Based on the title I’m sure you can guess how I feel about road trips. For me they’ve always been about getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible while keeping everyone somewhat happy. However, the last few times we’ve piled the fam bam into the car for a trip, I’ve tried to embrace the, “getting there is half the fun” mentality (even though that person that first said that probably didn’t have kids or a small bladder) and it has definitely helped. Having a little bit older kids probably helps a ton too, but either way I thought I’d share what’s been making the time between departure and arrival feel more like a fun adventure… Plus a few pics from our trip to Pullman to see Ozzie last weekend!
- USE YOUR SOUND SETTINGS + PACK HEADPHONES FOR THE KIDS — probably a no-brainer but just in case! You know how you can mute the speakers in the front or back of the car? It comes in handy while using all the media available to us these days! As for headphones I swear by these for the little kids and these for the older ones (bonus that they can plug into each and share audio!!!). This set is also a great choice for any of them!
- LET THE KIDS PICK SOMETHING FROM THE GAS STATION — It a weekly stop where the kids are always bound to their seats while us parents get out and fill up. Be the coolest parent ever and let them actually walk into the mini mart and pick a little something out. Boundaries are cool, like you can’t buy a red slurpee that will wind up in your carseat, but a bag of chips, gum or even a milkshake (if you saw our college video you know) will add huge parenting points to the board.
- NO DRINKS UNTIL THEY NEED THEM — kids have the worst timing and give you zero warning when it comes to potty breaks so even though I’ve turned a new leaf, I’m holding firm to this strategy, lol. I try to put off giving them something to sip on until they’re actually thirsty. I do the same for myself too! Unless of course I’m dying for coffee. Ha!
- TALK ABOUT YOUR DRIVE BEFOREHAND AND USE A ROAD TRIP PLANNING APP — make it part of the trip and talk about different landmarks and where you might want to stop (this app has been great!). It helps add context to the drive so kids don’t just feel like they’re along for a loooooong boring ride.
- HAVE A DEPARTURE STRATEGY — before most road trips I send Johan out the door with allllll of our children for a walk or to put gas in the car, while I finish packing any snacks and water bottles and tidy up the downstairs. Even if it means we’re leaving 30 minutes late, leaving a somewhat tidy home is a great way to start things off well and is always worth it…. If I’m traveling by myself I’ll send the kids out to the trampoline or give them a task or activity to do that isn’t downstairs :)
- IT’S OKAY IF SOMEONE’S CRYING — or is it? again, decide before you leave how you’re going to handle meltdowns, accidents and messes.
- GIVE OUT JOBS!!! — pick someone to pass out the snacks, play DJ, keep track of time, entertain the toddler, etc. Switch every 30 minutes if needed.
- KNOW YOUR LIMITS — we drove 24 hours from Seattle area to Phoenix when I was 6 months pregnant with a 2, 5, 7 and 13 year old and I swore on my life that I will never be in a car that long again. However, a trip to the eastside of the state (5-ish hours), even though I don’t love it, is not that big of a deal. Haven’t done much driving in-between those times but there’s been a lot of chatting about driving to San Francisco and I’m nervously excited about it!
- STOP + GET OUT OF THE CAR — I already kinda said this, but it deserves it’s own number. If you aren’t on a major time crunch, take the opportunities to make memories and snap a few pics!
- ADD THE DRIVE TO YOUR TRIP BUDGET — again, just another simple stress reliever for any parents that are more number oriented. Next time you drive by a cute drive thru or fruit stand, stop and enjoy! The price has already been factored in :)
So those are my best tips but mostly this post is me saying that you should take that road trip you’ve been dreaming of!!!! You will survive and have funny stories and eventually you’ll feel like a badass for taking trips with your family. It’s also just a really cost effective way to travel + explore + adventure with your people! Even if just for a day.
And when all else fails, look to small victories like drinks that are still upright, any amount of time spent facing forward in your seat, passing slowwwww cars, taking in scenery + singing a full song out-loud, sustain you!
A few pics from Pullman from my big camera… I took all the game day pics with my phone and shared on stories!