Over ten years. Almost 193,00 miles. All around the country. My 2007 Chevy Equinox served me well. I loved that car. I regret not taking more pictures with it at stops along our road trips. That car saw a lot of the American landscape. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the car was a member of the family, but it did protect and serve my family for a long time.
So, after lots of saving, planning for our largest (to date!) summer road trip for 2018, and seeing great incentives from Chevrolet, my husband and I decided to purchase a new car. My husband’s family has been faithful Chevrolet drivers for over thirty years, and we like the team at our local dealership, Maritime Chevrolet in Fairfield, Connecticut. They had a 2018 Premier Chevrolet Equinox on the lot; we test drove it and were hooked.
If you’re hitting the road next week, or in the new year, check out my tips about packing a car here. I thought I would share some news discoveries I am using for the new Equinox. Here are four more tips for outfitting your car for children:
1. Car organizer: When you travel with children, you need (and acquire!) a lot of stuff. My new Equinox has a decent amount of storage compartments (I am loving the new one in the trunk!), but the kids still need to be within reach of a lot of stuff. I ordered this tote from Mark and Graham and it fits perfectly between my two children’s seats. Mark and Graham has a couple of different sizes and pattern options- some even have coolers!
2. Seat protectors: my children still use booster seats, and in the past, I have placed a towel underneath the car seats to protect the seat fabric. However, I recently found these covers from Eddie Bauer. They have full size covers for car seats for younger children, as well as covers for just the booster seats. With elastic bands to wrap around headrests and avoid seat buckles, they are super easy to take off to clean and put back. Bonus: most protectors have pockets underneath.
3. Extra set of floor mats: For now, I went with the fabric ones and not rubber. It’s easy to pull them out and shake them off or vacuum them. I bought a cut-to-size one for the trunk and it’s working out well. When I sold the 2007 Equinox, I threw out the top layer of mats, and the originals looked brand new.
4. Muffin tin liners in the cup holder: The cup holders in my old Equinox did not come apart for cleaning. It took a mini vacuum, sponge, wipes, and Q-tips to get every crumb from every bagel (ok, bagel, pretzel, chip, cookie… you get the idea) I ate in the car. These liners (typically used in muffin tins) fit perfectly, capture every crumb, and take very little effort and expense.
A reminder of my must have items for road trippin’ with children:
1. Ziplock Bags: I always tuck Ziplock bags (snack, quart, and gallon size) in the pocket of my driver’s side door. Ziplock bags have so many uses: they corral small pieces for games or decks of cards in one place, hold little mementos from impromptu trips to the beach, keep trash in one space, and easily make quick ice packs with ice from the cooler. Ziplock bags also work much better than open grocery bags in the case of car sickness.
2. Back up supplies: I keep rain ponchos, two compact umbrellas, a tool set, and tire pressure gage tucked in the glove compartment. I have a hard copy of the name, address, and phone number of wherever we are headed, in case something happens to my phone. I also have a small tupperware container filled with quarters in the armrest between the driver and passenger. While most states now participate in electronic toll pay, and most big cities allow you to charge parking meter fees to your credit cards, there are some states and places that only accept exact change.
3. Extra clothes: I pack an entire outfit for the children (down to underwear and socks) and sweatshirt and socks for my husband and I in ziplock bags and store those under the back seat. If our luggage is at the hotel and we’re out and get caught in a rainstorm, or find an unexpected sprinkler park during a bathroom stop, we don’t have to unpack the trunk and suitcases to find a change of clothes. We also use the undercarriage of our back seat as a shoe closet. For each trip, each family member brings three pairs of shoes: sneakers, dressier shoes, and flip-flops. We use the sneakers on a daily basis, and if we need to change shoes, we do it in the car – one less thing to lug around, and one less thing to get our other clothes messy.
4. Entertaining the kids: Our favorite activity is the license plate game. My son, whom we affectionately named Eagle Eyes, loves spotting license plates from various states. We can easily play I Spy Bingo with this set, and playing the game inevitably opens up discussion about the terrain and geographical aspects of a region. Each child has a lap desk to organize writing and art materials. We encourage the kids to journal each day – which is a great way to practice their writing skills and have a fun memento of the trip. Under the cooler in the back seat, we pack a picnic blanket, frisbee, and some sort of catch game. These items are great if we stop at a park or beach for a picnic lunch and need to burn off some energy.
5. Staying clean: I keep a tub of Lysol wipes, a box of Kleenex, and a bottle of baby powder. in the car organizer. After a day at the beach, sprinkling baby powder on sandy feet will make cleaning up easy.
Wishing you happy (and safe!) travels this holiday season!