Monthly Archives: September 2015

Road Trip Bucket List

Bucket lists increased in popularity after the movie by the same name from 2007. By definition, a bucket list is a list of things you hope to accomplish by the time you pass away. The list cements what’s important and gives a goal to work toward. The same idea can be applied to a specific, shorter time like a summer or two-week vacation (as opposed to a lifetime). Writing down your hopes for the upcoming road trip will help to make sure your priorities are realized.

RV parked on scenic view

Compile the List

Grab a piece of scratch paper and brainstorm what you want to do or see. You might want to carry it with you for a few days or keep it handy while you search travel guides and the internet. Make sure you get input from everyone who will be traveling with you. For the initial list, write EVERYTHING down, no matter how far-fetched it seems with time or money constraints. A bucket list is supposed to include specific and sometimes out of the ordinary goals. So, if you often make a plan, maybe something on your bucket list will be two or three completely spur-of-the-moment days. I realize that even in suggesting that, you are planning for unplanned days, but at least you will be trying something a little different.

Organize the List

Armed with a list, you can make some decisions about how to organize your list. Maybe you’ll organize it by a timeline and calendar of your anticipated destinations. If you have more than one traveler, maybe you’ll prioritize it by majority votes. You might be surprised that everyone wants to do something slightly out of the way. But if everyone wants to do it, it might be worth the detour. Maybe you’ll organize it by state or city. Any way you chose to do it, classify your ideas so you can move to the next step.

Adjust the List

In the first step, you write everything down, but clearly you cannot visit 10 museums in 2 days (and do it well). Now is the time to put the list into perspective. If you have several high-dollar items on your list, consult with your budget and decide what you really want to do. Adjusting the list doesn’t mean you try to plan your itinerary or only include things you know will get crossed off: try to be both realistic AND hopeful. Part of the purpose of the bucket list is to bring to fruition things that might not get accomplished if left to chance. If there are multiple contributors, make sure everyone gets at least one of their ideas on the final list.

Post the List

As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Don’t let this be the case with your trip bucket list. My children and I have made bucket lists of our wishes for the summer. In our house, we have the room to print them in an expanded, poster version that are two sheets by two sheets of computer paper. I have the older children write their own lists and I write for the little ones. We include pictures, either drawn or from clipart. Over the course of the summer, we have fun completing the list because it’s right there in front of us. You probably don’t have room for 4 sheets of paper to hang on the walls of your RV, but a simple 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper on the fridge will do the job. Make it colorful. Add pictures. Or simply leave it plain. Any way you do it, make sure you display the list.

Do the List

Now that the list is there, get ready to start making your dreams come true. Go see the sights. Taste the foods. Visit the museums. Be thrilled on the roller coasters. Hike the trails. Check. Check. Check. Experience your trip the way you imagined it.

Remember the List

At the end of the summer, we use our list to make a journal of the past three months, though the descriptions might be better if we didn’t wait until the end of the summer to write about the experiences. Use a journal, make a scrapbook or write a postcard of the memories as you go along. If visiting all the states is on your list, purchase this State Stickers Map to give you another visual reminder of your goal. If there are things on the list that haven’t been accomplished, use them for
another trip.

If you’re not a planner, a bucket list can help you achieve some dreams. If you’re already an obsessive coordinator, a bucket list can bring some spontaneity to your trip. Traveling alone? You get to make the whole list for yourself. Traveling with others? Include suggestions from everyone. Disappointment comes from unmet expectations, so defining the desires leads to less disappointment.

A Road Trip Bucket List is a fun way to make sure your trip reaches its full potential.

Food Prep Ideas for Cooking in Your RV

When packing your RV, you know you must be mindful of space and that includes the kitchen and pantry items you decide to take. There are items like salt and pepper that will get used often enough to take the whole bottle, but what about those favorite recipes that call for a little of this and a little of that? With a bit of careful preparation, you can make the most of your time and space while on the road.

Collect the Recipes

Keep a collection of your favorite recipes at your fingertips. If you prefer the digital, find an app that will keep your recipes together. While I love my computer and other digital devices, I still like my recipes (and maps, for that matter) in paper form. If an actual card is your preference, then put the ones you want to use in a baggie to protect them from food and to keep them together. When you’re making a certain recipe, put that card on top, reseal the bag and voila, an instant recipe card cover that can be wiped clean of any food traces. Consider taking a copy of cards that hold sentimental value like ones with Grandma’s handwriting on them.

A Little Prep Goes a Long Way

Chances are you’re not going to need an entire bottle of cumin or cinnamon. Use the smaller, zippered snack bags to pre measure spices for your recipes. Label them with these four things: 1) the date, 2) the recipe, 3) the amount of the recipe (1 full recipe, 1/2 batch, etc) and 4) what is actually in the bag. You can also do this for treats like cookies and cake. These will probably go in a quart or gallon sized bag and the recipe could be written or taped onto the bag. Make it even easier by highlighting or listing separately the remaining ingredients needed to make the recipe like eggs and oil. Think of it as your own boxed cake mix, but with your favorite recipe (and in a bag).

Make a Few Meals Before You Travel

It’s likely your freezer won’t hold enough for your entire trip, but you could make a casserole or two ahead of time for an easy meal later. Frozen, these casseroles are also great ice packs for a day or so of travel in a cooler. Often they are a one-stop-shop meal and can include veggies, starch and/or protein.

Package in Smaller Packages

We’ve all seen the disclaimer: “Sold by volume. Contents may have settled in shipment.” You don’t need the extra air taking up space in your pantry. Invest in some good reusable, tightly-sealed containers and keep items in them. For something like cereal, you could place several bags in one container, keeping the items in the bag but ditching the box. Make sure you label the bag and then just seal with a clothespin. You will need to be careful of mixing items that overpower each other. For instance, storing mints and chocolate together will give your chocolate a minty flavor.

rv shelf bars

These boxes will stack nicely in the pantry and keep things from getting jostled around on the road. Group and label the boxes in a way that makes sense for your family and it will be easier to set out a meal as well. Breakfast? Grab the cereal box. Snack? Grab the box with crackers and chips. You might also want the refrigerator and shelf bars that keep things in place. There are several options available. Camco single bars, the Fasteners Unlimited refrigerator and shelf bar, and Camco double bars are all great choices.

Get rid of the extra air in prepackaged foods in the refrigerator and freezer as well. If you have items that you will freeze from a thawed state (marinated chicken breasts portioned for your travelers), put in a zippered, freezer bag and freeze laying down. These become like flat, frozen pancake-bricks and are easy to stack or stand on end like books once they are frozen.

Check out the Fridge Airator and the Fridge Odor Absorber to keep your items fresh. For more space on your counter when prepping your meals, consider using stove covers .

Stick to a Menu & Keep a List

Make a list of your meals, knowing that you will still have to have some flexibility. If you think you will eat out, incorporate those times too. Include breakfast, lunch and dinner, as opposed to just the main meal, so you don’t get caught without bread for sandwiches because you used it for toast that morning.

If children are in tow, having a list helps the picky eaters.  Post the list and then they can see that while they don’t like today’s lunch, tomorrow is coming and it is their favorite! It also helps to defer to (or blame, if that’s how you see it) the list: “Well the menu says we’re having this, so that’s what dinner is tonight.”

Keep your menu and shopping list organized by drawing a line down a piece of paper and list the foods you brought on one side and the foods you’ll need to buy to complete the meals on another side. If you really want to get organized, group your shopping side together by headings in a way that it will likely be grouped in the store. For example, dry goods, deli, meats, produce, dairy, snacks and paper products. When shopping in new grocery stores, it will be helpful if you don’t have to run around the store looking for items.

Think Outside the Box

I once had a friend who told me she didn’t make lasagna because her family couldn’t eat an entire 9×13 pan. It never occurred to her to split the recipe by making two 8×8 pans, baking one and freezing another for a second meal later. If it’s just two of you on the road, you’re not going to eat a whole recipe either. But for something like lasagna, you can divide a full 9×13 recipe into 3 or 4 loaf pans. Make these ahead of time and take one or two with you and leave the others for an easy meal when you’re back home unpacking and cleaning the RV. Made in a disposable tin pan, they also provide easy cleanup.

Leftover Soup

Did you know that leftover veggies and meat make a great soup when combined with some broth? Keep a container in the fridge or freezer (depending on your space and how soon you will consume it) and dump the leftovers there. When you’ve gathered enough, add some chicken or beef broth and heat. Then pair with a loaf of crusty bread. YUMMY!

Think Ahead, Enjoy Later

Making delicious meals on the road doesn’t have to be a chore. You probably have taken the time to think through your route and itinerary, so why not do the same for your menu? A little planning will make it easy and enjoyable to provide nourishment for your road trip.

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