My family spent this week on the road traveling in an RV, so my favorite things this week all revolve things that made my life easier as a mom traveling with toddlers on the road.
If you don’t know much about me and my experience with money, here’s the scoop:
- I paid off over $42,000 in student loans in 34 months
- My husband and I saved enough money that I could leave my job as the breadwinner and insurance provider of our family
- So I could become a stay-at-home mom
- We cut tons of expenses in order to live off my husband’s teacher income while I figured out how to make money from home
Needless to say, I’m pretty frugal and intentional with how I spend my money. So when I say these things were worth spending money on because they made my life as a work-at-home mom of two toddlers easier, you know I’m serious!
Oh, and I read a TON of reviews before I buy things. Those of you who don’t want to spend a bunch of time researching love being able to get my opinion on what’s really worth it. And I’m thrilled to help save you time and money. So here we go…
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure to learn more.
1. Renting an RV
This was the first time our family really took a vacation with our toddlers (1- and 3-years-old). My husband and I have done lots of camping in tents and campers in our life pre-kids, but I don’t know that I could go back to camping in a tent now that I’ve had a taste of motorhome life!
The things I loved most about traveling in an RV are:
- I could get up and prepare fresh food while we kept driving toward our destination
- There was a good sized fridge, freezer, gas stove, oven and microwave to store and prepare meals and snacks
- My toddler and I could use the bathroom while we keep driving toward our destination (minus the driver, of course, but he rarely needed to stop)
- Set up and take down at the campsites was quick and easy
- Electricity, running water, heat and A/C – enough said.
- The table inside was easy to work from when I needed to get some things done while the kids were outside exploring.
We rented the RV through Outdoorsy and it was a positive experience. They actually wrote this article about how you can make money while traveling on the road, which was intriguing. I highly recommend renting a camper if your family’s looking to take a trip or if you have one sitting around and want to earn some extra cash.
2. Diono 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seats
If you are familiar with Diono car seats already, this is no news to you. But until a few months ago, I’d never even heard of the brand. I thought all car seats were pretty much made equally. I bought a Chicco convertible car seat for our firstborn. It was not cheap and I was disappointed with it. So when it came time to buy one for our son, I looked to my mama tribe for recommendations. And for them, I am so grateful.
Here’s what I love about Diono car seats:
- My toddler loves it. She got to test one of our neighbor’s and she instantly said, “I want to take this one home”
- It’s comfortable! The seat isn’t curved like our other one so the kids are not scrunched.
- They have awesome colors. We have a blue and a red. Minor detail but still a perk.
- They are easy to buckle. Getting the kids in and out is quick and easy.
- It fits newborn to child. These seats can legitimately be a child’s seat from 5 to 45 pounds comfortably.
If you’re looking to buy a car seat for your infant or toddler, this car seat made our week on the road easier on both parents and kids. I’ve seen these seats on Zulily but shipping seems to take a long time when I order from there, so I paid a little more and ordered from Amazon to get the fast and free shipping to have our second one delivered in time for the trip.
3. Strider Toddler Bike
My daughter received a Stride Balance Bike as a gift and it’s been fantastic now that she’s tall enough to use it! She had a blast riding it all over the campgrounds and parks during our trip. Even though she gave me several heart attacks riding down those rolling hills, I’m still a big fan.
The Strider balance bike is great because:
- It teaches the balance she needs as a foundation to bike riding
- It’s lightweight and easy to store even in small vehicles
- Adjustable seat and handlebars height grow with your child
- It’s light enough that my toddler can move it around by herself
If you need a bike for your toddler, the Strider Balance Bike is giving my daughter (and me) plenty of outside exploring and exercise together.
4. Stasher Reusable Silicone Food Bags
Ok, if you read last week’s Friday Favorites post, I listed them then too. But I said “I’m so glad we have these bags” and “I love these bags” so many times throughout our road trip that I couldn’t leave them off the list again. They’re that great!
Here’s what I love and how we used the Stasher bags this week:
- Stored half-eaten bowls of food to finish later
- Stored chopped veggies and fruit for easy-to-grab snacks
- Stored pancakes and muffins in the fridge and freezer
- Washed and reused the same bags many times throughout the week
- Heated up food in them instead of heating it in plastic bowls
- Saved space by having fewer Tupperware containers
- Saved waste by not using plastic baggies
We have the half-gallon bags, stand-up bags, sandwich size bags, and snack bags. We use them all regularly. While they might seem like an investment initially, understand that we’ve been resuing these same bags for over three years! Can you say that about all those plastic baggies piling up in the landfills and ocens? 🌎
Stasher bags are durable, high-quality silicone, and easy to handwash or put in the dishwasher (top rack). Plus, the work great in the fridge, freezer, oven, microwave or to store personal care items for your trip!
5. Contigo Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Coffee Mug
Coffee tastes great in any mug, and while I love drinking from my Do It Scared mug from the Living Well Shop when I’m at home, I prefer a travel mug when I’m on the road. This Contigo mug saved the day in several ways this week.
Here’s why I love the Contigo Travel Coffee Mug:
- It keeps coffee or tea hot for hours. Seriously hours.
- It has an autoseal lid that works! My mug toppled over several times this week and not a drop of coffee was lost. Woo hoo!
- It fits most cup holders and bag water bottle holders
- The top is top rack dishwasher safe
- **Baby Mom Hack** I used to put hot water in this mug and a Dr. Brown’s bottle of milk to take on day trips or to church. It kept the milk warm for my baby for a long time, which was awesome for a baby who completely refused cold milk!
As I’ve been working toward minimalism, I’ve gotten rid of many mugs that didn’t suit my needs and am only keeping or buying the things I really love. While other mugs didn’t make the cut, my Contigo travel coffee mug was the one mug I brought for the entire weeklong trip! Warm coffee in the cool mornings and on long days of driving made our trip even more enjoyable.
Incorporate Learning On Your Trip
Now that we’re a homeschool family, our last road trip was full of learning and the drive actually went much smoother! Check out my Fun Tips for Elementary Homeschooling while Traveling!
That’s a Wrap! Five Things I Loved During Our Road Trip
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