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 101 Car Travel Games & Ideas for Kids
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Easy Tips for Conserving Fuel on Your Next Vacation

Just because summer vacations are over, doesn’t mean that your automobile will get a break. There are always off-season vacations – a good option if you are looking for less expensive trips for you and your family – and the travel-heavy holidays. It is also never too late to begin planning and budgeting for next year’s summer road trip.

Sure, a vacation is a time to live large and throw caution to the wind, but traveling the highways and byways these days is an inexpensive endeavor, particularly when it comes to fuel. Before topping off the gas tank and putting the pedal to the metal with your family in tow, consider the following fuel facts:

  • It’s expensive: The average price of gasoline has been over $3.00 per gallon for over 1,000 consecutive days, marking the first streak of this kind … ever. The average price per gallon is $3.62. And the cost per gallon can increase depending on various factors, from the speed you drive to the weight of your vehicle.
  • It supports our dependence on imports: The United States still relies on other countries for nearly 40% of the oil that it uses at a cost of $300 billion annually. The more gas you use, the more you contribute to this dependence on others and their resources.
  • It impacts the environment: Highway vehicles are responsible for approximately 1.5 billion metric tons of greenhouses gases that are released into the air each year, the most prominent of which is carbon-dioxide. Consider that about 30 pounds of carbon dioxide is emitted per gallon of gas that you burn; simply put, the less gas you burn, the less damage is done to the environment.

Short of cancelling your next vacation, what can you do to minimize your fuel consumption? Rest assured that you can reduce your energy consumption with the following five tips, whether running errands or trekking across the country.

  1. Drive the speed limit: Driving above the speed limit is expensive. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you will pay an additional 25 cents per gallon for every five miles per hour above 50 mph that you drive. Keep in mind that accelerating quickly also burns more gas (up to twice as much, in some cases), so take it slow and steady when the stoplight turns green.
  2. Maintain your vehicle: There are a number of maintenance tasks – several of which you can complete yourself – that will keep your vehicle running well and using less fuel. While you want to rely on your local mechanic for routine (yes, routine!) oil changes, as well as fuel filter and spark plug changes, you should be able to change your air filter and maintain the appropriate air pressure in your tires.
  3. Eliminate extra weight: If you pull a wagon full of heavy rocks, it will certainly take more energy than pulling that same wagon when it is empty. This wagon is no different than your vehicle. The heavier it is, the more fuel you will use. If you have a large family, it may not be as easy to lighten the load, but make an effort to remove any extraneous items that may create extra weight and consider carefully what you are going to pack. If you aren’t going to use it, leave it at home!
  4. Avoid traffic congestion: Avoid high-congestion areas whenever you are traveling, and if possible, drive during off hours. An idling car not only burns fuel, but it negatively impacts the environment. If you do find yourself in a traffic jam, consider turning off your engine rather than idling.
  5. Buy a fuel-efficient vehicle: If you like to travel and you are in the market for a new car, make an effort to purchase a fuel-efficient vehicle. The more miles-to-the-gallon that you use, the less money you spend, and the fewer emissions that you release into the environment. Flex fuel or hybrid vehicles are popular choices for those looking to save money and protect the environment. Although you may pay a little more up front, you will save at the pump. For help selecting a fuel efficient vehicle, check out the vehicle comparisons at www.fueleconomy.gov.

The price at the gas pump is surely the first thing you notice when budgeting for your next vacation or filling up on your way out of town. In fact, it’s almost enough to make you want to close the garage door in favor of a “stay-cation.” A fuel efficient approach to driving and vehicle maintenance will not only ease the financial pain, but can positively impact the dependency on foreign oil and reduce harmful emissions that threaten the environment.

Guest Post by:  Jessica Johnson works for www.extraspace.com and contributes to the Extra Space Storage blog, exploring various aspects of organizing and storing possessions.

November 21, 2013   1 Comment

Winshield Repair

A tiny rock hit your windshield and now you have to stare at an ugly chip?  Maybe it’s not so bad.  Or is it?  The longer you ignore it, the more likely the crack will grow, or worse, erupt into an entirely obscured field of view.  But, if you repair it quickly, you may not need to replace the entire windshield, so don’t wait! It only takes some cold weather or a bump in the road to put enough stress on it to grow that crack in an instant. 

Call a repair shop such as  AAA+ Auto glass shop Mississauga.  They can do all kinds of auto glass repair such as Windshield Replacement, Back Glass, Door Glass, Quarter Glass, Stone Chip Repair, Window tinting and paint protection film and more.   One driver explains why they were glad they got help from Auto Glass Mississauga as soon as possible:  ”I had a chip in my windshield that turned into a crack. Before it got out of hand, I went to see AAA Auto Repair and they filled in the crack no problem. My windshield is as good as new and I didn’t have to replace the whole thing thanks to their skilled service”

The best thing about calling a repair company like this is that they will often come right to you, and they  work with your insurance company so many times, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket at all (depending on your coverage).    So what are you waiting for?  If you’rev still staring through a crack while hauling the kids to soccer practice, don’t wait any longer.

 Disclaimer: This is a Sponsored Post written by me.  All opinions are 100% mine.

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April 2, 2012   1 Comment

Lay-n-Go Activity Mat

Here’s a cool new product that looks like a real winner. It’s an activity mat and toy keeper and toy transporter all in one.    It’s called the  Lay-n-Go.  It comes in a travel size and a much larger room size version.  I recently got to road test the travel sized version with my favorite 6 year old boy.    My cutie-pie nephew has a collection of Beyblades and Legos toys that he was finally able to take with him to a restaurant thanks to the Lay-n-go.  The size was perfect to lay out on the table to keep him busy with his favorite toys.  Once the food arrived, it was easy to just swoop it up in an instant and set it aside with all the toys contained.  We could tuck it into little sister’s diaper bag, or just carry it by its handle on the side.

This is a great idea for long road trips to keep those precious items close and contained when kids are stuck in their car seats for hours, or on an airplane. It was made of a very sturdy and durable material and looks like it would last for many years of being toted around. There is a pocket that can be used to tuck in the string once you have cinched it closed to contain the toys.  We gave this product two thumbs up!   Get it at Amazon:  Lay-n-Go

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March 29, 2012   Comments Off

Jacobs Ladder String Figure

Were you one of those kids who taught all the other kids how to do Jacob’s Ladder?  Remember how happy  you were when you could finally do it?  Now it’s years later and you can’t remember how — so, here are the instructions so you can teach your kids step by step along with a video for the demonstration of those tricky parts. This is a great activity to play in the car on a trip to keep the kids busy hours. Have fun!

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March 28, 2012   Comments Off

Rolling Reviews from the Backseat – Dr Doom’s Fear Fall

Road Trip review from Big Bro, one of Road Trip Mom’s kids!

The most thrilling ride for me  at the Universal Studios Theme Park was in the Islands of Adventure park, and it is called Dr. Doom’s Fear Fall. You enter the ride with your party and are isolated from the other riders.  Before the ride begins, a scary voice comes on and tells you that all safety protocol will be ignored.  Then shoots you straight up into the air at what seems like a million miles an hour, and as soon as it gets to the top it shoots you downwards faster than gravity can pull you.

I had a great deal of fun trying to convince my younger sisters to go on it with me.  They were terrified at first, but after they went on it once they each went four more times. The ride is very intimidating to look at but it is a blast to go on. The lines were also very short when we went with little to no waiting for a seat. The view at the top of the ride is also outstanding, with the whole park in front of you and the beautiful Florida landscape behind you. I highly recommend this ride to anyone who is looking for thrills at this park.

Keep reading for lots of tips on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Studios theme parks.

NOTE FROM ROAD TRIP MOM: This is a review by my road trip son! He’s helping me out with his own backseat opinions on some of our recent travels.  Let’s give him a hand!

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February 8, 2012   Comments Off

Rolling Reviews from the Backseat: Rip Ride Rock-It Rollercoaster

By The Back Seat Reviewer — Road Trip Mom’s Daughter!

On my recent trip to Universal studios, one of the most thrilling and original rides in the park was the Hollywood Rip Ride Rock-It. This bright red roller coaster covered in dazzling florescent lights could be seen from anywhere in the park. The fun starts the moment you get to the front of the line. Immediately after you sit down and pull your seat belt across your lap, you have 30 seconds to choose a song from a variety of music. Choices range from music by Fergie, to songs like I Will Survive; so everyone can get a song they know. If you don’t pick your song before the ride starts, on is picked for you. The song you picked will play out of speakers by your ears throughout your ride.

Unlike most roller coasters that have a steady incline that brings you to the top of the first hill, the Rock-It saves space with a vertical climb to the top of the park, followed by an equally frightening near-vertical drop. After that comes a series of stomach churning loop de loops and cork screw turns that rip through the park. The whole time your face is being recorded by a camera on the back of the seat in front of you so that when the ride is over, you have an opportunity to view and purchase your own music video. The only problem is that because this is one of the most popular rides in the park, the line gets extremely long and there is no express line, so getting there early is a must. All and all this an amazing ride that anyone who love roller coasters and music should be sure to ride.

Keep reading for lots of tips on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Studios theme parks.

NOTE FROM ROAD TRIP MOM: This is a review by one of my road trip daughters! She and her sister are becoming regulars on my website with their product reviews and backseat opinions.

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January 30, 2012   1 Comment

Cute Kids Luggage

Kids Travel Luggage This kids’ luggage is Cute As A Bug!

There is even more cute luggage at PolkaDottedLuggage.com

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January 17, 2012   2 Comments

Geography Car Game

Here’s a car game you can play without any materials at all.  It’s a geography game that I found on Education.com, which also has a lot of other games and printable materials for kids — great stuff for road trips.

The geography game is super easy to play.  You simply take turns naming different cities, states or countries around the world. The only catch is that when it’s your turn, your geography point must begin with the same letter that the last person’s ended. Simple!  If you have an atlas in the car, this game will have your kids scouring through it and learning new places.

Devra, my friend and frequent road-trip cohort from Parentopia.com, has played this game with her family (and me) for years.  But somehow  it always seems to me like there are a lot of  geography points that start AND end with the letter A — Alaska, Alabama, Alameda, Australia, Angola, Argentina, Albania, …  see what I mean?  Next time I’m on a roadtrip with them, I’m using “Arkansas” as my secret weapon.  If you can’t spell it, you won’t know that it ends in an “S”! And if that doesn’t get them, then I’ll try “Albuquerque.”   Ha!

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January 12, 2012   Comments Off

Holiday Printable Coloring Pages

On road trips, or just hanging out, kids love to color!  I found a website that has some of the cutest printable materials I’ve ever seen online.  It’s called Python Printables.

Check out their Holiday printable coloring pages (This link includes a $5 coupon when you download along with their free printable pages to use with their premium products later if you want).  They have lots of different holidays and other events to keep your kids busy and creative!

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December 2, 2011   Comments Off

Broken Bone Vacation Relief

Cast cooler, cast Covers!What’s the only thing worse than breaking your arm during summer vacation?

Answer: Breaking BOTH arms!  (OUCH!)

But never fear, this little cutie’s summer has been saved.  Read my article,  Cast Relief,  to see how our friend managed to find some relief for her cast torture, and save her summer vacation!

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July 12, 2011   Comments Off