Summer Road Trip Checklist

by Janell on June 15, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerCarCare #CollectiveBias

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I love summertime! It’s a time for our family to just relax and hang out together. Plus we usually try to schedule a fun vacation. Last summer we had a very long road trip. We left Florida and visited family in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee before we stopped in Kentucky for a week to buy a house.  Then just 1 month later we packed up everything we owned and drove our minivan and moving truck all the way from Florida to our new home in Kentucky.

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When you travel that far with 3 kids, you get pretty good at packing a van and knowing what you need for the journey. I have things that the kids can easily get to from their seats and then I have extra supplies packed in the back in case we need them.

I love that our van has a hideaway seat. This makes more room for my kids to get in and out of the van but it’s also nice so they can put their pillows and “go bags” for quick access. I always have a basket with snacks. Kids are not really that hungry – they just get bored and want to eat. I have a basket with a few snacks and drinks for them to grab when they need a snack to pass the time.

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My tip – don’t pack anything that has chocolate! It will melt and create a nasty mess. Pack a few zip top bags with snacks they can just pop in their mouth and not make a mess. I also pack a few juice boxes and water. One thing that has really helped keep the van a little cleaner on a road trip is that I place a small garbage can next to them. Keep a few extra grocery bags handy so you can change it out at a rest area or when you stay at a hotel.

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I have also learned to keep some wipes, a first aid kit, and napkins in my snack kit. Just being prepared inside the van makes the trip a little less stressful.

Getting the van ready for the trip is totally worth the effort! Luckily I have a dad that is super cautious when it comes to road trips and he has given us many tips to make sure we have a safe and fun time. He’s a mechanic – so he knows what can go wrong if you aren’t prepared for the journey. The list is pretty simple, but if left unchecked can cause issues on your trip. No one wants to have to spend part of their vacation at a mechanic!

You can get most of these things checked off your list in half a day – so make sure you find the time and protect your family and avoid a stressful situation!

You should always check the tire pressure, the belts and top off the fluids in your car. I have also learned to check my windshield wipers. It’s no fun to drive on the interstate with a streaky windshield.


Changing the oil is also a great way to make sure your car is preforming well. I never pay the extra fee to have them change my air filter. I know I can do it at home and it’s a lot more affordable. When you are at Walmart picking up supplies to keep the kids happy, make a stop in the automotive section and pick up a FRAM air filter. Check out the resource to help you find the right one for your vehicle (or check your owners manual). An air filter is your engine’s first line of defense – so it’s important that it’s clean.

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My dad always said it is very easy to change out my air filter. A clean air filter is necessary because it increases acceleration, horsepower, and improve overall engine performance. Plus it takes less than 5 minutes to install!

All you need is a FRAM air filter, (possibly) a flat head screw driver, safety glasses, gloves, a rag, and your shop vacuum.

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First you need to open the hood and locate the air filter. If necessary, use the screwdriver to loosen the screw and then unclamp the clamps on the side.

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Remove the cover and remove the air filter. You can use the shop vacuum to clean up any dust and dirt around the air filter. Replace with your new, clean air filter.  Pop the cover back on and secure it back in place! As you can see, my filter was pretty dirty.

Summer Road Trip Checklist #SummerCarCare #CollectiveBias #ad

It’s really that simple! You are ready to enjoy your road trip. Your vehicle is ready and your kids are ready to enjoy an adventure together! (Click the image to print the checklist.)

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Where do you want to go on your next road trip?

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