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What Essentials Will You Need For Your Next Family Roadtrip

Road Trip Essentials

Do you love going on a roadtrip with the family? Do you love planning all the essential items you need to take on a roadtrip, to make everyone happy? Are you afraid of forgetting to pack essential items for the roadtrip? It could be overwhelming. But don’t fret. I’m sure I can help you out in that department.

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Roadtrips are a wonderful time for the family to be together and have fun. It’s a time to really bond as a family. It’s a time to forget about all your worries and troubles and just enjoy each other’s company.

Get Set For Summer at Lulus!

I always loved going on road trips as a child, with my family.  Whether it was a short trip to the beach or an hour away to see friends or all the way to Chicago to visit family, it was always an exciting adventure for me and my brothers. Back in the day, that’s how we did most of our traveling. . . by car.

My favorite road trip, of course, was our 13-hour trip to Chicago.  My brothers and I in the back of our Ford Station Wagon and our parents waaaay in the front, taking turns driving.  We would leave early in the morning. Our parents plopped us in the back and we would continue sleeping. My favorite line would be: “Are we there yet?” 🙂 . . . As we were barely out of the city. I know . . .cheesy right? I was excited. What can I say?

We made many stops along the way. There are so many beautiful little gems of picnic areas that we would stop at to stretch our legs and have something to eat.  My mom was a pro at knowing what to take on our road trips.  She packed a cooler full of fruits and juices, cold cuts, a loaf of bread, condiments, Mostly healthy stuff. Nowadays our main go-to snacks chocolate-covered pretzels or yogurt-covered almonds, potato chips, etc. 🙂

As we got older, we continued these road trips. This time we all took turns driving. That was even more exciting. I loved driving (still do). I loved driving on long trips. We made the same stops (I mean the exact same spots) and reminisced about the time we spent there in the past. It was still as beautiful as ever. The large trees and an endless amount of grass area and picnic tables.

We even took a road trip when we were in Florida. We flew to Daytona Beach and half-way through our trip we rented a van and drove to Disney World. Now that I look back, my parents loved roadtrips. 🙂

Just before I met my husband, I went on the most memorable trip to California with a group of great girlfriends. I wrote a post about that trip that you can find here. While on that trip, we rented a car in San Fransisco and drove along the Pacific Coast Highway. OMG . . . was that the roadtrip of a lifetime. I hope to replicate that trip someday soon.

Venice, Italy

When we went to Croatia for the first time (for my brothers and I) in 1975, we took a roadtrip to Venice. WOW! That was an amazing road trip and far. Part of it wasn’t the greatest. I wasn’t feeling too good. Probably car sick. That’s another item you need to put on your list – motion sickness meds.

If you suffer from motion sickness there may be a few things you could try to help you prevent it from being severe. Something to keep you a lot more calm and relaxed. Here are a few things you could try before taking any medication:

Preventing Motion Sickness Tips:

  1. Always sit in a position where your eyes are always seeing the same motion that your body and inner ear feel
  2. Do not read in a car
  3. In a car, sit in the front seat and look out the front and set your sights in the distance
  4. On a ship, move towards the front and look out into the distance
  5. On a plane, look out the window and/or sit by the wing where there is less motion to feel
  6. Do not look at or talk to someone who is experiencing motion sickness
  7. Avoid spicy or greasy foods before and after your trip
  8. Close your eyes, relax and enjoy the ride

That’s why I don’t remember too much about the trip. Thank God for the photos that were taken. It helps me remember a little. Remember to take lots and lots of photos on your road trips. Living in the digital era is sooooo much easier . . . regarding photos. I will teach you all about that in a future post: how to organize all your photos.

Now flash forward some 30 – 40 years (yikes!!! – has it really been that long ago?) When our daughter was 2 years old and son 6 years old, we also took them on a road trip to Chicago to visit family.  We thought it was going to be dicey to take a two-year-old on a 13-hour road trip.  But it was fine.  No problems what-so-ever. 

Oh . . . I left one thing out.  Our van has a movie screen built-in.  Thank goodness for technology these days.  A lot of things sure did change from when we were younger. Now that I think about it. What kept us entertained when we were kids going on road trips? Oh, I know. It was my one-liners: “Are we there yet?” LOL!!

Explore Europe and Americas

My husband and I have been on the same path in raising our kids from the get-go. We vowed to always spend time with the kids, do things together, play in the park with them, go see their soccer games and always, always travel together. It is getting harder though, now that they are older (20 and 16). But, we just got back from a European trip we took together, where there was a road trip in between. (I will share that in an upcoming post. So stay tuned!)

As I have said in previous posts, I learned a lot from my mother.  The one thing I learned was how to organize things, make lists and plan ahead.  You should make a list of the essentials you will need on your particular road trip. You don’t want to wait until it’s time to pack up the vehicle and wonder: “What do I need to take?”

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    I have made a list of the things that I think we need on the road trips I take with my family.  And I want to share it with you. And I will leave a lot of space for you to fill in things that are essential for your family road trips.


    First Aid Kit
    Ice Pack

    Bread Knife

    Plastic Picnic Plates
    Plastic Cutlery
    Wet Ones Wipes

    Road Map
    Cell Phone Charger
    Neck Pillow
    Travel Pillow
    Save up to 60% on all Grocery Deals

    Other Roadtrip Essentials:

    1. Passport – if you are crossing the border to the U.S. you will def need one
    2. Motion Sickness Medication – check with your doctor what the best one for you is.
    3. Camera – never forget your camera
    4. Camera cards – I know everyone has their phones but do you really want to fill up your phone with countless photos and if something happens to your phone all your photos are gone!! My worst fear.

    Extra Cooler Items:

    1. Formula or milk – for your little ones
    2. Juices – or pop (for older kids)
    3. Water Bottles – probably the best beverage
    4. Sandwiches – or bring a loaf of bread and some cold cuts and make the sandwich at your picnic stop
    5. Fruit – we had grapes and took them off the vines and into a Tupperware for easier access for the kids when they were young.
    180x150 logo - Sfly

    The main point I want to drive along to you in this post is to do more with your family. Create some bonding time. Make more time for family-time. Once the kids are older like mine, it gets harder and harder to do things together. The young adults want to go off with their friends more. They also have a part-time job now.

    Yes, it makes me sad. But that’s life. I’m pretty sure we all did it. My family time with my parents and brothers were so special to me. And that is why I created the same family unit of my own.

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    You Need To Do This Before You Travel Abroad

    Vacation Abroad

    Thinking of going on summer vacation abroad?  It’s a big step.  When you plan a trip like this, it will not only be for a week.  You will need at least 2 weeks to enjoy the beauty and history of Europe.  With this kind of vacation, there is so much to plan.  And you want to take everything you own.  Am I right? 

    Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need too much:

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    Grab Your FREE Travel Checklist

    Subscribe Now to get my FREE Travel Checklist. Once you reach your destination rest assured that you have everything you need to have a memorable vacation.
    Start planning your trip NOW !!

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      I’m sure you have made a list or wrote on sticky notes of all the things you need to take for your vacation. Am I right? I know it helps me if I either write things down or follow a checklist, I will feel at ease that I know what I am taking with me. And if you are taking kids, you also have to plan to take their things as well.

      Preparing Your Home

      When you go on vacation abroad, it will be for a long time. And you want to secure your home the best way you can. You’re lucky if you have family close by to oversee your home. But if you don’t, it’s important to prepare your home before you go on vacation. Do you ever plan for the things you need to do before you leave for vacation, like what do you do with the mail while you are away?


      tips on securing your home

      • Re-route mail
      • Close water to fridge water supply (if you have)
      • Turn off the water completely
      • Turn off the air conditioning
      • Secure valuables in your home safe or at a bank safety deposit box
      • Make sure all garbage is put to the curb for collection
      • Tell your neighbors to pick up your newspapers or suspend it while you are away
      • Tell your neighbors to park in your driveway – make it seem someone is home
      • Put your indoor lights on a timer
      • Put outdoor lights on a timer
      • Ask your neighbors if they can water your lawn once in a while – keep grass from turning yellow
      • Remove potted plants into the shade or indoors – you stand a chance of reviving them when you come back
      • When leaving, bolt the doors, turn your alarm on and quickly go out through the garage.
      Why stay in a hotel when you can stay in a Luxury Beach House for Less?

      We have traveled a lot over the years and these tips are all steps we take when we go away. Whether we are going away for a weekend or we are going to Europe, we follow this list of tips.

      countdown before you Travel Abroad

      6 Months before you Travel Abroad:

      • Check if your passport is still valid.  Make sure it is at least 6 months valid from the date you leave before the expiration date
      • If going to a foreign country where you do not understand the language perhaps learn a few words or sentences.  After all, what do you have to lose?  For me:  I always love learning new things

      3 Months before you Travel Abroad:

      • Don’t forget to ask for the time off ahead of time before you book your trip.
      • Book your trip. Perhaps even earlier.  Wouldn’t hurt.  The earlier you book, the cheaper your air fare will be.
      Fall In Love With

      1 Month before you Travel Abroad:

      • make a list of all the things you need for your trip . . . ex. Travel-size shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc.
      • speak to your neighbors to see if they could take care of picking up your newspaper from the driveway, etc.
      • make plans to reroute your mail

      2 weeks before you Travel Abroad:

      • plan out your itinerary if you are going to visit different cities on your vacation
      • go out and buy the necessities you need to take, for ex: toiletries
      • if you don’t already have it, you need to buy comfortable, weather-permitting clothes.  As a heads-up, most of Europe is very hot in the summer.  Take it from me, you do not need a lot of clothes.  Only take cotton-based summer clothes.  Keep it casual and take shorts and light shirts or sleeveless. 
      • Buy comfortable walking shoes.  You will be doing a lot of walking. 
      • make sure you know how many bags and the weight you are allowed to take on your flight
      • Make sure you have a good suitcase.  Do not wait until the last minute as I did and find out the suitcase is too big and too heavy along with your clothes. My suitcase was (not kidding) half empty and it still went over the limit.  I panicked and went out to buy a new suitcase the day before flying.  All that panic and money spent, it would have been wiser to just go with what I had and pay any overage fee if that was the case.  Lesson learned.  Please take heed.  Funny now but then . . . yikes.  Can you say “crazy lady”?  That was me. But I got two pretty suitcases from the debacle. LOL!!

      1 week before you Travel Abroad:

      • Start putting together the clothes you plan on taking somewhere in your bedroom.  Pack away clothes (like shorts, a bathing suit, tank tops) into your suitcase.  You should follow a checklist like the one I have here
      • Pack away toiletries – buy travel-size it will fit better in a suitcase. 

      1-2 days before you Travel Abroad:

      • Double-check you have packed everything you need.  Go over your list. Make sure all the items are checked. But do not go overboard.  Remember it gets very hot in most of Europe.  Learn from my mistakes (lol).  Pack more shorts, light capris, tank tops, sleeveless tops, etc.  Pack more cotton-based clothes (breathable)

      So, there you have it.  If you follow these simple and easy quick tips, you will be very organized for this trip of a lifetime.  There is no doubt you will have an awesome vacation. You will rest assured that your home is secure and you have everything with you that you will need. You will be ready to go back next year. 


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      California Dreaming: Find Out Why We’re So Excited

      Escape to California

      I want to share with you why I am so excited to celebrate and why I am California dreaming. I have traveled to many places over the years. But none stand out more than my trip, with 3 other girlfriends, to California. It was the other day that, just out of the blue, I thought back to that trip of a lifetime. And you know what I realized?

      *This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link

      Next year marks the 25th Anniversary of that awesome trip we took to California. I hope to connect with one of my girlfriends who also got married and had two 2 daughters.  I am proposing we take our daughters to commemorate that trip.  Time will tell.

      Dyson Canada Limited

      I have always loved to travel.  My first ever trip was on a train.  I was very young.  I don’t even remember where we were going.  I just vaguely remember being on a train.

      When I was 11 years old, the whole family went to Croatia.  My parents’ homeland.  My parents grew up just down the street from each other.  My dad was 10 years older than my mom, so it wasn’t until he came to Canada and went back that he noticed her and not long after married her.

      That first trip to Croatia was the beginning of many, many more.  I love my heritage.  More on my travels to Croatia in another post I’m working on. 😊

      I travelled a lot around Ontario.  I have also been to Chicago where my relatives live (mom’s side).  I love going to see family there.  Such a long car trip but you get used to it.  Been there many times.  Love downtown Chicago and all the shops 😊 of course.

      Been to a few other cities in the US but very short stay.  I belonged to a Croatian folklore group in Sudbury and travelled a lot to perform.  Our favourite was California – San Jose, San Diego.  But didn’t get to see too much.

      It wasn’t until I was a little older, that I went back to California with some of my girlfriends.  Now THAT was one of my favorite trips then.  There’s some special history on this trip.  This is why I’m so excited. I couldn’t believe it.

      There are so many things to see in California.  Our main cities of interest were San Francisco, Napa Valley County, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.  Our plan was to fly to San Francisco, check out the sites there, rent a car, visit the wine country and then (my favorite) drive along the coast to L.A. 

      It’s always a good idea to plan ahead.  We had everything organized.  It was going to be an awesome 10 days. We even had bought tickets to go see the Tonight Show when it was in L.A. hosted by Jay Leno.  And a whole slew of other goodies.

      I have prepared an itinerary for you to record all your travel information so you will be well prepared for your exciting vacation.

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      Get planning, get organized, so you can relax and enjoy your amazing vacation knowing all your information is one handy place.

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        Here is our 10-Day Itinerary of our San Francisco – Los Angeles – Las Vegas trip.


        Day 1:

        • Famous Streetcar – we just had to ride the historic streetcar down Market Street. You have to try it. You cannot go to San Francisco without taking a ride on the streetcar or cable cars. They have been around since the 1930s. This is me and my girlfriends jumping on a streetcar. This is what happens when you trust someone else taking the photo (grrr) LOL!
        • Shopping, dinner – plenty of shopping on Market Street and for dinner we ended up going to a fine Italian-dining restaurant, Kuleto’s Restaurant.

        Day 2:

        • Fisherman’s Wharf – It is one of San Francisco’s busiest tourist spots. It has various shops and restaurants. We had a great time exploring all the shops.
        • Alcatraz – This was a famous prison on an island offshore from the San Francisco Bay. The prison housed prisoners with the likes of Al Capone. It was active from 1934 to 1963. Now it’s set up for tourists to visit and experience history. I love history. It was really an amazing and educational experience.

        Day 3:

        • We rented a car to head towards Los Angelos but we still had some time in San Francisco so we couldn’t leave without visiting the amazing Napa Valley Country.
        • Napa Valley – located north of San Francisco. It is known as wine country. It has hundreds of vineyards.
        • Peju Province Winery – we had so many choices of wineries in Napa County to visit. We visited this beautiful winery and had a lovely dinner there as well.

        Peju Province Winery

        8466 St. Helena Hwy
        Rutherford, California
        94573 | 800.446.7358 | open daily 10am – 6pm

        san francisco to L.A.

        Day 4:

        So, now it was time to move on to L.A. along the famous Pacific Coast Highway; drive along the beautiful coast. Well, being the one who loves driving, I wanted to go first in the shared driving. Actually, there was no debate at all. No one wanted to drive first. LOL !

        I was and still am a rather good driver and sometimes fearless. But when I saw those streets in San Francisco, I gotta be honest. It scared the crap out of me. I couldn’t do it. To get out of the city, I went around and found all flat paths on our way out of the city.

        If I were to plan a trip to California again, I would definitely do it the same again. Driving along the coast is a must. It was absolutely breathtaking. We stopped to take pictures in Monterey, Big Sur, Carmel to name a few. So many beautiful beaches to experience.

        We are 6-8 hours into our trip because we made a few stops. It would normally only take 4 hours if we didn’t make any stops. We wanted to stop at the Hearst Castle in San Simeon but unfortunately, it was closed. It is a National Historic Landmark as well as a California Historical Landmark.

        Hearst Castle

        750 Hearst Castle Road
        San Simeon, California

        For Reservations call: 1-800-444-4445

        Day 5:

        • Universal Studios – We had a lot of fun here. We did the typical tour here. You see how movies are made – special effects. It was really cool.

        Universal Studios Hollywood

        100 Universal City Plaza
        Universal City, California
        91608 U.S.A.


        Day 6:

        • Beverly Hills – well what can I say about Beverly Hills. Everyone has the desire to visit Beverly Hills. You cannot go to Los Angeles and not go to the famous Beverly Hills, best known for its Hollywood stars and the famous Rodeo Drive
        Rodeo Drive
        • Rodeo Drive – famous for all its upscale shopping. It was exactly, if not better, than what you see in the movies. It was quite the experience. I would definitely do it again.
        • Spago – It’s not only for Hollywood movie stars. LOL!! You bet we are going to go. It was amazing. We thought it was going to be filled with famous people. It wasn’t. Or so we thought. As my friends and I were enjoying our meal, my girlfriend sitting across from me said, “Do Not turn around but . . . ” Seriously, you are going to start with that. Why am I not turning around? What’s going on. It’s killing me. I so wanted to turn around. My girlfriend spotted my favourite novelist, the late great Jackie Collins sitting with another late great Red Buttons. I had to turn around. But what I did was slowly went to the “washroom” and when I came back . . . WOW. It was her. 🙂 See . . . we saw a famous person. I would definitely do it again.


        176 N. Canon Drive
        Beverly Hills, California
        90210, U.S.A.


        • NBC Studios – we also got tickets to go see the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. We got there really early to wait in line. First come, first served. We sat right in the front. Jay Leno came out before the show started to answer questions and take pictures with the audience. And yes we definitely jumped on stage and we took a picture with him.

        Day 7:

        • Warner Brothers – We did a tour around the lot. It was all so exciting. We also walked around, took a lot of pictures of all the sets of famous shows back then. We almost made the taping of a popular show back then “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. There just wasn’t enough time to do everything. What else is new, right? LOL! I can’t wait to see how many things have changed in the last 25 years. WOW!

        Day 8:

        • Laguna Beach – we drove along the coast again site-seeing on our own. Looking for some souvenir shops. We stopped for a few photo ops. Breathtaking views yet again.

        Day 9:

        • Las Vegas – so now we are coming to the end of our amazing trip and we have one more day left. We thought since we are so close, let’s go to Vegas baby. Well, it was not on our original agenda but we thought, “Vegas is big and has lots of hotels”. We can book a room when we get there, right? WRONG. There was a convention in town of some kind and there was absolutely no more rooms.
        • Well that put a snag in our plans. Oh well. We continued to enjoy the casinos and the slot machines. We would worry about that later.
        • It was getting late and we needed to catch a flight home the next day. We were all winding down and getting tired. Something had to be done about our sleeping arrangements. We drove out of the city and finally found a motel. It wasn’t 5-star but it will do to get some rest before we had to drive back to LAX.
        • Ahh to be young and adventurous. It was one of the best vacations I ever had.

        Day 10:

        • Departure – we made it to the airport in plenty of time. We were lucky. LOL!
        • 25 years later and I still remember it like it was yesterday.
        • Like I said I hope to repeat this trip next year.

        A few thoughts to share with you. Remember to always make a solid plan or itinerary if you will before going on any vacation. Do your research. Make sure that everyone in your party is in agreement with all the places you want to see and you will have an amazing time as we did in California.

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        Don’t Travel Without A Plan

        travel with a plan, checklist
        suitcase over packed

        We still have a few more weeks left of summer vacation.  And I’m sure there are a few of you who are getting anxious and want to pack everything you have … just in case.  Right?

        How often have you packed a ridiculous amount of clothes and extras into your suitcase only to have used maybe a quarter of the amount you packed?

        Me me me !! LOL  That’s ME!!

        Or worse yet . . . You have packed so much stuff you didn’t need, so that when you get to your destination, you realize that you have forgotten to pack something that you really needed. I have done this way too many times.

        That’s because we didn’t have a PLAN

        We didn’t have a CHECKLIST

        travel checklist mockup

        What we needed to do was write up a list of all the things we needed. I have done this too. How about you? How many times have you lost that little piece of paper you wrote your list on? Can’t tell you how many lists I have made and later lost.

        Well how great would it be if you could have a checklist on your tablet or iphone?  When you download the checklist onto your iphone, you can start checking off the items you need to pack right from your phone.  No need to print it out if  you don’t want to.

        I created this TRAVEL CHECKLIST (you can find the link down below) to help you plan out what you need to take with you on your next vacation. It’s absolutely free for you to download and print off however many you need for the family or you can use straight from your iphone or tablet. You could even type in more things that you need to take with you.

        We use our cell phones for everything under the sun, why not a useful TRAVEL CHECKLIST.

        You will never lose this list. You’ll have it with you always.

        Great looking pics in two clicks, thanks to PicMonkey's photo editing tools
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        What To Expect On Your European Vacation

        european vacation

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        Ready | Set |  Travel?

        Island of Otok Krk, Croatia

        The summer season is upon us and once school is done for another year, it is vacation time.  I’m sure the students in your household can’t wait until school is out.  For that matter, I’m sure the parents can’t wait as well.  It’s off to various destinations or as we did for so long, enjoying your own home and the luxury of our own patio.  We loved it all the same.  Although, our backyard is luxurious to us in the summer months, we still love to travel. 

        This year we are going to Croatia.  And even though we have been many times, you still need to plan and prepare.

        I have been travelling to Croatia for many years since I was about 12 years old.  I went with my whole family.  It was the best trip I ever took.  There was so much to see.  I was interested in everything even back then.  Of course I had my camera and took pictures of everything.  My dad had a video camera that I wasn’t allowed to touch.  Which was alright with me.  Back then they were not hand held.  Those things were beasts.  I remember we still had that beast when I went back to Europe alone when I was in my twenties.  Let me tell you it was heavy and bulky.

        These days things are so much easier.  And we are going to Croatia again this year.  But we haven’t been in such a long time.  Now I am travelling with my husband and children.  I have been to Croatia with my family when my children were pretty young.  Perhaps a couple of times.  But now the kids are grown . . . one is starting high school and the other a grown man in university.  So this could very well be our last time going as a family.  I hope not but once the kids are this grown, they have their own jobs and friends they don’t want to leave.

        Never-the-less a European Vacation is a big adventure for anyone, especially if it’s your first time.  So I have created a check list for you to download to prepare you for your fabulous adventure.  It doesn’t hurt to be prepared what to take, what to wear and what to expect.

        Here are a few tips you may need when you travel abroad . . .

        5 Tips For Your European Destination

        • Money Belt –First and foremost make sure you have the security of carrying a money belt where you will carry your family’s passports and money (very important)
        • International Power Adapter – When travelling abroad, the electrical currents are much more powerful than here in Canada or the U.S.  So, therefore, we need an international power adapter to plug our electrical appliances into their outlets.
        • Luggage Travel Lock –Don’t just rely on the luggage closers.  You should always add on the luggage travel lock  to your luggage for added security.
        • Travel Guide –It’s always handy to have a travel guide book with you when travelling abroad.  It’s good to plan ahead and know where you want to go, cites to see, explore the history of the country you are travelling to.
        • E-Reader –If you are like me, I love to read.  But at home, there are not enough hours in the day to read anything.  We run such a busy life.  We all need a vacation now and again.  And I love to read.  I managed to read 3 books on vacation with my e-reader.  Although I love to actually hold a book, it’s so much easier and light-weight to read on a compact e-reader.

        To be sure you have packed your suitcase with everything you need for your trip, it’s important to have a checklist to go over.

        Be sure to download my FREE Travel Checklist here