How to Plan an Amazing Family Road Trip | With FREE Road Trip Planner

How to Plan an Amazing Family Road Trip | With FREE Road Trip Planner

Planning an amazing family road trip? Well, you’re in the right place!

If you’re taking a family road trip to a specific destination or doing a roundabout trip, memories are bound to be made.

As a kid, the youngest of 6, we would road trip anywhere we were going because flying was too expensive.

My family road-tripped to Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. We even rented an RV in Alaska and drove around for a couple of weeks. That was a long and eventful road trip I will never forget.

Now, we live in the Dallas Texas area and pretty much road-tripped around the whole state too. After all, Texas is the second-largest state and there’s so much to do and see. Driving to Port Aransas, Texas from Dallas is a 7 to 8-hour drive depending on how many stops and how fast you drive.

I remember as a kid getting so excited about family road trips. My parents would always find cool places to stop along the way. Some of these places included a cool car museum on the way to Tennessee and the Inner Space Caverns to name a couple. Plus, all the games, music, movies, and family time were what I looked forward too.

Now, family road trips always tested our relationships. But in the end, they made us stronger and more connected.

So, when you’re planning consider these ideas to help you prepare for a family road trip. They will get you started in making it one of the most memorable vacations ever! Including the best road trip planner app to use.

So, let’s get started!

Types of Road Trips

First, let’s discuss the three types of road trips you can take.

1. A Destination Road Trip. This is the main type of road trip my family would take. We always had a single destination that we headed too. For example, Dallas, Texas to Phoenix, Arizona where my grandmother lived. We took this trip many times growing up.

2. A Round-About Road Trip. This is the kind of trip where your ending destination brings you back home. These are fun because the whole idea of the road trip is to stop at interesting places. For example, there are some great National Park Roundabout Itineraries. You can check this awesome week-long Round-About Itinerary through the National Parks in Utah created by Nextdestinationunknown.com.

3. A One-way Road trip. We never took this type of trip because we always came back home. But, if you’re moving to a new city or state, this a single destination road trip.

Now that you know what type of road trip you will be making, consider who is coming and plan the route!

Consider who’s coming along

This is an important step because everyone has different tastes and ideas of fun.

Some people may hate the idea of taking a road trip to their vacation destination and others love it. When you understand who’s coming along, you’ll be able to plan better.

Plan the Route

Planning your route ahead of time helps you understand time, mileage, gas, and where you will need or want to stop.

There are plenty of sites and apps that can help you out with this including Google Maps.

But, there is one website/app I enjoy and recommend called Roadtrippers.com. Here is a link and if you want to get the Pro Version, use this code for $5 off. (BTR5QTP)

It’s perfect for anyone planning a trip and used by a lot of full-time traveling RVers.

Plan Cool and interesting places to stop

By using the Roadtrippers app you’ll be able to see the different places that you can stop along the way. The map highlights interesting places like Museums, Outdoor and recreation areas, and more.

When my family road tripped through Austin, we would always stop for an hour or so at the Inner Space Caverns. Stopping and exploring the caverns is a memory I will never forget!

Take your time

I know how tempting it is to see the time on the google maps directions and try to beat it. Also, I know there are some who only like to stop when someone must use the bathroom or get gas.

Depending on the type of road trip you are taking, I suggest you take your time. Enjoy the drive, the scenery, and if you do stop don’t be afraid to linger around and explore.

Like I said before, we use to stop at some cool places like the inner space caverns. We would spend an hour or so exploring.

Create a playlist

This is a must! I remember as a kid, way back in 1999 or 2000 my best friend and I would listen to the radio all day with blank cassette tapes. As soon as a song we liked came on the radio we would hit record. That is how we use to make road trip playlists.

Then came CD players, MP3 players, iPods, and now there is Apple Music and Pandora on our Phones.

Creating Playlists is super easy today! Also, the availability of music is world-wide, so get creative and have fun.

Pack healthy Snacks

Packing healthy snacks for your road trip is a great idea! It will prevent spending too much on gas station junk food.

Another plus to packing healthy snacks is no one gets a tummy ache from eating too many chips or candy.

Tip: Make Sandwiches ahead of time and pack easy options like apples, pears, grapes, and more. There are also some great applesauce pouches for kids you can purchase as well. These are great ideas to keep everyone happy, healthy, and full!

Bring a case of water

Seriously, this is the best advice because a case of water is like $4 or less. But if buy water at rest stops, you’re looking at 4 bottles of water for $1 or more each.

That’s a waste of money for water.

You can even pack some soda or juice boxes. Whatever the family or those joining on the road trip choice of beverage.

Don’t forget the Cooler

You will definitely want to bring along a cooler to keep your drinks cold. It doesn’t have to be anything large, just something that can fit a few drinks.

There are so many options to choose from including coolers that can plug into your 12v in the car. This eliminates the need for ice!

You can also choose a cooler bag that attaches to the back of the seat. There are now so many options to keep organized and keep your family road trip drinks cold.


Check the Weather

Depending on what time of year you will be traveling and also your desired destination, it will determine the weather. Winter brings a lot of snow and icy conditions, while spring can bring flooding.

Therefore it’s important to check the weather before you head out so you’re not surprised if you hit a storm.

Play Road Trip Games

We all know the classic games like iSpy or Slug Bug. These were my favorite road trip games to play. They kept us busy and having fun along the way.

If we weren’t playing those types of games, we had our handheld game systems like Nintendos.

Today almost everyone has a phone with downloadable app games. However, there are still some really cool handheld devices like the Nintendo Switch for kids who don’t have phones.

Tip: I suggest downloading some games on your phone while you have WiFi before you leave.


Watch some Movies

Some vehicles have DVD players already installed. However, you can always purchase one like this that you can take anywhere with you. These are great for all ages.

A movie is on average an hour in a half to two hours long. The time length is a great way to make a couple of hours go by, especially if anyone begins to get moody or tired.


Enjoy the opportunity to be together

This is one of my favorite reasons why I love taking road trips. It brings everyone closer together! Yes, there may be some arguments along the way but that’s a part of the experience.

I reflect back on all the Road Trips we took as a family growing up and they are some of my favorite memories. Family Road Trips are vacations that your kids will remember forever.

Get started in planning your family road trip with the downloaded and editable road trip planner below! 

Final Thoughts

Like I’ve said plenty of times, I LOVE taking Road Trips! They are fun and they get everyone out of the house and exploring. After all it’s great to explore new sights.

I hope you feel inspired and ready to plan your next road trip. Stay safe out there, take your time, and enjoy exploring!

What are some of your favorite road trip memories? Share below, I love good road trip stories!

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25 Gift Ideas for the Adventurous and Outdoorsy Men in your Life

25 Gift Ideas for the Adventurous and Outdoorsy Men in your Life

Father’s day is right around the corner and I know there are many dads out there that enjoy the great outdoors. If you have an outdoorsy father or husband then this list of gift ideas is for you.

My dad is definitely an outdoorsy guy that loves to camp and fish during the summer. He drives 3 hours north to Broken Bow, Oklahoma to go tent camping and trout fishing. It is his downtime to breathe, relax, and do something he loves.

Maybe that’s why I love camping, fishing, hiking, and the great outdoors myself. After all, I am Daddy’s little girl!

But, what kind of gifts do you buy your father or the father of your children that you know they will love?

Well, here are some great ideas for campers, hikers, fishers, hunters, and ideas for those who enjoy grilling out to get you started. Everything can be found directly on Amazon and comes with super fast shipping if you’re an Amazon Prime Member.

 

Camping Gifts for Dads

Does your dad or husband enjoy camping? Are they always looking for the next best camping gear to enhance their camping experience?

Camping for many men is a hobby like fishing or hunting. The idea of getting to sleep in a tent, cook outside, and build a fire is honest fun while also being educational and fulfilling.

So, here are the best camping gift ideas for the outdoorsy men in your life.

Sorison Large Puffy Camping Blanket

This outdoor Blanket by SORISON is perfect for camping or any outdoor activities. It’s waterproof, durable, and easy to carry anywhere. Plus, it is machine washable! 

Light Weight Double Camping Hammock

Great to enjoy a nice nap during the day or even skip the tent and snooze outdoors.

 

Waterproof Super Bright Head Lamp

Being able to see during the darkness in the woods is vital. It’s an extra plus when you don’t have to hold a flashlight and instead have a super bright headlight to illuminate your camping site.

Waterproof Fire-Starting Lighter

 This lighter is great for the camping dads to be able to start a fire anywhere.


Solar Powered Camping Tent Light

Forget the batteries! Get your dad a solar-charged tent light to have when camping.

Campsite Storage Strap

This is amazing! Keeping things off the ground and easily being able to hang a lantern is a camping plus.

Hiking Gifts for Dads

My dad grew up hiking the Grand Canyon of all places. He lived just a couple hours away in Arizona and growing up him and his brothers would hike every weekend they could. It was some of the best adventures of his life.

If you have a Dad that loves to hike, enjoys new trails and challenges, then here are some great gift ideas for those outdoorsy men!

Folding Camping Chair | Backpack | Cooler

Everything about this is perfect for the hiking dad.

Genius Foldable Waterbottle

Perfect for day hikes and easy to carry and store once empty.

TrailBuddy Trekking Poles

Perfect adventure gift for your avid hiker Dad.

Timberland Waterproof Ankle Boot

My dad lives in these boots. They are great for hiking or everyday activities.

Engraved Compass

Perfect gift for a dad who enjoys sentimental items that are also very useful.

 

Waterproof and Breathable Hiking Socks

The perfect socks to keep your dad’s feet from blistering during a long hiking trip.

Grilling Gifts for Dads

I feel like grilling is the man’s cooking zone. Not to say women can’t grill either but for some reason, men just love to grill over the open fire. Who doesn’t like some delicious BBQ Grilled Chicken or a Juicy T-Bone Steak?

If the Dad in your life enjoys cooking out, here are some great gift ideas!

7 Piece Smoker Kit

My dad loves to smoke brisket in his smoker! It’s a great gift for the grilling dad.

Grillfather Apron

Perfect for the father who likes to make a statement.

Bluetooth Meat Thermometer

Your Dad can keep an eye on the temperature of the meat straight from his phone with this cool thermometer.

BBQ Grill Accessories Set

What’s a grill master without an amazing grill set? this is perfect for the Dad in your life. 

 

Fishing Gifts for Dads

Fishing is another great outdoor activity that a lot of men enjoy doing. My father, my brother in law, and my brother love to fishing. I even love to go fishing. Some of the best fishing I’ve ever done was in Alaska when I fished for Salmon and Halibut.

If you have a fisherman in your life, these are the best fishing gift ideas you can purchase on Amazon.

Vision Outdoor-Fishing Fanny Pack for Him

Perfect gift for the dad who likes to fish and be able to easily carry his bait, hooks, and beer.

Reelsonar Bluetooth Wireless Bobber Fish Finder

Probably that coolest fishing gear tech gadget to date! This device will help your dad find the fish underwater without wasting time.


Canvas Fishing Rod and Reel Organizer Carry Bag 

The perfect fishing gear organizer that is easy to carry to remote fishing spots.

Fishing Chest Waders for Men

Everyone fisherman will benefit from having chest-high waders. Especially when they’re fishing in rivers. This is a great gift!

Hunting Gifts for Dads

My brother is a huge hunter! When I told him about this post, he gave me a list of wishes to consider for those hunters including new thermos and gift cards.

I definitely took his considerations when creating these Gift Ideas for Outdoorsy Men. I hope your hunter will enjoy these as well!

Men’s Thermal Underwear Set

Perfect to keep him warm during the freezing hunting seasons.

APEMAN Trail Camera

Every Hunter NEEDS a trail camera! This helps them know when the game is coming to certain locations.

Shooting Wild | Waterproof Range Finder

This is such a great gift idea for hunters. It helps them calculate the distance for shooting.

Trail Camera Viewer SD Card Reader

This card reader is perfect for being on the go and wanting to quickly check the camera’s video.

Amazon Gift Card

If you’re still unsure, you can’t go wrong with a gift card!

I hope these Gift Ideas for Outdoorsy Men in your life are exactly what you are looking for. Make your dad or significant other feels special and blessed to be a dad.

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Best DEET-Free Bug Repellent for Outdoor Adventures

Best DEET-Free Bug Repellent for Outdoor Adventures

Looking for a Bug Repellent that is also DEET-Free? You’ve come to the right place!

Have you ever been so excited to spend a nice day outside with your family or wanted to enjoy sitting by the campfire roasting s’ mores, but ended up getting bit by bugs every second? It’s not fun!

Outdoor adventures should be fun and enjoyable, however, they can be instantly ruined by bugs. It’s only right to want the best bug repellent on the market to protect your family and friends.

Whether those bugs are buzzing mosquitos and flies or the pesky fleas and ticks. These little things are a nuisance to everybody, and some can carry nasty diseases.

So, If you’re going on a great outdoor camping adventure, backpacking, enjoying a backyard party, or going to the ball game, having bug protection is going to help make sure you have a great time.

Over the years, there have been many different studies and products on the market that say they repel bugs. But, are they safe? Are they effective?

First, let’s discuss this main ingredient that has been used to deter bugs for decades called DEET! This chemical is a popular one, however, although it is proven to deter bugs, it also has some health concerns.

DEET is a pesticide that is a member of the toluene chemical family. This solvent can be absorbed into the skin, passed through the bloodstream and organs. Studies by Medical Sciences Bulletin and Duke University have shown that DEET can even have a negative effect on the Central nervous system. They say the best way to use DEET is to spray on your clothes, not your skin.

Now that you have a small overview of DEET and the reason why so many have developed products that are DEET-Free, we’ve put together a list of the top 8 DEET-Free products that deter those pesky bugs. Many of these are natural options utilize ingredients like Lemon oil and Eucalyptus oil. Below you will also find a recipe to make your very own Natural Bug Repellent.

Let’s get started! I placed them In order by ranking according to their star reviews. 

7. Coleman Botanicals Insect Repellent

Naturally based, DEET- Free option that uses plant extracts that deter bugs. Stated to last up to 6 hours with 30% Oil of Lemon and Eucalyptus. This product can be used on your gear of any kind as well as your clothes and skin. It has a refreshing scent of lemon/eucalyptus and is non-greasy. Proven to deter mosquitoes that contain deadly viruses such as Zika and West Nile. The Coleman Botanical Insect Repellent comes in a spray or an aerosol option and is great for the whole family.

Where to buy: Amazon

Review: 4 out of 5 Stars

6. California Baby Bug Repellent Spray

The California Baby spray is the best bug repellant for children. It is a great alternative to the toxicity of DEET. It is formulated with Citronella, lemongrass and Cedar pure essential oils. These oils have been proven to deter mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and other biting flies. Beside deterring those pesky bugs, the ingredients are great for soothing already existing bites. California’s Baby Bug Repellent is allergy tested, gluten-free, soy-free, oat-free, and dairy-free. You can use this product day or night and can be used generously for the scent to repel the bugs.

Where to Buy: Amazon

Reviews: 4.1 out of 5 stars

5. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent (Deet-Free)

If you can’t tell by the name itself, this repellent uses Lemon Eucalyptus oil as the main ingredient to deter bugs. Repel has formulated this repellent to last up to 6 hours and is safe for the whole family to use. It has a great refreshing scent and is none greasy to sticky.

Where to Buy: Amazon

Reviews: 4.1 out of 5 stars out of 5,183 reviews

4. Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent

Murphy’s Natural Repellent is made with simple ingredients including 30% Lemon Eucalyptus oil and 70% Ethanol and Deionized water. This product is effective for up to 6 hours and smells great which is why it has made our best bug repellent list. It won’t leave any type of oily resident and won’t harm your gear or clothing. A great option for outdoor adventures.

Where to buy: Amazon

Reviews: 4.2 out of 5 stars

3. Bug Soother Spray – Natural Mosquito, Gnat, and Insect Deterrent & Repellent with Essential Oils

Bug Soother is a super effective all-natural bug repellent that repels gnats, no-see-ums, sand fleas, black flies and most mosquitos. It is blended with vanilla with fresh citrus scents that the bugs hate. It is non-greasy and leaves no oily residue. This product has also been used on animals to help deter flies and other insects from biting your precious pets. 100% DEET-free and made with skin-loving ingredients including castor oil and vitamin E.

Where to purchase: Amazon

Reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars

2. BUGGINS Natural Insect Repellent 0% DEET

This is a great Plant-Based option with active ingredients such as geraniol, peppermint, lemongrass, and clove. It is a great option for anyone wanting to stay natural ingredients and away from all chemical ingredients like DEET. This option lasts for about 2 hours before needing to re-apply. It is the best bug repellent to deter black flies, deer flite, stable flies, biting gnats, and mosquitos.

Where you can purchase: Amazon

Review: 4.5 stars out of 5

1. Mosquito Repellent Bracelets and Stickers

These are one of my favorite options, especially when you have children. This prevents having to coat the little ones with any kind of spray. The bracelets and stickers are the best bug repellent for all ages. Plus, they are colorful and kids love them. You can wear the coiled bracelets that are coated with natural repellent oils such as Citronella and Lemongrass on your ankles and wrists. They each have up to 320 hours of protection and are waterproof.

The Stickers are an extra added bonus to add you’re your shirts, pants, or any gear you want to keep safe from bugs.

Where to buy: Amazon

Reviews: 5 stars

Homemade Essential Oil Bug Repellent

Now that we have discussed 7 of the best bug repellents you can purchase that are DEET-free for the whole family, here is a nice homemade DEET free, all Natural, recipe that you can make at home.

If you have access to the amazing essential oils from great companies like Young Living or Doterra, then making your own bug repellent maybe your greatest option. The best oils that repel bugs naturally are Citronella, Lavender, Geranium, lemon/eucalyptus, and rosemary oil.

By mixing these oils with some white vinegar, witch hazel, and some rubbing alcohol this will create the best homemade natural bug repellent. Here is a simple recipe you can try yourself.

Also, It is best when you mix these ingredients into a glass spray bottle and then use as desired. Glass is better because it prevents the plastic from deteriorating into the oil mixture.

  • 30 drop of Citronella
  • 30 drops of Geranium
  • 20 drops of Lavender
  • 20 drops of Lemon/eucalyptus
  • 10 drops of rosemary
  • 1 TBSP of Rubbing Alcohol
  • 1/2 cup of Witch Hazel
  • 1/2 cup of Vinegar (or water)

Whichever option you choose, any one of these is great!

After all, staying safe and away from chemicals that can potentially harm you and your children is just as important as deterring the bugs that can potentially carry diseases.

Have a friend or family member who spends a lot of time outside or enjoys their outdoor adventures, please share the awesome DEET-free bug repellents with them!

Thanks for stopping by! If you’ve tried any one of these options, I would love to hear your experience! Comment below!


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