Last year I wrote about the things I’d learned after taking a few road trips with a small child. You all had some great tips of your own to share. I’ve already been on one trip this summer, and we have two more planned.

So when Allstate contacted me about their Good Hands Roadside Assistance program, I decided it was a good time to follow up with additional ways to have a safe, fun and successful road trip. I asked on Facebook for your road trip tips (say THAT five times fast!), and you had such smart input.

But first, a bit about Allstate’s program . . .

I learned from Allstate that more than 52 million households that pay annual fees for roadside assistance, but the average driver uses their service only once every three years. Allstate is offering an alternative option through the Good Hands Roadside Assistance program – and you don’t have to have Allstate insurance to use it.

You only pay when you use the program; there are no monthly fees. And if you pre-register (for instance, with that handy little widget up above), you’ll receive a kit with a wallet card, key fob and a window cling with the roadside assistance number. Cool, right?

Scenic Route 207 Texas Plain Trail

Now, for your smarty pants tips!

  1. Get your engine checked before you leave. Check your tire pressure, and make sure you have a spare.
  2. Clean the car and stock the essentials: tissues, napkins or paper towels, wipes, clean sippy cups, straws, batteries for all electronics, etc.
  3. Take a map with you – even if you have a GPS system. You know, in case the GPS stops working or you decide you’d rather listen to a voice with a little more emotion tell you to “Turn left in point-two-miles.”
  4. Pack each child a bag or backpack with some of their favorite snacks and new books, stickers or toys from the dollar store.
  5. If you’re using a DVD player (and why wouldn’t you?!), hit Redbox on the way out of town. You can return the movies anywhere there’s a Redbox!

The Loneliest Highway in the World

Wait – there’s more!

  1. Don’t forget your soundtrack. Pack your favorite CDs or burn a special Road Trip Mix. I like my mix tapes CDs to have a theme; consider compiling songs based on your destination or the trip you’re taking. (e.g. Sweet Home Alabama, Empire State of Mind, California Girls, Country Roads Take Me Home)
  2. Stop along the way and get out of the car. If you’re traveling with kids (or dogs, not that I’m comparing the two), city parks are a great option for stretching your legs, taking a bathroom break and eating a snack or picnic lunch.
  3. Take a small cooler with bottles of water, snacks or even sandwich fixings.
  4. If a picnic isn’t your thing, though, remember to map out restaurants where kids eat free along your route.
  5. If possible, when you’re traveling with kids, begin your trip at naptime or night. Once the kids get to sleep, the adults can enjoy some actual conversation.

Speaking of conversation, that’s my favorite part of any road trip. Whether you’re playing car games (Ooh, look! It’s a license plate from North Dakota!), writing Mad Libs or – in my and Mark’s case in our recent trip – just catching up, being stuck in a car together is a great way to get in some bonding time with your favorite people.

Have you ever had to use roadside assistance? What road trip tips do you have?

This post will be linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday. Also, a big thank you to Smitty, Cousin Jen, @kathill, Melissa B., Erin F., Nicole B., Kela N. and Amy F. for sharing your ideas with me. (And if you want to join in our fun conversations, make sure you “like” Giving Up on Perfect on Facebook!) Last but not least, I was compensated by Allstate to write this post, but all opinions are my own. Well, and yours, since I asked for your tips and ideas!

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