DON’T! Why would you want to!? Perhaps you enjoy whining, crying, and throw up. If this is the case, by all means-take a trip around the world. Otherwise, I would advise you to STAY HOME.
Let me explain my cynicism. I happen to be in the car right now, driving home from visiting my husband’s and my family. Our drive is 8 hours long, but with 3 kids ages 1,3, and 5, it will probably feel much longer.
When I was single, I loved to travel. I loved long drives. What is there not to love? I love the freedom of the open road, good times and new places to visit. I have great memories of singing songs at the top of my lungs, being crazy with my siblings, and enjoying the view outside the window.
This changed after the 1st trip my husband and I took -hold that thought, the baby is crying- I’m back, at least one handed. Anyway, 5 months after we had our first child I had a severe case of cabin fever and longed to go on the road for a vacation of sorts. My parents had a time share at a condo 3 hours away, and it seemed a perfect opportunity. Well, to make a long story short, the drive down was the stuff of nightmares. Our daughter screamed from the moment we got in the car till the moment we staggered out of the car at our destination, minus a short increment of nursing half way through. Pretty much since then I have dreaded long car trips.
I suppose that if you have to go, I could offer a few ideas that have helped us as we trek between home and family.
Our 8 hour drive is really bearable if we can break up the drive. We have stopped at a hotel (with a swimming pool of course!) half way through the drive, and 4 hours seems just about right for everyone to stay happy.
Another thing we love to take along on our 8 hour trip is several books on tape. These are mostly fun for my husband and I, and they keep us awake. Agatha Christy we have found to be especially gripping.
Movies, movies, movies. This is probably the only time you will hear me endorse television, but it does help on long drives when the kids are stir crazy and need something to take their minds off of their aching buttocks.
Once I actually got up the gumption to make a back of the seat holder such as this. You can pack snacks, drinks, toys, and whatever else in it. This is a great website for homemade car travel toys. If you would like to buy some, there is an endless array of magnet hangman, word puzzles, etc. The back of the seat holder worked well and made it so I didn’t have to turn around to give the kids stuff, they could reach a lot themselves. It helped keep the car floor clear of stuff, which also helps keep parents happy. This leads me into the next point which I have found:
If momma and daddy are happy, then everyone’s happy! I have suffered through trips (we drive this sometimes 4 times a year, there and back) where I have been dreading it and had an all around bad attitude. This transferred to everyone and things went from bad to worse. It helps everyone if you can just find one or two things that are going right. Sometimes for me this has meant just holding on to the thought that this will end in just 3 hours and 25, 24, 23 minutes. Other times you can have a lot of fun on drives with your kids, especially as they grow older. We enjoy singing together, looking out the window, telling stories, etc. One thing I love is the time I get to talk to my husband without other distractions (if the kiddos are watching a show :)).
Well, we are nearing the end of our trip, just half an hour to go, and it’s been pretty good. So, I change my tune. It can still be fun to take the kids on the road with you. All you need to do is a little planning and prep, and remember to have fun!
Note: I have not addressed the issue of barfing. Luckily, none of my kids get carsick. For insights on that, you’ll have to ask my sister Alberta. 😉
What sort of things do YOU do to make long car trips bearable?