5 Things to do to Prepare for a Road Trip
Blog - November 10, 2016


We had been planning this trip to Orlando for months.  We were so excited!  We bought a new car a few months ago with the idea of going on road trips, so it had to be big.  With two boys, ages two and five, the future is filled with all kinds of adventures, and those adventures require a lot of room!

I’ve always been a last minute kind of gal, thriving on the pressure of getting stuff done when I’m backed into a corner.

The thing is that we had never been on a road trip until then.  Yes, we went to Orlando, but it doesn’t feel like a road trip when you’re crammed into a small SUV with barely any space for water and strollers.

This time was different.  We had so much space we could get dressed in our new car.  I even hung up ironed clothes for outings when we got there.

During this experience I learned a few simple things to do in preparation for a family road trip.  Some of them came naturally, and some were lessons learned. I wish I had spent more time thinking about everything before heading to Orlando. By “everything” I mean get an oil change the day before the trip and not five minutes before!

Here are five things to do to prepare for a road trip:

1.  Gas
I am that driver that drives with the empty tank light on for at least ten miles before really doing anything about it.  Unless there’s a hurricane…

Get gas the night before the trip. Sure it’s easy to find gas on the way, but it is “one less things to do”. The small things pile up and before you know it “I can do this later” turns into “and this is why we left at noon”.

2.  Snacks and Water
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a car without snacks.   Road trips aren’t road trips without snacks.  If you have kids, this is mandatory.  You must have snacks available.

Put some thought into the snacks. Don’t buy stuff that will crumble everywhere and trash your car.  Buy stuff that’s easy to eat, like protein bars and peanut butter sandwiches.  Chips and cookies are messy. Your car will inevitably get dirty, there is no reason to add broken chips to the mess.

Buy cases of water. I didn’t say one small case, I said “cases”.  You will need water while in the car, at the hotel, and everywhere in-between. It is cheaper to buy it at a grocery store than buying it at a gas station, or worse, at the hotel. Yes, there will be grocery stores where you’re going, but did you go on vacation to go grocery shopping? I didn’t think so…

3.  Bring Things To Do
Trash magazines are great if you’re a passenger.  Keep the kids busy with electronic games and movies.  Before you leave make sure you download games, books and other apps that will be new and interesting to the kids. Charge all electronics and make sure you have car adapters or battery backups for when those gizmos run out of battery.

4.  Car Maintenance
Check your tires for air and make sure your car has been serviced.


If you need an oil change then stop at Walmart’s Automotive Care Center and let the experts do it.  Not that my husband is not an expert at everything he does…


But he might not know that full synthetic oil performs much better in extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Pezoil close up

Don’t forget to ask for Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic Motor Oil and get $49.88 on rollback to $44.88 through December 27, 2016.

image of guy looking in car engine

Stop at Walmart to get your supplies and leave the car there for the Oil Change.   You can get all the necessities that you need to take with you for the trip such as snacks, water, batteries, prescriptions, and chargers all while your car is being serviced.  You can even get your nails done there too while you’re waiting.

5.  Make A List
Write a list of everything you need to pack ahead of time.  When there are kids involved there is no room for forgetting stuff like diapers and wipes, bathing suits, sunblock, and special binkies, sippy cups and blankets for comfort.

So let’s back up for a minute.

Did I actually do these things to prepare for my trip?

Well…I told my husband about a month before that we needed an oil change.  Then I told him a couple of weeks before.  The poor guy was working so hard, I could have just gone myself but getting an oil change with a two and a five-year-old is about as much fun as …..

Now it was the day before our trip and my husband ran to the store to get oil to do it himself.  After all, it’s cheaper and easier.  But that didn’t happen because he realized the car was too low and he needed a ramp to elevate the car.

So, he said he would later that night after going to get the ramp.  But before we knew it, it was 10pm and he still hadn’t gotten the ramp because we were too busy getting snacks, packing, working, parenting, etc.

So he said he would do it in the morning.

I have to say that I was a little bit perturbed as we had planned on getting out of the house by nine to get to Legoland before noon.  But the poor guy had been working so hard the last few days, I didn’t want to say anything.

So we ended up spending way too much money and getting it done in a place we usually wouldn’t go.  We learned our lesson that’s for sure and next time we will definitely do our 1-stop shopping at Walmart, including the oil change at the Walmart Automotive Center.


We still had a great road trip and a fun vacation in Orlando, but there’s always something you come back knowing you could have done differently.

Take it from us, get your oil changed and car serviced ahead of time.  Walmart Automotive Care Centers in the following states are now able to benefit from oil changes with Pennzoil® Platinum Full Synthetic: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee.  Find your Automotive Care Center HERE.  Pennzoil® Platinum Full Synthetic is on Rollback ($49.88 Rollback to $44.88) through December 27, 2016.


  1. Car maintenance is so important! We’re getting ready for our trip to North Jersey in a couple of months. We’re not sure if we’re doing the Auto Train yet, but regardless, there will be some driving involved.

  2. I totally understand what you mean about planning out roadtrips. Those little tasks really can add up and delay your trip…plus, we like to hit the road early in the morning whenever we drive somewhere. Thanks for sharing these tips! #client

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