21 July 2010

how-to road trip in style. part one.


HOW-TO ROAD TRIP IN STYLE part one
by marta dansie of martawrites.com

practically every other weekend since the middle of may, we've been a road tripping family. dan, benji and i pile into our car (the one with the best gas mileage) and head out for an adventure. frankly the best part of living where we do is its awesome access to all things great. and when i say great, i mean the great outdoors. another factor is that our families live only a few hours away and we like to visit them while the ground is thawed and the road is not a skating rink. thus, the road trip has become our way of life. these shots are from our most recent venture to sun valley, idaho. i'll share a few tips i have found to be helpful along the road...


the wide open roads are so inviting. take a few hours of your saturday and head out while the sun is shining. there is nothing quite like country roads to get your mind off your troubles. if it's an over-nighter, we pack the bags the night before and set them by the front door for easy loading. i also get out the cooler and set it on the counter next to the fridge. i put my cell phone, keys, wallet, camera, ipod into my tote bag, prepped to go. the next morning, after a quick breakfast, we like to head out early while we are all happy and in good moods. we usually stop to fill the tank and splurge on a special treat to enjoy on our outing.



benji likes to bring his stuffed dog and puppy along. i always pack a small tin caddy to sit next to him full of items for convenience; a few board books with flaps, little cars, a drink, a slinky, a couple diapers, craisins and crackers. he is a super good sport with all our adventuring. i like to dress him in light comfy clothes and have a lightweight blanket handy for when he falls asleep. if he starts to melt down after being on a long car ride, we sing silly songs (i now keep a nursery song book in the car these days), do finger rhymes, tickle his toes or hand him something random like a plastic water bottle to play with. the strangest things can charm a toddler!



a giant tote bag is a must-have. (this argyle bag was a gift and is from Land's End.) i set it by my feet. (a small cooler with water, string cheese, granola bars and a piece of fruit to slice up and share gets tucked behind my seat.) these are a few items i like to tote on trips: maps, an itinerary or tips about the destination, a good book, a fun magazine (perfect to flip through and still avoid getting car sick), wipes and wipes galore, tissues, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, my ipod, sunglasses, pen and notebook, a camera, small pillow and socks. i'm serious about the socks, they make all the difference to kick off your flipflops and cuddle in. a blanket or sweatshirt is super luxurious for long drives. make sure you have an extra sack to act as your garbage receptacle. dan's army knife comes in handy too, from slicing nectarines to whittling marshmallow roasting sticks, it's the perfect item to keep in the car.



we are big believers in books on tape. i always go to the library and pick out a few for our road trips. i try to pick topics that will appeal to both of us. i always get five or six so we can be have our pick while we are on the adventure. we like listening to mysteries, westerns, historical books or comedies. when it's just me driving, i love listening to parenting books, cheesy romance novels or self-help books (as in religious books, business strategies, organization or artsy books). it's a great way to pass the time. you can read about one of my all time favorite books on tape in my raving review of nora ephron. p.s. still having a tape deck in our car means we still get to listen to awesome mix tapes! if you have any nostalgic tapes you'd like to donate, i promise to put them to good use.



do not forget your camera. i repeat, do not forget your camera. (i mean, unless it's a camera-less trip, which i completely get. that can be somewhat refreshing in and of itself.) however, if you're like me, you will love having your camera at the ready to snap shots on the go. you'll shock yourself in the photos that you can take blindly (not looking in the view finder). just snap them quickly and see what comes. i love drive-by shootings. it is one of my favorite mediums. and i say medium as if i were a real artiste. just be sure the strap is safely around your neck or wrist before anything accidentally drops in the lake, mud, ice cream dessert, etc. as you can see from the photo, i prefer road trips wherein i haven't a speck of makeup on and my hair is all tied up so we can have the windows down. now off you go, enjoy the nature show.

click this link to read road trip tips part II.

add to marta's collection :: the how-to series was created to encourage confidence in creativity. to focus on what we can do rather than what we can't. i am excited to showcase your talents and unique ideas. if you have a specialty (and i know you do), please submit your how-to guest post by emailing me. marta{at}martawrites{dot}com. i will be delighted to feature your how-to. 


"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden


21 comments:

--r said...

we will be heading out to our tri-annual family reunion in 15 days. it's a 13 hour drive (not including stops), and we'll be driving with our 1.5-year-old. scary.
so i totally appreciate the tips.
btw, we love books on tape too (i keep the shopaholic series to myself though—i'm totally a sucker for books read by people with british accents ;))

Laura PARING DOWN said...

We love road trips, too!

I've taken a million...in a car, in a van, in a caravan (just noticed that caravan has car and van together, which we were), and in an rv.

We took a 10 day road trip and also packed our microwave for easy cooking in the hotel room.

Love love love traveling (and your rear view mirror pic)!

Cheers,
Laura

P.S. My sweetie and I will be driving from Houston to NYC to take my daughter's 3 cats to her in two weeks. We can't wait!!!

Hannah said...

Great tips.

I grew up in a traveling family as well. We like spending our money on vacations more than anything else. My mom always taught us to "enjoy the journey" and that "the traveling is half the fun. don't be in such a rush to get there." Sounds like you follow that mantra as well.

We also listen to books on tape. C.S. Lewis is always a favorite. And our kids love watching movies. The DVD player in our van has been a lifesaver with the older kiddos.

Eeny said...

I love road trips - but it is a way too rare happening. Your tips are great and the first picture of benji is so adorable.

Lesa said...

Thanks for your how-to series. It has been fun to read.

Also, I'm still thinking of that beautiful red velvet cake that you posted about..looks Yummy!

Lissa said...

I love to take road trips,that's how my family vacationed growing up. I love reading your blog.

brooke said...

I'm smiling as I read this because I pack all the same things. My daughter even has that same stuffed dog as Benji bear.

I took your advice and listened to Nora Ephron on my last road trip to California. She did not disappoint.

camilla said...

Wish this wonderful piece had come earlier in the summer. We just got back from a road trip from Washington to Mississippi (with three kids not yet in school). Would have loved your tips before going. Thanks for them now.

caitlin said...

Well this post couldn't be timed better for me.

This weekend we are headed to Boise for the music festival, and a bbq competition. And next weekend is our anniversary. This year instead of having an action packed trip, we have settled on a relaxing roadtrip to beautiful Sandpoint Idaho to play in the lake.

Have you been? It's gorgeous.

Travelin'Oma said...

Glad to see you back in the camera mode!

summer said...

marta, marta. it's so fun to hear your 'voice.' i love this post. you would know just how to make a road trip something smashing.

(i don't say this enough, and i think you should hear it: i LOVE your writing style. enormously. it's my favorite.)

ag. said...

i LOVE road trips! and I love all your tips! road trips are just the best in the summertime...I'm just about to blog about road trips, do you mind if I link to your blog?

Sarah said...

looks like your having a fantastically fun summer. road tripping is the best especially when prepared.
we've been traveling nearby but it's been great.
love your how to series, thanks for sharing and encouraging us all.

Sarah said...

looks like your having a fantastically fun summer. road tripping is the best especially when prepared.
we've been traveling nearby but it's been great.
love your how to series, thanks for sharing and encouraging us all.

Kelli said...

Please, please tell me where you got that tote. I love, love, totes and that's adorable with all of the inside pockets.

oneordinaryday said...

Give it up for library books! Woohoo! I loved the book in your tote. One of my top 10 favorites. Hope you enjoy it too.

G&B said...

I love this to-do series, but I have to say, I miss hearing from you everyday. I come here because I love your writing. It is inspiring and uplifting and well formed. I love all the tips, but I miss you!

This is my favorite of the series...because you wrote it!

.:kj:. said...

Love you blog! Thanks for sharing your story. Your strength during this time is inspiring.

I saw Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in your bag... it's one of my all time favorite books.

I hope your boots aren't too heavy for too long (but it's ok if they are).

holtkamp said...

thanks for this post marta. we're getting ready to move to the east coast so it couldn't have come at a better time!

Allyson said...

I have that same style bag! I'm a teacher so I carry a ton of books and supplies all the time.. and it's the best carry-all bag I've ever had.

AmberLee said...

road trips with kiddos are the best. i love that feeling of leaving it all behind and discovering something new together. looks like lots of beautiful wide open roads there. loved the final quote.

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