I am not someone who is particularly fond of long road trips, especially when anyone under the age of 18 is involved. In fact, Iâ€™m pretty sure that the last time we took a family road trip, when the girls were 2 and 4, I swore the whole thing off forever.
But itâ€™s been 3 years and apparently, like labor and delivery, I have forgotten the feeling of hell that is a road trip with children. Nonetheless, I am committed and we hit the road this Friday headed for Orlando. Translation; we will be spending 18 hours minimum in the car each way. I should probably just say my goodbyes to everyone now.
Itâ€™s been rumored that there are some things that can help to prep yourself and your children for a road trip that may actually make life easier and the trip itself more pleasurable. Iâ€™m all for making the return trip from the happiest place on earth, so I compiled a family road trip survival list.
Tips for surviving a road trip:
Prep your mommy mind beforehand. Go into this road trip with the expectation of nothing. Know that it may go smoothly but it may be nothing more than a barrage of rapid fire â€œAre we there yetâ€s followed by a quick onset of “Mommy, Iâ€™m bored” blues. Be prepared. Take lots of deep breaths and keep in mind that they are children and being buckled in for that many hours is torturous for most adults (me included).
Plan on making loads of stops. Do not even entertain the thought that you will be driving for more than 3 hours without a stop. It wonâ€™t happen and trying to convince yourself that it will happen, will only lead to aggravation.
Kids need to potty (small bladders), stretch their legs, breathe fresh air and eat constantly. You know this. Donâ€™t pretend that your kids are the exception to the rule. They. Are. Not!
Pack a large variety of snacks and drinks. Channel your inner mommy of a newborn; be prepared for anything and everything. Sure since your kids are out of diapers and can chew up pretty much anything, you think they are sort of self-sufficient and have some self-control.
Put that crazy idea right out of your mind. They arenâ€™t and they donâ€™t. Think ravenous, starving, hungry, easily bored and slightly larger newborns. You are Seymour and they are the Audrey IIâ€™s in your back seat. Feed Me, Seymour.
Be sure that you have an in car DVD player. If you donâ€™t, run to the store right now and buy one. Go! Hurry. Iâ€™ll wait. Going on a road trip with little ones without having a DVD player is like getting a Brazilian wax while having razor burn, in the mall while Rosanne Barr sings the national anthem; so painful and totally not worth the excruciating torture.
Bring every DVD, coloring book, crayon, book, lovey and DS game that you have ever owned. You think I am joking. I am not. If you can fit it in the vehicle and it might be able to calm your child for 5 minutes, that is 5 minutes that they wonâ€™t be whining. Think Calliou on steroids.
Make sure everything is charged and bring chargers. For your own mental health and your childâ€™s safety, make sure all electronics are charged. There is nothing quite like being stranded with no distractions for anything over a 4 hour road trip.
Make a plan. Just like your birth plan, make a plan. It may not go as you had intended but at least you will feel like you are somewhat in control of a situation that is so clearly beyond the control of any parent, ever. Thinking you can control a childâ€™s behavior on a road trip is like thinking you can hold the wind.
Most importantly, remember that you love these people that you are trapped in the car with. Seriously, my husband and I drove to Florida from Indiana for our honeymoon. I was all hopped up on endorphins and a wedding high and I still thought I might kill myself by the time we made it to our destination BUT we talked a lot.
The conversation flowed and now, I canâ€™t think of a better way to have started our marriage. I am looking forward to making memories and getting to hear my daughtersâ€™ opinions about things and see the excitement in their eyes when they see everything for the first time.
Personally, I still think there should be a law against any family road trips over 4 hours. I remember being a child and every summer making the long drive to our house in Mexico.
Itâ€™s all a blur now of riding horses, seeing relatives and new experiences but I distinctly remember being squished in the backseat with my 4 brothers and sisters and praying for death. Longest trip ever but there was a lot of love in that car. To this day, I am very close to all of my brothers and sisters. We survived a near death experience and you canâ€™t beat that kind of bond.
What tips do you have for surviving a family road trip?
Photo Source: Cookie Flores