Family Roadtrip: It's Not Just A Dirty Word!

Whether you're traveling by plane, train or automobile, planning a fun-filled family vacation can be both an exciting and very stressful time for most people - just ask the Griswolds!

Roadtrips are practically synonymous with summer and the high cost of gas, just as much as mosquitoes are to an old fashioned backyard barbecue.

If getting there is half the fun - then you're obviously not traveling with kids!

Sure, I love gadgets and would like to get my hands on something that can possibly help get me and my family to "our happy place" and not have to spend most of our "fun money" getting there!

"Christopher may have discovered the New World, but Christine packed his bags," and - based on that tagline alone - I was curious to see what "travel-tested products" Annette of Christine Columbus suggests would perhaps make traveling a bit more comfortable - not to mention a whole lot messier when traveling with kids - and found this nifty tote:

Backseat Cooler Tote $24.95

3-Pocket In-Car Organizer features a large fabric pocket for holding maps, guides, or coloring books. A special holder accommodates an umbrella, or canister of handy wet wipes. Large mesh pocket for all those “fall-under-the-seat items;� CD’s, tapes, scrapers, and kid stuff.

Leakproof Detachable Cooler is large enough to hold 12 cans plus ice. It’s fully insulated and features reflective thermal barrier to keeps items icy cold or hot items hot. Dual side mesh drink holders and a mesh front pocket for more storage.

Keeping on the "low-tech" side of my shopping list (read: cheap and quiet), Highlights Magazine offers a variety of Travel-ready Toys and Games, including one of my own family's favorite roadtrip activity...magnetic puzzles:

Fractiles Travel $14.98

This steel activity board with 96 colorful magnetic tiles is all you need to create imaginative designs with infinite variety. Double-sided case is perfect for storing board and tiles during travel. Includes suggested design ideas, or test the limits of your own imagination.

For Age: 6+

And how about this cute Travel Scavenger Hunt game from Toys "R" Us, complete with visual aid for the pre-schooler in the group:

To play, each player takes 5 cards and tries to locate various roadside objects. Players may have to find a stop sign, a pickup truck, a license plate with the letter Z, and many others. In addition, several funny Hear It", "Smell It", and "Feel It" cards encouarge kids to use all their travel senses by listening for sounds, feeling for bumps, and sniffing for scents.

On sale: $7.99

Taking into consideration that my husband would be traveling with five females - offroad bathroom stops can be quite an issue - blogger Unarocks introduced me to the theory behind Sheepees, which led me to consider getting my family our very own...unrine director:

The World's First Antibacterial and Hydrophobic Urine Director (a.k.a. Whizees) - this soft and gentle ingenious device allows women of all ages to wee in a standing up, sitting down or lying position without undressing. The Freedom means no more waiting, squatting holding on or hiding. Called a urine director (also referred to as urine disposer or portable loo) its carefully (and cleverly) designed highly flexible lily shape fits comfortably the outer curves of the human body and is externally held against the groin. Once you start, nature and gravity do the rest. Urine is directed away from the body so there are no flowbacks, splashes or spills, you don't even have to remove outer or under clothing. CE marked and medically approved the Whiz Freedom preserves Dignity and Liberty whatever the circumstances it gives women the choice to wee wherever and whenever they choose.


I hear ya'- actually being able to pee, standing up, without having to wipe out an entire outfit - some may say, "Hey...why not use a funnel?" But, like, this one's really pretty and in comes in purple, too!

What a concept!

Personal comfort shouldn't stop once you've arrived at your destination - here's a device invented by a woman whose vacation was "ruined by a pickpocket:"

Tag Alarm attaches to almost any bag with a zipper.

When activated with your personal 4-digit code, the blinking red light lets pickpockets and thieves know that your bag is protected, just like a burglar alarm.

If a pickpocket trys to open your bag,the loud alarm will quickly make you and everyone around you aware of the potential theft.

And at the top of my "Oh, I Soooo Want This!" list, allow me to introduce you to the cool new gadget of the week:

For those who want portable washing power on the go, look no furthur than Astone’s “Traveller�.

Weighing just 4.4-pounds, this inflatable washing machine holds up to 6.5L of water and even features a delicates/hand washables cycle.

Available in June, priced at $70.

[via: TechEBlog]

Isn't this fun?

Maybe it's just me, but - not to be confused with the Wonder Washer - there's something about an INFLATABLE washing machine that makes camping with three adults, four children and one sock-eating dog sound a lot...less like a dirty word!

What's on your shopping list?

Contributing Editor Elizabeth Thompson also writes for The Imperfect Parent.


[Photo credit: Families Online Magazine]