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Family Road Trip Hacks

We're on a road trip, so I've been using these ideas for our own family.  They're designed to make the trip easier, the hotel time smoother, and everyone happier.  What great ideas would you add to the list?

I've been rolling the kids' clothes for years.  Each of them has an "assigned" colors, so I bought colored elastic and sewed them into loops for clothes scrunchies.  Each bundle has everything the kid needs to get dressed- tops, bottoms, undies, hair accessories, whatever.  I know that it's very popular to use plastic zip bags for kids' clothes, but I really like these bundles because they're not slippery and can be stacked like firewood.  I pass out one roll to each kid, and they can dress themselves easily.

One of the difficulties with travel is washing dishes.  Even though you try not to have too many to do, there always seems to be a few that need done.  I absolutely hate packing wet dishcloths that soon turn into stinky messes that make everything around them stink.  This is my simple solution- dollar store dishcloths, cut into fourths.  I used my sewing machine to hem the raw edges a bit, but you wouldn't have to sew them.  For $2, I got eight mini dishcloths perfect for a quick wash up.  At twelve cents each, I don't mind tossing them after each use, eliminating the need for packing up wet cloths.  To make these dishcloths even more convenient, I put dish soap on them and allowed it to dry.  All set for a quick washing of a mug, knife, plastic bag, table, or whatever.

"Are we there yet?" is a classic road trip question.  Some of the motivation of that statement is from boredom and some is from not have any idea where they are or how long it will take them to get to their destination.  This map is a great solution to the "are we there yet" question.  Before our trip, I print off a map from Mapquest and add dots at certain locations to act as milestones.  Major cities, the places where we'll stop for the night, special attractions, or events like crossing a river are all good things to add to the map.  Then, I laminate it and tape it to the visor of the passenger's side.  As we pass a dot on the map, we add a sticker or cross it out with a marker.  We can use the picture to talk about where we've been, where we're going, when we'll stop the car, etc.  It gives my kids a lot of peace to know where they are in the world.

I got an amazing deal on this no-pill fleece fabric in all the kids' colors.  After hemming the fabric on all sides, I added a piece of wide elastic in a loop to one edge.  The blanket can be rolled up and secured with the elastic, making it easy to carry and store.  The kids are very excited about their new blankets, and I'm happy about how easy it was to create.  I also made them matching pillows.

I think I saw this idea on Pinterest, but I'm not sure who originally thought of it.  The kids are eating microwave mac and cheese in the hotel while sitting at the ironing board.  I cut a rectangular tablecloth in half so it would fit on the narrow counter, and used it to cover the board.  Not only did the tablecloth make the ironing board seem more like a table, but it also protected the fabric surface from food stains and grease.  The tablecloth could also be used on the floor to create an indoor picnic or at a rest stop for a real picnic.

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