Trip Planner: Packing for a Road Trip

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Remember those days when you crammed in the car with your family to take to the road for summer vacation? Air conditioning was the open window and you had to entertain yourself with your parent’s radio station choice and playing Eye Spy with your siblings.

Now as adults, travel_tip_road_trip_packingwe get to share the whole road trip experience with our own kids, along with the benefit of a few modern conveniences. Packing the right gear can turn a road trip from a means of transportation into part of your vacation experience. The American Express Gold Rewards Card enables you to get ready for your road trip while earning reward points toward your next holiday.

Planning our own family road trip, we’ve been able earn double reward points by stocking up on our road trip supplies at the drugstore (the card offers double points on purchases at drugstores, gas stations, grocery stores and on travel, like car rentals). So what should you bring? Based on our experience with three young kids, we don’t head out without these road trip essentials:

  • Snacks and Drinks. Avoid expensive road stops by packing some food and drink provisions like granola bars, juice boxes and water. We love pull-apart Twizzlers as a fun treat and PopChips as a healthier chip alternative. No matter how tempting (or how much your kids beg) stay away from things that are sticky or coated – that includes chocolate-covered anything.
  • Disposable Cameras. Keep older kids occupied on a long ride with their own disposable camera. They will enjoy capturing their favourite sights without you worrying about an expensive camera getting damaged or lost. I love seeing what my kids take pictures of, as well as their different vantage point. Plus the pictures are a great way to relive the vacation experience once it’s over.
  • Baby Wipes. Even if you don’t have a baby, wipes can still come in handy. They’re great for cleaning snack spills, sticky fingers and faces and just refreshing yourself. You can buy travel wipes but a larger pack of baby wipes is usually cheaper and works just as well. Designed for a baby’s sensitive skin, you should have no worry finding wipes without perfumes.
  • Anti-nausea Medication. Even the most steadfast stomach can get queasy on long car rides. Having the power of ginger in a pack of Gravol’s Chewable Ginger Pills on hand enables you to address tummy trouble right away instead of trying to find a drugstore (especially when Gravol isn’t available in the US).
  • Analgesic Medication. Pressure changes or long drives can sometimes bring on headaches and if you are the driver or the designated entertainer, you will want to get rid of this fast before it ruins the whole trip for everyone.
  • Entertainment. Keep the kids from getting bored by stocking up on a little entertainment. You can grab magazines, comic books, and puzzle books for the kids to read. Ask the kids to select their books and magazines; they’ll love being involved, plus they will then have no reason to complain about the choices later on. Remember not to give the kids all the entertainment at once; stagger the times when you give them something new to prolong the entertainment during the trip. One of the things my kids love is the ability to swap magazines and books with each other, giving them that much more to occupy their time. Some drugstores also have family movies you can buy for your DVD entertainment system.
  • Sunscreen. Whether your road trip has you heading to the beach or to the cottage, make sure you protect yourself from sun exposure. Even a cloudy day can have a high UV Index so stock-up on sunscreen before you go (and avoid expensive resort purchases).
  • First-Aid Kit. You can buy premade kits but just stocking a Ziploc baggie with Band-Aids, Polysporin and Kleenex should cover you for most nics, cuts and bumps. You would be amazed at how far a Disney Princess Band-Aid can go to make my youngest feel better (cut or no cut).

Even the bags the store gives you when you make a purchase can be used on your road trip to collect garbage. This helps to keep your vehicle tidy and makes it easy to toss out on your next roadside stop.

Now you’re ready – but before hitting the open road, make sure your vehicle is fueled and ready to go. Using your Gold Rewards Card to stock up on your road trip essentials at the drugstore and fill your car with fuel at the gas station can also earn double rewards; great for your next trip.

Isn’t it fantastic how preparing for one family trip helps you save-up for your next vacation? With the Gold Rewards Card, it’s that easy.


For more information on the American Express Gold Rewards Card or to apply for your own, visit their site at www.amex.ca.

This post has been sponsored by American Express Canada to promote their new American Express Gold Rewards Card.

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