kids in competitive sports, we are on the road to one event or another, almost every other weekend. Most trips are hours away from home and the expenses can really add up. Not to mention the kids being stuck in the car for hours on end. Over the years we have learned a few tricks to keep everyone safe, happy and entertained. Here are some of our top tips.
Plan your stops ahead of time
When the kids were younger we would plan pit stops near parks or beaches. It is the best way for them to burn off some energy and stretch those legs. Planned stops also seem to reduce the number of time us parents will hear “Are we there yet?” and “I need a potty.”. Now that the kids are teenagers we tend to include stops where there is free Wi-Fi.
Download movies, music, books or TV show seasons
Sometimes the electronics are a necessary evil. We try to limit the kid’s electronic usage, but on long drives, they sure can come in handy. We love Texture for magazines and Netflix for on-the-go movies. On a long car ride, a few downloaded magazines or movies can keep the girls occupied and content. We all have our favourite books downloaded on the iPad and ready to read on the go.
Make sure your car is road ready
Before any long drive, we will always make sure our vehicle is road ready. My husband and I have become an exceptional team, making sure our vehicle is in tip-top shape before any long trip. I head out to our local Canadian Tire to pick up all the essentials for a do it yourself oil change and fluid top ups. Canadian Tire has everything in one spot and there is always helpful knowledgeable people to help me find what I need. I prefer Quaker State® Advanced Durability™ Motor Oil as it is an exceptional oil at a great price, especially at Canadian Tire. Quaker State has a fuel-saving additive that keeps the oil fresh, and as your engine temperature increases, heat-activated viscosity improvers and anti-wear additives kick in to maintain oil thickness to help extend your engine life.
Canadian Tire, Made for life in Canada, is more than a car parts store. My youngest came along with me on this visit to Canadian Tire because she has redecorated her room. Her latest quest was for some throw pillows. Decorative pillows and motor oil were purchased together on this successful shopping trip.
Once I arrive home, it is Don’s turn to take over. He has a complete set up to change our oil in the garage in no time. It is nice to have peace of mind knowing the vehicle is ready for our trip.
Snacks and meals!!!
This is our big money and time saver tip for travel, especially when at the kids sporting events. We love going out for team dinners, but often time they take a long time and cost way more than I want to pay. Recently, we decided as a family to limit ourselves to one team dinner per trip. For our meals we pack a cooler, also picked up at Canadian Tire, and pack some quick and easy meals and snacks for our weekends.
Here are some of our go-to snack and meal ideas.
Homemade Energy balls (kids love these!)
Lasagna and Caesar salad (we reheat in microwave in hotel room if available)
BBQ chicken (perfect as is or in a wrap with leftover Caesar salad)
Cheese Strings and Pepperoni Sticks
Fruit and veggie trays
And…. an assortment of goodies for the driver!
Hopefully, some of these tips will help you have some peace of mind and save you some money on your next road trip. Enjoy!