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Traveling with children is amazing. They get to see and experience life in a whole different way when it’s right in front of them, rather than seeing it on a screen watching other people travel. But packing for them is quite a feat – Which is why I am not covering it in this post – ha! I will in another one, soon, though, promise!
This post is all about Mom/Dad. These are my top 7 travel must haves when it comes to packing. Everyone is different but I know this list will definitely resonate with a few!
1. Eco-Friendly Pill Organizer– I take a few different vitamins and medications so worrying about my basic pill organizer popping open in my checked bag is a real anxiety. This food-grade plastic, cereal shell fiber case is eco-friendly and incredibly safe with it’s double locking feature. The large capacity is amazing for travel and even for having at home.
2. Fitbit Versa 3 – I don’t go anywhere without my Fitbit. It helps me ensure I’m getting the correct amount of steps in, lets me know if I’m getting an important call whilst driving and keeps me up to date with my sleeping / stress habits. The new versa 3 is pretty amazing with all of it’s new software and capabilities!
3. Larq Self Cleaning Water Bottle – This is my favorite water bottle ever. I have a little bit of a water bottle obsession and it has ended with this one. It uses UV-C light to neutralize bacteria in water. That means you could even gather stream water and it’ll disinfect it to make it safe for drinking. That’s survivalist gear at its best! I love this bottle, seriously, and take it with me everywhere. It even has a little carrying sleeve for convenience.
4. American Tourister Luggage – I loveee hardshell luggage bags. I get so anxious that it’ll be crushed or damaged when it’s in the plane’s cargo hold but having a hard-shelled bag makes me feel so much better knowing my souvenirs aren’t getting crushed ;P This bag is cute, has amazing wheels that don’t get caught when you’re trying to wrangle the kids and again, it’s hard-shelled!
5. Samsung Galaxy Pro Buds– Chances are whether you’re taking a flight or going on a road trip, your kids will be watching their tablets in order for you to gain a little bit of your sanity back. If that’s the case pop in some of these amazing ear buds and treat yourself to some self-love with a favorite song, an audio book or that podcast everyone has been talking about.
6. Selfie Stick Tripod– OKAY. Before you start virtually throwing things at me, hear me out… You’re on a trip by yourself with your three kids and you want to take a photo of all of you (cuz you never get photos of yourself with them) but there’s no one around. This tripod holds all types of phones, cameras, and video devices using different heights and angles! It comes equipped with a remote so there’s no running back and forth and then there’s the selfie stick aspect which you don’t have to use if you don’t want to. 😉
7. Hanging Travel Toiletries Bag – I used this on my last trip for the first. time. ever. I have no clue how I made it this long without using one of these. Having your toiletries, medicine, makeup and jewelry in ONE place where your kids cannot reach is a literal GAME CHANGER. If you don’t have one already I highly recommend investing in one. These’ll last you years and you’ll never go back to separate toiletries bags!
What other must haves have you found? I’ll be doing a Kid’s Travel Must Haves soon because that one is a doozy.
Have you ever taken a trip and loved it so much you have to go again in the same year? Well that’s how I feel about South Dakota.. If y’all recall I went back in May with Hudson and my little sister, Eulalia. We had so much fun we had to go back but this time I was taking Hudson, my Husband Brent, my Father in Law Charles and my step-daughter Marret. None of them had ever been to South Dakota and always thought it was desert-y.. Man were they in for a surprise..
I planned the whole trip and booked the same Roosevelt Inn we stayed in earlier in the year because it was so amazing! We made the 5 1/2 hour drive from Colorado to Keystone, SD (The BEST city to stay in because it’s 3 miles from Mount Rushmore and about 25 miles from Rapid City but it still so quiet and gorgeous!) We arrived at our incredible hotel, Roosevelt Inn and were as usual greeted by the amazing staff there (They even recognized me!) and made it up to our amazing loft bedroom! Two queen beds downstairs and two twin beds upstairs.. The kids were SO excited to have their own space… And TV 😉
We didn’t want to waste anytime at all so we headed straight out from the hotel to see the sights.. We headed through the gorgeous black hills to the famous Reptile Gardens, it holds the world record for most reptile species on their grounds.. The gardens are gorgeous and so well taken care of.. Even in the beginning of the cold season their flowers were blooming and beautiful.
They’ve got incredibly large tortoises for the kids the pet and pythons to feel.. Inside their monster dome they’ve got the most beautiful exhibits holding scary yet amazing snakes, crocodiles, alligators and more! It was SO cool for the kids to see up close!
After exploring for an hour and a half we decided to head out to Rapid City for a look at their Dinosaur Park (Y’all know how obsessed Hudson is with dinosaurs 😉 ) They were HUGE statues made in 1936 for the incoming tourism and the kids are able to climb, learn and slide down their tails! It’s at the top of a large hill smack in the middle of Rapid City so you can see the city in all directions. It was awe-inspiring!
We decided to head back to the hotel after a long day of driving and exploring – When you drive into Keystone you feel like you’re in a quiet, nestled mountain town with cute shops and amazing food.. But the best part is driving up to our gorgeous light house looking hotel.. The Roosevelt Inn is exactly how it sounds.. A hotel inspired by Theodore Roosevelt.. With quotes on the walls, decoration inspired by his interests and even a “Selfie with Teddy” spot 😉
We settled in and headed down to their wonderful heated pool and spent an hour splashing and playing without anyone else! It was a wonderful way to unwind after a long fun day..
The next morning we were greeted by amazing smells coming from the lobby. They’ve got a complimentary breakfast every morning and it’s amazing!! Always stocked, always delicious and always something different!
After filling our bellies with a hearty breakfast we began our next day adventures! Our first stop was right down the road at Mount Rushmore.. It was a little chilly outside so it was actually really quiet! We parked and walked up to the monuments and took in their grand and glorious faces.. It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen and won’t know until you see it!!
We shopped at their decently priced gift shop then headed to our next fun-stination (See what I did there? 😉 )
I’d ALWAYS wanted to visit the Cosmos Mystery Area.. I’d seen it in a text book when I was younger and always found it’s story so fascinating!
Their history states: “In 1952, two college boys searched the Black Hills looking for the perfect spot to build a summer cabin. Upon their search, they stumbled into the mysterious world of the Cosmos.
The old cabin areas especially piqued their interest as the laws of logic and physics seemed to be turned upside-down. They continued to experiment and develop the demonstrations until they eventually opened their discovery to the public in 1953.
Come experience for yourself what continues to amaze and baffle visitors for over 65 years.”
It is just as mysterious as it sounds.. Balls rolled upwards, water drained up, people were taller standing on different but same levels and it was so disorienting your head would spin! It’s like nothing you’ll ever experience anywhere else..
It was my step-daughter’s favorite part of the trip because it was just so different!! They had friendly staff and a cute dog named Albert to meet you once you were finished too 😉 We’ll absolutely be back next time we visit!
Once we left we had some delicious lunch at The Front Porch and it was some of the best food we had the entire trip!! <3
After a quick nap at the hotel we walked around Keystone’s cute little shops for a few hours then ate some delicious dinner at the Ruby House for my birthday dinner! It’s a gorgeous old fashioned parlor themed restaurant with old paintings and guns hung all over the wall.
We were exhausted from the day so went back to our hotel and snuggled into our comfortable warm beds eager for the next days adventures..
We woke up to another morning of amazing breakfast which kickstarted our last day of fun!
I’d never seen so much fog than we had that morning! It was dense and really hard to see but we weren’t going to let that ruin our fun.. We drove into Rapid City for some sight seeing then on our way back decided to stop at the Dinosaur Museum.. They had over 50 life size dinosaur replicas.. Hudson was in HEAVEN! There was also a spooky mirror maze the kids wanted to go through and it was crazy cool! We were all so disoriented haha!!
After our dinosaur adventure we headed to my favorite part of our trip… Bear Country USA! It’s a drive thru park where animals roam free.. We had bears in the road, wolves ran right passed the car, elks were grazing and so much more… The fog had lightened up just a little but it actually made the experience a little more creepy and COOL! It was $55 for our vehicle but it was SO worth it.. Never will we ever get a chance to see a bear up THAT close again.. (Hopefully :p ) *I’ll add the bear photo as soon as I get it from my Husband’s phone :P*
We wrapped up our trip and headed back to the hotel for naps, swimming and their game room!
We were sad it was our last day.. So we went to do one last fun activity with the kids.. Some cosmic putt-putt at Putz n Glo.
After a fantastic night’s sleep we had one last breakfast, said our goodbyes to our amazing Roosevelt Inn staff and headed home.. This is a trip we’ll always remember.. It was the perfect weather and it was the end of their season so everything was quiet and slow.. Now that we’re back to fast paced Colorado living I’m already missing the sights and lifestyle South Dakota brings but we’ve decided to make a trip up every year as a new tradition.. And another tradition will be for us to always stay at the Roosevelt Inn because it was by far the most beautiful hotel we saw the whole time and added to the experience with it being president themed..
We highly recommend these adventures to anyone.. For only 5 1/2 hours away from Denver it makes for a perfect quick weekend getaway for families, couples or anyone wanting to slow down a little!
Thank you South Dakota for the best family vacation we’ve ever taken… We’ll be back!