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Travel Tips

8 Tips for Saving on a Family Beach Vacation

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Shell, in which I was compensated. All opinions are my own.

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8 Tips for Saving on a Family Beach Vacation

We recently took a fun trip over to Clearwater Beach, Florida and it was amazing. Growing up in New England, I was more of a lake side traveler or an up in the mountains girl. However, when we moved to Florida my salty side came out and I’ve found myself craving the ocean more and more. Unfortunately, the idea of staying on the beach for a week was giving me and my wallet anxiety attacks. I decided to search some hotels that I had drove by in the past to see how out of reach a beach week was. Well, I think my credit card laughed at me.

We had already taken several road trips over to Orlando, have a trip to Kiawah Island booked for Thanksgiving, and back to school shopping is something I guess needs to be done. So, my gypsy soul was not working in my favor when it kept putting a beach vacay in my mind.

Then one morning, I realized I could still wake up to ocean waves and have my toes in the sand for a week, I just needed to get in to the right state of mind. I needed to do it on a budget and plan it right.

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Here are my 8 Beach Vacation Budget Tips that made my Family Beach Trip Possible

  1. Skip the hotel! Sure there are perks to staying at a luxury hotel, but there are also perks to staying at a vacation rental. Like a kitchen and more space for starters. We found some beautiful 2 bedroom beach cottages for as low as $50 a night.
  2. Eat Meals In! With a beach rental, you most likely get a full kitchen, which means there is no need to eat out 3 times a day all week. This is a huge money saver! We did easy breakfasts in the house each morning. French toast bakes, cereal, and breads I cooked ahead of time, all took about 5-10 minutes to serve. We also made lunches and packed a cooler each day for the beach. We brought sandwiches, chips, veggie, and dips. Plus, all our drinks, a soda on the beach is usually at least $3.
  3. Eat Out Early! When we did go out to eat, it was usually for dinner because after a long beach day everyone was tired and hungry. However, we tried to get off the beach and to dinner early to beat the rush and to take advantage of any early bird specials that restaurants were offering. Plus, this is usually when the sun is starting to get incredibly hot anyways, especially the Florida sun, so it was nice to be able to cool off inside. Our favorite restaurants on Clearwater Beach are Crabby Bills for their amazing king crab legs and full kid’s menu and The Pavilion for their delicious hotdogs. The Silverking Tap House also is a great place to relax and listen to live music while enjoying a beer and some delicious appetizers.
  4. Bring Your Own Beach Gear and Supplies! In the Florida sun during the middle of summer, my family has gone through a bottle of sunblock in one day. So, we brought a case. I’ve seen sunscreen at the beach stores that cost about $20, the same bottle that costs $6 at home. Same goes for beach toys and floats, every beach store has isles of them but they feature a hefty mark up. Plan ahead and buy the stuff you don’t have at home. Also consider bringing your own beach chairs and umbrella, or plan to sit on a blanket from home. Clearwater beach like many Florida beaches offer chairs, umbrellas, and cabana rentals, but for almost $35 a day, you can save a ton by bringing your own.
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  5. Stop at the Visitors Bureau! On Clearwater Beach, there is one right by the playground on the beach. This is the perfect place to see what free and inexpensive activities are happening. Clearwater Aquarium let’s their rehabilitated sea turtles free off of Clearwater Beach so if your visiting at the right time you may get to witness an amazing experience. The Visitors Center is able to give you all of this information plus they have coupons for almost every major attraction. Our favorite free things on Clearwater Beach are walking Pier 60 at night to watch the performers, watching the Sunset Cinema’s outdoor movie under the stars on weekend nights, and of course relaxing on the beach and catching a glimpse of dolphins jumping in the ocean as the sun sets.
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  6. Try to Book Off Season! If your traveling south, the weather will allow you to book off season. Try booking for a long weekend once school vacations are over, or into the fall or spring. In the Clearwater area, the water stays pretty warm through part of December. Plus, if you’re traveling from up north, like New England, even the mid-winter temperatures down here aren’t as bad as some summer days on Old Orchard Beach.
  7. Skip Buying Souvenirs! In every beach town souvenirs are everywhere. You can get just about anything imaginable with the local beach printed on it, from t-shirts to shot glasses. Instead of racking up a hefty tab at one of the beach shops, bring a mason jar (or a plastic bag) and bring home a cup of sand and a few seashells. Once you get home, clean off the shells and write the beach and date on them with a permanent marker and arrange the sand, shells, and picture or two from your vacation. You likely already own a mason jar, and finding seashells makes for a fun afternoon with the kids. Our favorite place to find seashells near Clearwater Beach is to take a short drive up to Honeymoon Island Beach, where the surf is a little stronger. We have found amazing shells there. If your adventurous, rent a kayak and take a short ride out to one of the small islands on the gulf coast.
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  8. Use the *Fuel Rewards® program! As I have said in prior posts, my favorite way to save on travel this year is with Shell and the Fuel Rewards® program. The current offer, “Instant Gold Status“, rewards members with an automatic 5 cents a gallon savings on every fill-up (up to 20 gallons / visit). Plus, when linked to your credit card, you earn rewards on everyday spending at participating merchants. I earn additional rewards when I buy my weekly groceries at Winn-Dixie, which is right next to a Green Market Café that the kids love to stop at for lunch. There I earned a reward of 10 cents for every $50 spent. When my rewards are stacked, I save big time on fuel. While on our beach trip I continued to earn rewards at the Palm Pavilion, Silverking Tap House, and Five Palms Rental. All places I would visit anyways, however this year I’m earning some amazing savings at the pump, which allows me to continue to plan more amazing road trips!
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Have you signed up for the Fuel Rewards® program and earned “Instant Gold Status” yet? What are you waiting for? It’s free to sign up and you can start saving immediately! Head over to the Fuel Rewards® site to register and take a look at the long list of online retailers, stores, restaurants, travel locations that let you earn rewards. These are places you likely already shop and eat at, why not put some savings in your pocket while you’re at it?

Plus, once you’re signed up, you can send your referral link to friends and family so they can join the Fuel Rewards program. The first time a friend uses the program by earning a reward or using their card at a participating Shell station, you will instantly earn 25¢/gal. And there’s no limit to how many friends you invite or how many times you earn.

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Tips to Remember:

There’s a 20-gallon limit on fill-ups. Get the most out of your rewards by filling up when your tank is low.

*Fuel Rewards® savings earned through linked credit card offers could take up to 5–7 business days to post to your Fuel Rewards® account

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*RESTRICTIONS APPLY. TO QUALIFY FOR THE GOLD/SILVER STATUS OFFERS, YOU MUST BE A FUEL REWARDS® MEMBER AND SWIPE YOUR FUEL REWARDS® CARD OR ENTER YOUR ALT ID WHEN YOU FUEL AT A PARTICIPATING SHELL STATION. WITH GOLD STATUS, YOU WILL RECEIVE 5¢/GAL IN FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS ON EVERY FILL-UP. THE 5¢/GAL REWARD FOR GOLD STATUS WILL BE COMBINED WITH OTHER REWARDS IN YOUR FUEL REWARDS® ACCOUNT. IF YOU ARE AN EXISTING FUEL REWARDS® MEMBER, YOU WILL RECEIVE GOLD STATUS FROM 6/5/2017 THROUGH 12/31/17, THE “EXISTING MEMBER INTRODUCTORY PERIOD”. IF YOU ARE A NEW FUEL REWARDS® MEMBER, YOU WILL RECEIVE GOLD STATUS FOR THE INITIAL MONTH YOU JOIN THROUGH THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH, 6 FULL CALENDAR MONTHS LATER, THE “NEW MEMBER INTRODUCTORY PERIOD”. THE LAST 3 MONTHS OF THE EXISTING MEMBER INTRODUCTORY PERIOD OR THE NEW MEMBER INTRODUCTORY PERIOD (COLLECTIVELY THE “INTRODUCTORY PERIOD”) IS THE “QUALIFICATION PERIOD”. YOU WILL RETAIN YOUR GOLD STATUS DURING THE QUALIFICATION PERIOD, BUT YOU MUST MAKE 6 QUALIFYING FUEL PURCHASES TO QUALIFY FOR GOLD STATUS FOR THE NEXT 3 MONTHS, THE “BENEFIT PERIOD”. DURING THE BENEFIT PERIOD, YOU MUST CONTINUE TO MAKE 6 QUALIFYING FUEL PURCHASES TO MAINTAIN YOUR GOLD STATUS FOR THE NEXT 3-MONTH BENEFIT PERIOD. A QUALIFYING FUEL PURCHASE IS ANY FUEL PURCHASE AT A PARTICIPATING SHELL STATION IN WHICH YOU SWIPE YOUR FUEL REWARDS® CARD OR ENTER YOUR ALT ID AND FILL UP WITH AT LEAST 5-GALLONS OF ANY GRADE OF FUEL. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU ARE A NEW FUEL REWARDS® MEMBER AND REGISTER ON 6/15/2017, YOU WILL RECEIVE GOLD STATUS THROUGH THE NEW MEMBER INTRODUCTORY PERIOD (I.E., 12/31/2017). YOU WILL NEED TO FILL UP WITH AT LEAST 5 GALLONS OF FUEL AT LEAST 6 TIMES DURING THE QUALIFICATION PERIOD (I.E., 10/1/2017 AND 12/31/2017) TO MAINTAIN GOLD STATUS DURING THE BENEFIT PERIOD (I.E., FROM 1/1/2018 TO 3/31/2018). THEREAFTER, IF YOU CONTINUE TO FILL UP WITH AT LEAST 5 GALLONS OF FUEL AT LEAST 6 TIMES DURING THE SUCCESSIVE 3 CONSECUTIVE MONTH BENEFIT PERIODS, YOU WILL RETAIN YOUR GOLD STATUS. IF YOU DO NOT MAINTAIN YOUR GOLD STATUS, YOU WILL RECEIVE SILVER STATUS. WITH SILVER STATUS, YOU WILL RECEIVE 3¢/GAL IN FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS. THE 3¢/GAL REWARD FOR SILVER STATUS WILL BE COMBINED WITH OTHER REWARDS IN YOUR FUEL REWARDS® ACCOUNT. REDEEM FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS WITH YOUR FUEL REWARDS® CARD OR ALT ID AT PARTICIPATING SHELL STATIONS. FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS ARE LIMITED TO 20 GALLONS OF FUEL PER PURCHASE, PER VEHICLE, OR FRAUD LIMITS PLACED BY SHELL AND/OR LIMITS PLACED ON YOUR FINANCIAL CARD BY YOUR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION, EACH OF WHICH MAY BE LOWER. FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS MUST BE REDEEMED IN A SINGLE TRANSACTION. ONCE YOU BEGIN TO DISPENSE FUEL USING YOUR FUEL REWARDS® SAVINGS, YOU MUST DISPENSE TO THE 20-GALLON LIMIT OR YOU FORFEIT ANY REMAINING DISCOUNTED GALLONS OF FUEL. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU ONLY PUMP FIFTEEN (15) GALLONS OF FUEL, YOU WOULD ABANDON THE REMAINING FIVE (5) GALLONS OF DISCOUNTED FUEL. IF YOU HAVE A REWARDS BALANCE GREATER THAN THE CURRENT PER-GALLON PRICE OF FUEL, THE PRICE WILL ROLL DOWN TO THE MAXIMUM CAPABILITY OF THE FUEL EQUIPMENT, AND YOUR REMAINING REWARDS WILL BE SAVED FOR A FUTURE FUEL PURCHASE. DISPENSER MAY REQUIRE A PRICE OF UP TO 10.9¢/GAL. IT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE TO COMBINE MULTIPLE DISCOUNTS AND/OR REWARDS IN A SINGLE TRANSACTION. FOR PURCHASES OF $75 OR MORE, PLEASE GO INSIDE TO PAY. UNBRANDED DIESEL AND ALTERNATIVE FUELS MAY NOT BE ELIGIBLE. THE FUEL REWARDS® PROGRAM IS OWNED AND OPERATED BY EXCENTUS CORPORATION. OFFER MAY BE MODIFIED OR DISCONTINUED AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. NOT VALID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. PLEASE SEE FUELREWARDS.COM FOR COMPLETE FUEL REWARDS® PROGRAM DETAILS AND TERMS AND CONDITIONS. OTHER RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY. ALL TRADEMARKS ARE THE PROPERTY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT FUELREWARDS.COM/GOLD OR CALL (888) 603-0473.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell. The opinions and text are all mine.

How to Save at The Pump with Shell and The Fuel Rewards® Program

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Shell, in which I was compensated. All opinions are my own.

Party Desserts

How to Save at The Pump with Shell and the Fuel Rewards® Program

Summer is upon us and for my family that means road trips! As a family of 5 who loves to travel, we spend a lot of time driving because it is the most cost-effective way for us to be able to get out and explore. Whether we are traveling all the way up to Boston to visit family, or finding a fun place here in Florida to spend the weekend, we enjoy being on the go. This also means we go through a lot of gas, so I am always on the lookout for the best way to save at the pump.

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Shell has been my go-to gas station for as long as I can remember because they have such convenient locations for me. There was a Shell gas station close to my parents’ house growing up, close to my first job, close to my house when I moved out on my own, and now that I have moved across the country, there is still a location less than a block away. When I learned about the *Fuel Rewards® program at Shell it was a no brainer for me to sign up, when a company you are already loyal to, gives you a great way to save money, you do it!

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So, I was thrilled to have the recent opportunity to team up with Shell on a 5-part series throughout the next 6 months to bring you, my readers, travel and money saving tips while showing you all the awesome ways you can save with Shell and the Fuel Rewards® loyalty program’s “Instant Gold Status”.

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Instant Gold Status

Shell has launched an amazing campaign, giving Fuel Rewards® program members Instant Gold Status free through December 2017 and rewarding them with automatic savings of 5 cents a gallon on every fill-up (up to 20 gallons per fill up). If you are not a Fuel Rewards® program member, now is the perfect time to sign up!

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How to Earn Rewards with the Fuel Rewards® program

On top of the amazing 5 cents a gallon savings you receive from the “Instant Gold Status”, you can stack your Fuel Rewards® savings with rewards from the shopping, dining, and traveling you are already doing, by linking your credit card to your Fuel Rewards® account. I was shocked at the number of brands that participate in this program, which makes earning Fuel Rewards savings incredibly simple.

I earn Fuel Rewards savings at the restaurants my family normally dines at, the store I usually by our groceries at, and even the hotels we stay at while traveling. This program has become a huge part of my budget plan both when I’m traveling and during everyday life.

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We have three more road trips planned over the next several months, one to Orlando, another to the Space Coast of Florida, and we will be traveling up to South Carolina over the holidays. I hope you will follow us to learn all our budget travel trips, and make sure you become #InstantGold before your next fill up.

*Restrictions apply. To qualify for the Gold/Silver Status offers, you must be a Fuel Rewards® member and swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID when you fuel at a participating Shell station. With Gold Status, you will receive 5¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings on every fill-up. The 5¢/gal reward for Gold Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. If you are an existing Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status from 6/5/2017 through 12/31/17, the “Existing Member Introductory Period”. If you are a new Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status for the initial month you join through the last day of the month, 6 full calendar months later, the “New Member Introductory Period”. The last 3 months of the Existing Member Introductory Period or the New Member Introductory Period (collectively the “Introductory Period”) is the “Qualification Period”. You will retain your Gold Status during the Qualification Period, but you must make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to qualify for Gold Status for the next 3 months, the “Benefit Period”. During the Benefit Period, you must continue to make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to maintain your Gold Status for the next 3-month Benefit Period. A qualifying fuel purchase is any fuel purchase at a participating Shell station in which you swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID and fill up with at least 5-gallons of any grade of fuel. For example, if you are a new Fuel Rewards® member and register on 6/15/2017, you will receive Gold Status through the New Member Introductory Period (i.e., 12/31/2017). You will need to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the Qualification Period (i.e., 10/1/2017 and 12/31/2017) to maintain Gold Status during the Benefit Period (i.e., from 1/1/2018 to

3/31/2018). Thereafter, if you continue to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the successive 3 consecutive month Benefit Periods, you will retain your Gold Status. If you do not maintain your Gold Status, you will receive Silver Status. With Silver Status, you will receive 3¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings. The 3¢/gal reward for Silver Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. Redeem Fuel Rewards® savings with your Fuel Rewards® card or Alt ID at participating Shell stations. Fuel Rewards® savings are limited to 20 gallons of fuel per purchase, per vehicle, or fraud limits placed by Shell and/or limits placed on your financial card by your financial institution, each of which may be lower. Fuel Rewards® savings must be redeemed in a single transaction. Once you begin to dispense fuel using your Fuel Rewards® savings, you must dispense to the 20-gallon limit or you forfeit any remaining discounted gallons of fuel. For example, if you only pump fifteen (15) gallons of fuel, you would abandon the remaining five (5) gallons of discounted fuel. If you have a rewards balance greater than the current per-gallon price of fuel, the price will roll down to the maximum capability of the fuel equipment, and your remaining rewards will be saved for a future fuel purchase. Dispenser may require a price of up to 10.9¢/gal. It may not be possible to combine multiple discounts and/or rewards in a single transaction. For purchases of $75 or more, please go inside to pay. Unbranded diesel and alternative fuels may not be eligible. The Fuel Rewards® program is owned and operated by Excentus Corporation. Offer may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Not valid where prohibited by law. Please see fuelrewards.com for complete Fuel Rewards® program details and Terms and Conditions. Other restrictions may apply. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. To learn more, visit fuelrewards.com/gold or call (888) 603-0473.

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell. The opinions and text are all mine.

5 Tips for Saving for a Summer Vacation

This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs.  I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.

5 Tips for Saving for a Summer Vacation

Saving for a Summer Vacation

It is officially the start of summer!  Even though down here in Florida summer seems to have started several months ago.  For my family and I, the best part of summer is traveling.  We love taking road trips over to Orlando, or spending long weekends at the beach.  However, as a family of five, traveling can add up quickly.  So, it is important for us to save ahead for all our vacationing plans.

Top Tips for Saving for Summer Travel

Plan ahead: I try to plan our summer travel a couple months before school let out for the summer.  This gives me plenty of time to search around for the best locations and the cheapest travel dates.  This will help save you money and also give you an idea of exactly how much you need to save.

Sell Old Stuff During Spring Cleaning:  With 3 kids, our house gets cluttered quickly.  While we are spring cleaning each year, I declutter every room in the house and items that are sellable are either brought to a local consignment store, sent to online resale sites like Thredup, or we hold our own yard sale.  This is a fairly easy way to earn a chunk of the funds you’ll need for your vacation.

Make your Credit Cards Work for You:  I hate having debt, however I have several credit cards that work to save me money.  Two examples are my Disney Chase Card and my Hilton Rewards American Express Card.  I use these to buy everyday essentials like gas, groceries, and medicine throughout the year and then make sure I pay them in full every month.  In turn I earn reward points towards free travel.  I save my Disney points for trips to Disney World and I use my Hilton Rewards on a lot of our hotel stays.

Cut Down on Your Monthly Expenses:  Try buying in bulk or shopping your local farmers market to save on your grocery bill.  Walk wherever possible during the nice spring whether to save on gas costs.  By taking a close look at your average monthly spending and tightening your budget, you should be able to take a small chunk of money to set aside for a vacation.  When you’re on your dream vacation, you won’t be thinking about the $4 coffees you gave up.

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Save on Diapers: Having children in diapers is a huge expense!  We had 3 in diapers at one point and I remember counting down the months till they were all potty trained, so we would have a raise in funds.  However, there is easy ways to save on diapers like switching to Luvs.  Once the twins came we made the switch and our wallets thanked us.  

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Why Luvs are a great diaper option:

  • Features Super Absorbent Leakguards and NightLock Plus™, its largest absorbency area ever, Luvs Diapers lock away wetness and absorb even more than regular Luvs.
  • With large refastenable stretch tabs, fastening Luvs diapers is super easy for parents, plus they can rest assured knowing that they’re giving baby a secure, snug fit again and again.
  • Luvs knows that between laundry, play dates, snack time, and nap time, you don’t have time for leaks. Luvs makes life easier for busy parents by helping to keep leaks in the diaper where they belong, so baby stays dry and comfortable, even overnight.  
  • A contoured shape hugs baby for a great fit and a super soft cottony material and it softer than ever before so it feels gentle on baby’s skin.
  • The Luvs Money Back Guarantee: Luvs feels so strongly about their diapers that they guarantee them! If you aren’t satisfied with the leakage protection of Luvs, they’ll refund your money.

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Luvs is sharing the luv this summer and offering a great money-saving opportunity with a $2 print-at-home coupon!

The expire 30 days from the date the coupon is printed by the consumer.  You can use this coupon at any mass, discount or grocery stores where Luvs Diapers are sold. All Luvs Diapers are included in this particular offer, except trial/travel sized diaper packs.

Now that you have tips to start saving, where do you plan to Vacation?

How to pack the perfect “Mommy’s Road Trip Survival Bag”

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TwizzlersSummer #CollectiveBias

Road trips have become my favorite way to travel as a family.  I love the freedom of packing up the back of the van and choosing what time we leave, where we stop along the way, and how long we stay.  In the past when we would travel by plane, I hated the fact that I couldn’t stay in a particular city for an extra day or two if I wanted to because the airlines would charge over $100 a ticket if I tried to reschedule our tickets home.  My favorite part of family road trips has to be being able to stay that extra day whenever we get the itch and not having the stress of rushing to an airport is great too!
 
Last June we took our first long distance family road trip.  We traveled from Boston, Massachusetts to Clearwater, Florida.  Stopping for a couple nights in South Carolina and Boca Raton and Orlando Florida for a few nights each. 
 The kids did so well and we had so much fun, that when our Christmas vacation to Charleston rolled around we immediately chose to drive.  We were able to get from Boston to South Carolina in one day, however on the way home we took our time and stopped in Atlantic City and New York City.  Now we are planning a third family road trip for August and we will be traveling from Boston to Orlando with several stops planned out along the way.
 
As much as I love road trips, they can easily become a nightmare if I don’t pack well and plan out ways to keep my kids entertained.  We always leave before the sun comes up, usually by 4:00am.  This way the kids are all still sleeping when we put them in the car.  The early start combined with the car motion usually keeps my kids snoozing until midmorning.  Then once they wake up its time to start pulling things out of my road trip survival bag.
 
Are you heading on a road trip this summer?  If so, this is what I recommend keeping in a bag close to you.  This way you can hand things out as needed in intervals through out the trip and also keep track of things each kid has which helps prevent the car from becoming a huge mess.
 
1) Electronics – no matter what your parenting style is when with  electronics when it comes to being on the road for 12+ hours with kids, electronics can make everyones life a whole lot easier.  We pack a portable DVD player with a variety of DVD’s, Ipads for each of the kids, Nintendo DS’s and Ipods.  It may sound excessive but having numerous electronics allows us to swap them out for charging and as the kids get bored.  Plus headphones are always a must!

2) Coloring Books, Crayons and Notebooks – The kids will get tired of the electronics and get ancy after a while.  My kids all love to color and draw, so I am usually able to keep them content with some crayons for at least an hour.  Its also good to take them into restaurants along the way.

3) Small Toys – I like to go down the party favor isle at Walmart or the dollar and clearance areas and pick up small easy to travel with toys that will keep the kids entertained for a little while.  Some toys that have worked out great are; Playdo, handheld games, sticker books, etch a sketch’s, mini puzzles, exc.
4) Sweatshirts or Blankets – The kids can start complaining about being too hot or cold every hour so I like to keep sweatshirts or blankets on hand incase one wants the air conditioner on and another is complaining their cold.
5) Refillable Water Bottles – Spill proof bottles work out the best for us.  The kids are always thirsty during our road trips, so I like to keep a drink redaly available for them however we learned quickly that if there wasn’t a cover attached to the drink it would end up all over the place.
 
6) Yummy Mess Free Snacks – My go to is Twizzlers Twists, the kids love Twizzlers candy and I like that its an easy snack that is mess free!  There’s no melting mess or risk of spilling and they still taste delicious.

Plus Twizzlers Pull N Peel candy is one of my guilty pleasures.  I could devour an entire bag of this yumminess in one sitting, so I try to keep a bag of it tucked away incase the kids get rowdy and I need a few minutes to escape into my own little world.
 
When we start packing for our road trip, its crunch time and as busy moms we don’t have any time to waste.  Luckily I am able to pick up everything I need to fill and refill my Road Trip Survival Bag at Walmart.  This is very convenient because Walmart is everywhere along our road trip route! 
What are your summer fun plans?

 



Packing the Essentials for Camping ~ The Best Place to be is the Middle of Nowhere! #BBBestSummerEver

 This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® . The opinions and text are all mine.

Every year my entire family gets together and drives into the woods to spend a week camping, fishing, swimming, and toasting marshmallows.  We have been doing this since I was a my kids age and I still enjoy every minute of it.  It has become my favorite part of the summer.

My aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends all set up tents in a huge row of camp sites and spend the morning fishing at the river while cooking bacon and eggs at the picnic tables.
  Then enjoy floating in the river all day, laughing and reminiscing about the last 30 years of fun at the campground.  My husband, however, usually falls asleep on a float and finds himself in a bush along the river.
The campground we call home, has a lot for everyone to do.  From beach parties, to turtle races, its impossible for the kids to get bored.  The best part of continuing this family tradition now that I have a family of my own, is seeing the fun of camping through my childrens eyes.  I love seeing them bonding with their cousins and learning things that they would never learn sitting infront of a tv all week!
Every night we get together and barbeque before the kids get to make s’mores, tell campfire stories, and play flashlight tag.
 
With the world often feeling like its becoming a very scary place, there is something about camping that brings out the innocence in my children and makes life slow down.
 
As if that wasn’t enough on the weekend nights, we trade in flashlight tag for a family glow dance at the pavilion.  The big kids and the little kids shake their booties till they fall asleep in our arms dancing to “We Are Family”.  These are the memories that will last forever and I’m proud that they are experiencing these amazing adventures.
After camping my whole life, I have learned that most people don’t forget to pack the big stuff.  I have never heard of someone showing up to the campground without their tent and rarely have I heard of someone forgetting a grill or cooler.  However somebody always forgets the small stuff, and without bug spray, a can opener, or sunblock in the woods for a week can lead to misery.
 
Have you ever camped with a sunburn?  Its not fun at all!  You have no way of controlling the temperature while your depending on mother nature.  A sunburn can make you freeze all night and burn up all day.  Carrying wood for the fire, sleeping on an air mattress, and running through the woods goes from normal camping fun to a miserable achy day. 
 
So what’s on the top of my packing list every year?  Not my tent or chairs, I know they’ll get packed, on the top of my list is my Banana Boat® Sunblock!  We are living outside all week, we are in the sun weather we plan to be or not, that’s why in order to keep everyone healthy and happy all week I apply and reapply sunblock on my kids and myself all day, everyday. 
 
I always have a bottle of Banana Boat® Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen, a bottle of Banana Boat® Kids Sunscreen Lotion for the kids faces, and a bottle of Banana Boat®  Sport Performance® CoolZone™ Continuous Spray Sunscreen for my husband and I with me.
 
Banana Boat® keeps the kids protected so that I can keep the fun going!
I also like to pack some other necessities that are easy to forget in a small plastic bin that I can keep on the picnic table without worrying about any rain.  Some of my easy to forget items are Band-Aids, Neosporin, bug spray, prescriptions, Motrin and tummy medication, an extra flashlight and batteries, zip ties, and antibacterial wipes.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Banana Boat® . The opinions and text are all mine.

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