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It’s been far too long since our family has had a vacation. We take the opportunity to explore Colorado but as far as a vacation where we get a hotel and stick around for a few days? It’s been a few years and we were beyond due. On Red’s last day of school, we picked him up and left Colorado for a drive down to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have been to several states in the southwest, but this was my first trip to New Mexico so I was excited.
The drive took a little over six hours so it was dinner time when we pulled into Santa Fe. We unpacked the car, settled into our hotel room, then went out for dinner. Before I say anything else about this trip, let me tell you that the food in Santa Fe is amazing! We enjoyed every meal and if I lived in Santa Fe I would probably be as big as a house.
On our first full day in New Mexico, we took a drive down to Albuquerque to visit the Rio Grande Zoo and purchased the combo pass so we could also visit the aquarium and botanical gardens. Given the size of these three places, it took a whole day to see all three of them and I think there were some exhibits that we missed. I would highly recommend a visit if you find yourself in the area, with or without the kids.
For the rest of our trip, we stayed in Santa Fe and explored this amazingly beautiful city. The thing that surprised me the most is that yes, just about everything really is made of adobe. The other surprise is that it is smaller than either of us imagined. It had an artsy small town feel, unlike every other capital city that I’ve ever been to.
The colors and the architecture were absolutely breathtaking. The terra cottas, turquoises, purples, and reds were almost a sensory overload. With these colors, it was almost impossible to take a bad photo.
While in town we couldn’t resist following some of the historic Route 66 while trying to help Dub find Radiator Springs. It wasn’t as easy to find as this sign suggests, though. As cool looking as it is, we got a little confused by this sign. In reality, we had to head out of Santa Fe and follow the Turquoise Trail for a while before we met up with Route 66 further out. Once we figured out where we were going it was a beautiful drive. One pro tip though, don’t drink too much on the ride. There aren’t many if any bathrooms to be found. I learned that the hard way.
This trip was just what we all needed and it came off without a hitch. I think our move out to Colorado helped us to prepare for traveling with kids and we used those tips once again.
My Top 10 Tips for Taking a Road Trip with Kids:
- Make sure your children are properly restrained in their safety seat (if needed)
- Be sure to have at least one charged cell phone
- Pack a cooler with plenty of snacks and drinks (we brought water, juice boxes, fruit, veggies, individual containers of yogurt, applesauce, and hummus, crackers, jerky, and trail mix)
- Pack sandwiches for longer trips
- Bring books, music, travel games, and coloring books
- Play car games like the license plate game or A My Name Is…
- Pack as light as possible
- Keep essential items easily accessible
- Make several stops to eat and stretch
10. Most importantly, be sure that your car is in tip-top shape before leaving. We topped off all of our fluids, changed our windshield wipers, had the tires rotated, and stopped at the Walmart Auto Center for an oil change. Our car was just shy of 75,000 miles so we chose the Pennzoil High Mileage oil change which is on rollback for $35.88 from the regular price of $39.88. If you would prefer the Platinum oil change that is also on rollback for $45.88 from the regular price of $49.88. Prices available from June 10th to September 9th.
Pennzoil also offers a free warranty that covers 15 engine parts that may fail due to engine wear or which experience abnormal wear due to friction. (For more information, check out the Pennzoil Warranty Site.)