It’s hard to believe that summer is grinding to a halt, that families are planning their last hoorah of the 2015 summer season! I mean, it seems like just yesterday we were ushering in the warm long lazy days of summer. The good news is that we all have Labor Day to celebrate and with falling gas prices, we may just be able to string together a few more weekends with all the extra cash in our pockets. But with all great things, come at least a downside or two. And low prices at the pumps typically will mean more drivers on the roads.

Labor Day 2015

Traveling in Style - Newmar Dutch Star Photo Credit: Susie Kellogg

Traveling in Style – Newmar Dutch Star Photo Credit: Susie Kellogg

September brings one of the biggest travel weekends of the year … Labor Day!  And for the first time in like forever gas prices are cooperating with America’s road trip warriors.  

In fact, gas prices are the lowest they’ve been this holiday weekend for the past 11 years. And that means, many families will be taking to the road to enjoy one last weekend of family fun before summer crawls to an end.

We’ve been traveling since March of this year and have been spending time in the Southeast where gas prices are plummeting and giving our budget some much needed relief.

In the last few weeks we’ve seen savings of over $1 per gallon over last years prices and with a 160 gallon fuel tank in our Newmar Dutch Star that amounts to huge savings at the pump. And gas prices are expected to continue to fall this fall and winter.

Of course gas prices vary, but we just filled up, as in totally filled our entire tank at a Costco in Charlottesville, VA.  Diesel was $2.19 and gas prices were an amazing $1.91 and they will most likely be lower tomorrrow!

What this means is that many more families will be hitting the road this Labor Day and planning more and more trips, especially into the winter holidays, where they typically would be staying home due to exorbitant costs.

Playing in the waves in St Augustine, FL Photo Credit: Susie Kellogg

Playing in the waves in St Augustine, FL Photo Credit: Susie Kellogg

And while this is great for our bank accounts, there is a potential downside to plunging gas prices.  AAA has estimated that a whopping 35.5 million people will be hitting the road for Labor Day weekend.

More people in vehicles, means more headaches for motorists … the two literally go hand in hand.

And that is where GPS devices can come in handy. A few days ago we were traveling one of my least favorite roads, I-81 through TN, heading into VA.  Our Google Maps app notified us of a possible 30 minute delay due to construction and alerted us to a detour through the backroads.

We laughed our way past all the traffic as we cruised along the frontage roads lining the highway.  Google Maps had actually done us right this time.

But not all delays will have such easy solutions and you can probably count on the fact that you will be dealing with traffic the entire weekend.

Be Prepared.

We love RV travel because we have all the comforts of home as we barrel down the highway.  Games, books movies, snacks, meals, beds, space, etc.

But I remember the days where we traveled via car.  Might I suggest a few tricks?

Electronics

Our Verizon Wireless Jetpack keeps everyone connected. Photo Credit: Susie Kellogg

Our Verizon Wireless Jetpack keeps everyone connected. Photo Credit: Susie Kellogg

A road trip is one of those rare times when I encourage our kids to use their tablets, their phones their 20 questions …. anything that will hold their attention and give a few minutes of unadulterated peace!  Bring the arsenal, whatever you have, bring it!  Because Dan works on the road, we travel with our Verizon Jetpack so he can work, but it also doubles as a device that keeps the kids electronics connected!  If you are interested, drop Ryan at Verizon (ryan@wirelesssales.org), and email he’ll hook you up.

Car Games

I Spy, 20 questions, the license plate game, the alphabet game, the car game (identify the cars you pass on the road), etc.  Be creative and/or hit up Pinterest for some really impressive car game ideas!

Busy Work

Even in our RV, I like to pull our workbooks for the kids to use while we drive.  Geography is one of my favorites, but there are some really fun road trip books available, some are even sold in Walmart — published by Rand McNally.  I also bring crayons and coloring books, Sudoku Puzzles, Word Finds, Cross Word puzzles, etc.

Music

I don’t know about your kids, but mine LOVE to sing and “chair dance” … they just love it.  We bring tons of kid music to jam to.  It helps immensely with long car drives with little time or places to stop.  They get their wiggles out, and have lots of fun!

Snacks

I can’t reiterate this enough.  Pack lots and lots of healthy bite size snacks  Cut up apples, carrots, cheese.  Offer grapes, strawberries, blueberries, cheerios … whatever your kids will eat, bring it.  And lots and lots of water.  I also pack a secret stash of treats for when things start to get really crazy.  Candy, fruit snacks … I’ve even been known to pass out a soda or two.  All bets are off when the kids start to freak out!

And of course, with all the extra cash burning in your pockets, Labor Day vacation deals abound.

Have I missed anything? What are your great tricks of the trade for traveling via car with your kids?