Sunday, January 14, 2018

Dawn's Survival Guide for Family Road-Trips

My youngest 3 kiddos and I drove to Chicago to celebrate Christmas with our family. We were on the road for 20 hours to get there. Twenty hours. TWENTY HOURS! In that time (and during all the other road trips I've taken with my kids) I learned some things. Things that I will happily pass along to you because really, no one should ever have to endure the stench of chili dogs the second time around (if you know what I mean) for 20 hours.

10. Do not let your children eat White Castle before or during a road trip. Trust me on this. (Chili dogs were added to the list this year.)

9.  Download music or bring along CDs because some states (I'm looking at you, Tennessee) do not have much variety in radio stations unless you want to sing along to Kenny Rogers and Merle Haggard the whole way.

8.  Use the child locks on the windows. They are there for a reason, and I'm pretty sure that reason is so bored kids don't throw stale donut holes out the window and into the bed of the pickup truck next to you.

7.  Bring food. Now I know there are people who will say that shoving food down your kids' throats just to get them to shut up for 5 minutes is simply not good parenting. Those people have not spent 20 hours in a car with my kids. I reiterate - bring food.

6.  Do not ask your children if they need to use the bathroom when you stop for gas because they will not need to go until you're back on the road and 5 minutes away from the last stop. Force them to go. Threaten to sing Barry Manilow tunes if they refuse.

5.  Pack a small bag for each person with pajamas, toothbrush/any other toiletries they need, and clothes for the next day. It's much easier for each person to grab their small bag when you stop at a hotel for the night, than to search through the big suitcases for what you need.

4.  If you don't already have it, get AAA. Best. Investment. Ever! A flat tire on the side of the road does not have to be a catastrophe.

3.  Download a good GPS app like Waze which also alerts you to construction, stopped cars, and other hazards, reroutes you around traffic, gives you a head's up when police are spotted, and lets you customize the voice (Santa directed us to Chicago and Liam Neeson brought us home "Hazard ahead. Activate stealth mode.")

2.  Bring garbage bags and diaper wipes even if your kids are well out of diaper-wearing age. Someone, whose name rhymes with Looklyn, once threw up in the middle of Indiana. If the thought of smelling vomit-covered clothing through 5 states is unappealing to you, you'll be happy to have garbage bags and wipes.

1.  Did I mention using the child locks on your windows? If you need another reason, do it so your child can't lure Bigfoot out of "squatchy-looking" areas with beef jerky.


Ernie said...

This is hilarious. As always. You never disappoint. Damn, I thought I created the small 'hotel bag' rule. I also have 6 kids. We have road tripped to awesome National Parks three times. Once we brought my dad along. His suitcase was bigger than I was. Dad!!!! Anyway, I make all the kids contribute clean underwear and toothbrushes to one small duffel bag. That's it. I am not even nice enough to give them clean clothes to wear. I justify it by saying that they are just going to sit in the car again the next day. And we once had a 2.5 year old who was potty trained, but had a bad case of the runs. I still feel the need to apologize to the owner of the house in Wyoming just outside Yellowstone. I am grateful for the long driveways there. It was an emergency pull over. Enough said.

Brandy Wilcoxen said...

Both of my girls get car sick so yeah....I understand the need for garbage bags and wipes.

Cindy said...

This was so funny! We've been on more road trips than I can count (we actually love them though) and all of your tips are right on! Especially the part about forcing them to go! :)

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