Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trip Planning

Trip Planning
This is PERFECT timing to get the kids involved:0) Well normally this would be brainstorming and throwing out ideas, but since this trip already has a destination it is just a planning on getting there on as frugally as possible. We have the car rental reserved already so that is also done. Will be fun to hotel and car trip this one. A little change from the what is our norm of RV life. It is about $300 more than taking the dually, BUT by renting we have peace of mind if there is a break down or God forbid an accident. Paying full coverage insurance on a rental just makes me feel more at ease. Normally I prefer my own vehicle as I LOVE my truck, but to go that far across country with just me and my kids I feel better this way. Typically I am not a planner but I want to be very frugal about this and that means making ahead of time plans…This will be approx an 8 day trip weather and road depending. AND I think we can do this trip on about $1500 if done right.
I travel enough that I already have “car” soundtracks that I have a mix of upbeat fast pace music, but may very well make up a new one that includes new music and songs I like now added to that list.
Food….hmmm frugally means we need to pack much of the food with us, but traveling is also a chance to try out new places we don’t have locally and may have a value menu as well. So bringing all snacks and lunches since this is the time frame I am going to be traveling and will maybe look around for dinner stuff near what ever hotel we stay at bringing along microwave popcorn for dessert/snacks. Growing up we made good ole’ southern fried chicken and deviled eggs and lots of sandwhiches that I recall. Dad was the type to drive straight thru and get the trip over with and we typically started out like 3 a.m.. With 4 kids guess I can’t blame him..lol. A loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a squeezable container of jelly are always easy ones and we can hit rest stops stretch our legs and make lunch.
Snacks: beef jerky, trail mix, cereal mix, string cheese, and fruit such as apples which travel great in the car. We don’t have taxes here in MT so it is only making sense to be sure to pack all our snacks from here and much of our lunches.
Drinks…We will drink water instead of soda in the car (much healthier, WAY cheaper, and doesn’t make such a mess -awesome esp since we will have a rental). Growing up we packed frozen water bottles in the cooler. It will act as ice for the other items in the cooler, and you can drink the water when it melts. Now this will work when we first leave off for our trip but after that guess just putting ice from the hotels in our bottles will have to be good enough.
Also gotta keep the kids entertained along the way right so gotta plan those little things as well. This isn’t one of those trips we will be stopping at whatever catches our eye. Kelda will have her Sony Reader so that will keep things nice and light there as well as keep her entertained for hours on end. If you have fun roadtrip things to do for kids I would love to hear them. I remember playing, tic tac toe, I spy road style when on trips growing up, seeing how many states license plates we could find, looking up at the clouds and seeing what shape they remind us of, singing etc. I came across a car Bingo game that should be fun.
What about souvenirs those costs add up as well?? The girls are already saving all their babysitting money so they have cash to spend this will be their alotment for the trip. They have a feeling of accomplishment when they can spend their own hard earned money on something they really want. It also makes them stop and question how badly do I want this and how much do I have left if I do this? How much is left of the trip? etc and so really like I said traveling is really a big learning curve for kids. Growing as a person while on a road trip – or any kind of vacation – is the best kind of souvenir to bring home. The kids are going to learn soooo much and see more than they will actually keep with them. Each child will have their own notebook and pencils to jot down things they see or draw as in Ingers case. She loves drawing but I encourage writing along the way. Things that happen along the way much like how I like to try and blog. I will in fact probably try and blog nightly before I hit the hay of our daily events. This can even be pasting in things like any kind of ticket stubs…hotel rec’ of the one they liked best and they whys of it…lol…Benjamins’ will be if there was a good breakfast I am sure. This will be one of those things we will simply date no correcting it is their feelings of what they see…their memories…I am sure spelling is going to be hilarious esp for Benjamin. This still might be a bit overwhelming for him so I will sit down at night and help him along the way and have him write it but I will help him in forming the thoughts. It will be interesting for them to look back and see what events impressed them the most on the trip at this current age. Times are going to change…I look back and see just how much has changed since the year 2000 let alone the 80’s and 90’s.
Money saving tips on fuel as I think in here on the blog somewhere I have but will put a refresher here. Just slowing down a bit and putting on the cruise control and keeping at a steady speed will help conserve gas. Avoiding excessive idle when parked…now if you KNOW you will only be a min or two you are best to leave it idle. As start up will use about the same amount. Checking that the tire pressure is at right level, don’t haul excess weight in the car. We will be packing LIGHT! Use Fuelcostcalculator.com to calculate approx your fuel costs…or even Mapquest now has a fuel estimator as well. Coming up to a red light…coast up to it don’t hit the brakes all the time and when you resume speed to put the pedal to the metal…gradually increase your speed.
Hotels: working on that gotta figure out best spots for taking a break for the night. Tedious process because what if we don’t make it to that next city before completely tired and need to take that break??? free (internet access, breakfast, pool and allowance of pets)” are on the top of the priorities list. Calling ahead of time can be of great savings and checking online for discounts as well as AAA saves. So this will probably end up being a blogging session all its own;0)
Ok so thus far we have our grocery shopping list started, car reserved, mapquest directions so we don’t waste gas driving out of your way., and a list of car activities going. Sooo will post more in the future. If you have tips please feel free to leave them:0)

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