Your Summer Road Trip Survival Guide, Featuring ExxonMobil’s Mobil 1™ at Walmart

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Tracking PixelWhen I was asked to try the new Mobil 1™ Annual Protection motor oil and a Mobil 1™ Extended Performance oil filter as part of a sponsored post a few months ago, my answer was, “YES, PLEASE.” I was already thinking ahead to the two-day, cross-country road trip I would be taking this summer from Michigan to Florida. Solo parenting as I traveled 1100 miles with a 7-year-old and 1-year-old was looking pretty daunting…

Each summer as the military takes my husband away, I pack my kids into the car for a two-day, cross-country road trip from Michigan to Florida. We love spending summers there with family and it helps the time pass by quickly. This summer will be no different and I’ve already started thinking ahead to possible pit stops and unique sites along the way for the kids and I to enjoy!

Tips for Road Trips with Kids

Your Summer Road Trip Survival Guide

Safety First

Anytime you’re thinking of going on a road trip, basic car maintenance is a must. Check out our 5 Tips to Prepare for a Road Trip for simple things you can do to ensure that your car is road ready. It includes ways to inspect your tires, tips on getting an oil change and more. I recently switched both of our vehicles over to Mobil 1 Annual Protection oil, so I don’t have to worry about an oil change anytime soon. Not for one full year in fact (or 20,000 miles)! I would usually be due for an oil change after I made the round trip from Florida to Michigan!

Pro Tip: Pair the Mobil 1™ Annual Protection oil with the Mobil 1™ Extended Performance oil filter to protect engine systems for up to 20,000 miles, so you won’t have to worry about changing that either!

Now through 9/8/17, you can receive a $10 eGift Card when purchasing Mobil 1™ Annual Protection 5-quart jug at online at or in-store at Walmart. You can find out more about Mobil 1™ Annual Protection motor oil and pick some up online or in store.

Now is also the time to ensure your road assistance plan is up to date. If you don’t have one as part of your auto insurance policy, be sure to check your cellular plan and credit cards – some of them carry roadside assistance plans that many people don’t even know about.

Lastly, create an emergency kit with useful items such as water, a blanket, first aid kit, and a flashlight. As well basic car equipment such as a jack, tire iron, and jumper cables. Don’t forget to fully charge your phone before you leave, and bring a phone charger!


Pack Strategically

Delegate your heavy luggage to the back of your vehicle or your trunk. Keep a small overnight bag within easy reach that holds a change of clothes and toiletries for everyone. This will be helpful if your stopping overnight at a hotel (or arriving at your destination late in the evening). It’s also great to have in emergencies like a diaper blowout, motion sickness or spilled slushy.

I really love utilizing back-of-the-seat storage options. My 7-year-old is my co-pilot and it keeps everything in easy reach for her, and far away from my tiny monster (I say that with love). A plus is that I can see at a glance what we’re running low on!

A few of the staples include:

  • sunscreen and mosquito repellent for pit stops at the park
  • tissues
  • baby wipes (used for way more than diaper changes!)
  • activity books
  • umbrella
  • first aid kit
  • bottles of water


Sync Your Driving Schedule with Your Families Routines

When scheduling your driving time, think about when your kids usually eat and sleep. For example, I try to leave early in the morning, around 5 AM. This gives me about 4 hours of driving time before the kids really wake up and are ready for breakfast. After a good stop for breakfast, we’re back on the road until lunch time. For lunch we take a longer break and try to find a park to play, so that they can burn off some of their endless energy. This allows them a good nap once we’re back in the car and allows me to drive until dinner, when we stop for an evening break.

Photo Jun 12, 6 15 09 PM

Make the Most of Pit Stops

No matter how intent you are on making it to a set destination by the end of your driving day, you’ll have to stop along the way. It’s just a part of traveling with kids. For me, I found a really helpful rule of thumb to making as few stops as possible: refuel at a ½ tank.

Because I know my kids will need to stop pretty routinely, I actually pull over to fill up whenever I get to a half tank of gas. This means we’re filling up more frequently but it also cuts down “unnecessary” stops in between refueling. By stopping at every ½ tank, I can get a couple of good hours of driving in. When I refuel, I make everyone take a bathroom break, stretch their legs, and replenish any snacks that we need. This also ensures that I’m not stuck looking for a gas station as we near empty…if you’ve ever taken a road trip with young children, you probably know firsthand what that panic feels like as you see the empty tank light come on without a gas station in sight. Running out of gas on the side of the road is every traveling parent’s worst fear!

You can use apps like Roadside America, Google/iOS Maps, iExit, and Roadtrippers to find the best places to stop along the way. If I’m just looking to refuel and stretch, I like an exit that’s easy on and off the freeway – and preferably not too busy.

Photo Jul 08, 1 36 10 PM

For longer stops such as lunch time, I try to find an area that has a good choice of restaurants and something to do nearby: playgrounds, parks, and old-fashioned attractions, such as giant statues and kitschy tourist stops.

Snack and Meal Time Tips

Because we travel with young kids, we try to plan meals while they’re awake (and just before or after sleep time). When at all possible, try to get out and stretch your legs BEFORE sitting down for a meal because it can be difficult to keep kids quiet and sitting still after hours in the car.


  • Opt for kid-friendly, sit down restaurants with outdoor patios when possible so the kids can move around a bit. During nice weather, taking food to-go to a local park or even back to your hotel room is another great option.
  • Keep an easy-access snack tote between the kids seats. The one I use is actually just a shower caddy that I’ve filled with things like water, a sippy cup, granola bars and fruit snacks.
  • An insulated bag is great for things like string cheese, tubes of yogurt, and other perishables.

Keep Them Entertained

Every year on their first birthday, my grandmother gifts each kid a quiet book and they’re AMAZING for travel. It’s basically a sensory book for kids full of snaps, clicks, zips, and more. We LOVE it and it travels everywhere with us. My daughter has outgrown her busy book but she loves to write and journal. A travel journal keeps her busy and lets her document memories of the trip. I like to pack pencils and colored pencils because they don’t break as easily as crayons and can always be sharpened.

Small toys like cars, finger puppets and dolls keep both kids busy with imaginative open ended play. But we’re also a fan of technology! A brand new movie keeps kids occupied for a couple of hours and we bring along both of their iPads. For older kids, like Maddilyn, encourage them to learn more about our travel and geography with apps like Stack the States. Keep younger kids entertained with learning apps like  Nick Jr.’s A to Z with Moose and Zee.

Most importantly, don’t forget about changing the oil and the oil filter in your car before you head out on your road trip!


When you use Mobil 1™ Annual Protection motor oil, you can head out on that road trip with peace of mind, as they put their products through a rigorous testing process to ensure that it has met the highest standards for motor oil performance; including a 120,000-mile proof of performance test on three vehicles: 2015 Chevy Malibu LT, 2.0L TGDI, 2015 Lexus NX 200t, 2.0L Turbo, 2016 Ford Fusion SE, 1.5 L EcoBoost – all three vehicles featured turbocharged, direct-injection engines, which are notoriously tough on oil.

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After testing, the Mobil 1 research team concluded M1 AP extended oil life and resistance to oil breakdown, offered maximum wear protection and prevented harmful deposits and exceptional sludge control, providing excellent engine cleanliness!

Believe it or not, after driving around town for a month AND an 1,100 mile road trip I still have 17,000 miles to go before my next oil change. Actually, I’ll be making the return trip back to Florida from Michigan in less than I week and I will still have 15,000 miles to go before my next oil change – typically I would have needed two oil changes by the end of my trip! Having one less worry (and expense) for my road trip was awesome.

Summer is just beginning, make sure to take advantage of this great product while you can still receive a $10 eGift Card when purchasing Mobil 1™ Annual Protection 5-quart jug at online at or in-store at Walmart!

Happy travels!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mobil 1 at Walmart.

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  1. says

    Your travel tips are great. I’m lucky that my husband is a mechanic and handles all of our car maintenance needs. Although my dad made sure that I could do it if I had to.

  2. Cheryl says

    I remember traveling with little ones and car kits were essential! You can never think of too many activities to bring.

  3. Ben says

    I love getting my car serviced at Walmart. I get it done fast and, and I don’t have to pay through the nose. That’s a winner for me.

  4. says

    These are all great tips. We just went off on our kid-free road trip yesterday and I Happened to make sure we checked the oil before we left but alas we do need an oil change soon! I love the idea of making the most from pit stops, that’s number one when we do a road trip with kids!

  5. says

    Thanks for the great tips about taking a road trip and how to prepare. I love that you mentioned that basic car maintenance is a must and then provided specific ways to prepare. Last week my car broke down on a road trip and I want to be more responsible and ready this time. I also just heard that calling ahead for roadside assistance will help if a real emergency happens.

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