People often tell me we’re crazy, which isn’t a lie. We tend to travel a lot. All of our family is in Michigan which means a 700 mile road trip 3-5 times a year. That translates to roughly 12-14 hours in the car. With four kids. Let that sink in a bit for you. IN THE CAR. However, we’ve figured out a few things that have made our lives easier and I’d like to share how we do it. We’ve come up with some systems and ways to organize ourselves that have helped us a lot, and keep us from losing our damn minds.
Truth be told, my kids are awesome travelers, but I’m not going to say it’s easy. I’d like to think some of this is because we’ve been doing big road trips regularly since they’ve been infants. It’s all they know. Before moving south, we’d camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (10 hour drive) or head to the Outer Banks (13 hour drive). Road trips, I guess are our thing, because who can afford to fly as a family anymore? And honestly, with a child with a severe peanut allergy, flying scares the crap out of me.
Now, even though we breed awesome travelers doesn’t mean we don’t have our share of “Have to pee so bad.” emergency stops, car puke incidents, spilled snacks and water bottles (that’s usually me), or general disasters. Let us not forget the trip when it took us 20 hours and an overnight stay at a hotel to get home because of a snow storm through Ohio and West Virginia. Nothing says white knuckles like driving through the mountains in a blizzard. Or maybe the time that someone (it was Mark) only packed one pair of underwear for 7 days.
Is traveling with kids a pain in the ass? Absolutely. Do I always dread it every trip? Hell yes! It’s a well known fact that a few days before we leave I have a little travel meltdown, because it’s just so much. When I was a new parent an older and wiser coworker once told me “Now that you have kids, it’s no longer called a vacation, it’s a trip.” Such wise words. I feel like we’re giving our kids experiences and opportunities that we didn’t have as kids. Which makes it worth it, sort of….
To keep this from getting super long, I’m going to break this down into a few posts. So watch for them over the next few days/weeks. If I remember (HA!) I’ll link them here as I write them. Also, if you have any particular questions, comment and I’ll try to answer them.
Part 2: Are We There Yet?