Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ask the readers: Being Prepared on Vacation

I need to ask you all a hypothetical question. Picture a family going on a National Lampoon Vacation-style road trip from, say, Illinois to Disney World.

Chevy Chase and Co. in "National Lampoon's Vacation"

This hypothetical family consists of two adults and four children that range in age from nine to a newly-minted toddler. They will be on vacation for about two weeks total during the spring. They already anticipate that the essential items they'll bring along on this Griswoldian trip will create sardine-like conditions in the family mini-van.

With these facts in mind, what preps should this family take along?

Keep in mind that this is a completely hypothetical question. It has nothing to do with a vacation my family is undertaking in a couple of months.  Not at all....


  1. My advice for any vacation or trip is to make sure you've got copies of all your important ID (including kids' birth certificates if they are too young for state ID cards), make extra copies of your car's registration & proof of insurance for each adult to carry on them, make sure your car's emergency kit is up to date, get an oil change & all the fluids topped off (and tune-up if needed), make sure your tires are correctly inflated and double-check that you've got the spare & jack to change a tire -- then bring half as much STUFF and twice as much MONEY as you think you'll need!

  2. Jeanne has given good advice. When we make a road trip, I make sure to have some food and water and appropriate clothes for walking in whatever weather conditions we may find. I also like to have an actual paper road map of all the states or an atlas, just in case the gps goes out-or gets stolen as ours has--twice! I make sure I have extra an extra leash or tie out line for the dogs as well as their crate and food. I have also heard that if trapped in a car for a long period of time in cold weather, the simple flame from a candle can provide some warmth so I keep a candle and lighter in the car. I'm sure you already have lots of wet wipes and tissues in the car if you have kids--we use those for lots of things and my kids are 9 and 13 now!

  3. Personally, every time we travel I take most everything I have in my 72 hr kit (here is what I have in mine: I take out the clothes b/c we will already have extra clothes for the trip. I also take out the food and just make sure I have lots of snacks on hand: we eat and replenish them during the trip. I have all our important documents like Jeanne said. I don't bring all the water either, but make sure I have a filtering bottle with me.

  4. After making a trip a couple of weeks ago I began to wonder how we would travel and remain hydrated for any long distance if something unforeseen would occur. I decided I would need a cart on wheels to carry the case of water, gatorade, and luggage I had in tow. Happy trails. BTW One of my favorite movies--I have the collection. Tricia

  5. I'd go with a scaled down version of my 72-hour kit, too. I'd remove anything that I already had in my luggage or travel items (e.g. clothing, reusable water bottles, entertainment items for kids, etc). I'd also remove any major redundancies (instead of 4 packs of matches, a BIC lighter and a swiss fire starter, I'd go with one pack of matches and one BIC). I'm pretty sure I could fit that into a basic school-size backpack.

  6. Before the road trip, I recommend taking the car for servicing: check tire, oil and filter etc. Get one of those safety certified gas cans for extra gas; this has come in handy for us on long road trips in areas where gas stations are few and far between. Beside water, clothes, food, take the First Aid kit, multi-tool, and if you a comfortable and its allowed in your destination, pepper spray. Happy trails to whoever is going on vacation (not you of course)