If you follow my Instagram page, @sparkwellness, you already know that we just got back from a two week road trip out to the Grand Tetons and back. We travelled over two thousand seven hundred miles with three kids and all of our camping gear in a Toyota Prius V. It was awesome and relatively inexpensive. Here are a couple of tips that I think worked really well for us.
1. We brought our 4th grader.
The National Park Service offers free entrance to any National Park from September to August of your child’s fourth grade year. All you need to do is go to everykidinapark.org, take the short quiz and print out the document you receive. Once you get to your first park, the ranger will turn that piece of paper into a plastic entrance card that you can use at any park all year. This card gets your child and their entire family into the park FOR FREE. Because we were visiting three National Parks on our trip, this program saved us $90.
2. Awesome coolers.
Feeding a family of five at restaurants for two weeks would have definitely broken the bank for us. Thanks to a generous gift from my mom for Paul’s birthday, we got a Yeti 65 cooler. This gift was essential for the success of our trip. Paul spent the week before our trip cooking, sealing and freezing all of the dinners we would eat during our travels. Once vacuum sealed and frozen, the food was all dropped into the Yeti as we headed out along with….dry ice. That’s right. Dry ice. It turns out that the grocery store down the street sells it if you ask! Because of the awesome insulating power of the cooler plus ten pounds of dry ice, our food literally stayed FROZEN for the first 5 days. We never took the Yeti out of the car so this included the brutal temps for the first few days in the hot car.
Because we basically had a freezer chest in our car, we also needed a cooler to keep things we DIDN’T want frozen - like milk, lunch meat, cheese, sour cream, vegetables, etc. We ordered a soft sided cooler called a Hommit. It’s similar to a Yeti soft-side and also proved to be awesome. It’s got inch thick walls and kept ice for much longer than our old hard sided cooler. Between these two coolers, we ate like kings! Dinners included burgers, chicken tikka masala, Thai lettuce wraps, chili, turkey tetrazzini, Singapore noodles, pasta bolognese and pulled pork tacos.
3. Gypsy Guide
Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, I purchased ($10.49) and downloaded the Yellowstone and Grand Teton Gypsy Guide before we left. This app was the BOMB!! As we drove around the parks, the guide, whom we lovingly named Bob, gave us information on what we’re looking at, a guide to what we’re about to see and must-do stops. We learned a TON from Bob and were so happy to be learning as we were seeing. The timing of this app was impeccable but there are a few things to note about this app. It WILL NOT work on an iPad that doesn’t have wireless service. Also, you CANNOT download this app with only a cellular connection. It’s a gigantic app and you can run it offline but you have to do the download over wireless only.
No matter how you enjoy your National Parks, State Parks or outdoor areas, I hope you get a chance to #optoutside this summer and fall!
Love to you,
PS - If you're planning a #roadtrip of your own, feel free to PM me with any questions! I'd be happy to share my experience and help in any way I can.