Road Trip Packing--Part 1
We love our road trips. Love. Them. I will not give up this pleasure despite it costing the same as a fortnight luxury spa vacation in Cabo. I also figure that the cost to fly 6 people to multiple destinations and subsequent car rentals makes this trip a bargain by today’s ridiculous standards. The luggage up charge alone for 6, +car seats, strollers, portable crib and sand toys for two weeks would cover a tank of gas. Besides, we’ve got places to go, reunions to crash. We’ve got family to irritate, and rumors to fester. We are going.
I have decided to control as many costs beforehand as possible, though. I figure my top expenditures on a road trip are: 1) Gas; 2) Lodging; and 3) Cracker Barrel.
Gas -- can’t do much about it. I will get the oil changed, inflate the tires to their proper PSI and hope for clear traffic because I know my husband won’t be driving 55 with four kids in the back seat.
For lodging, we have made some arrangements with our 4-bajillion Marriott points to defer some of the expense, and we’ll turn up the air conditioning real high so that snuggling in July won’t be so uncomfortable.
Which simply leaves the jaw-dropping Cracker Barrel bill. On every past road trip, despite knowing full well what we are getting ourselves into, we stop at this den of evil. After waiting 6 hours for a table, we buy illogical stuff in the store, and never finish a plate of food. But somehow on a vacation, this seems like a good idea.
So to avoid this expensive pit stop, I have replicated the experience at home so we can drive past every exit. I cooked country-fried steak tonight that no one ate because they were too busy playing the I.Q. Game with the golf tees I put on the table. I bought the kids a bunch of cheap crap from the dollar store, let them break it, and then sprinkled the pieces all over the backseat. For extra good measure, I mixed some nostalgic candy pieces and a bag of ginger snaps to make it extra sticky. And because I realized I hadn’t spent anything close to our average bill, I bought a retro Coca-Cola napkin dispenser and then forgot it on a wooden rocking chair on the porch after playing checkers.
Voila! It’s like we’re already to Gatlinburg.