We leave in the morning. On the Road with Children. 15 hours, at least. One way.
Mad, you say? Why yes, I quite think I am.
A friend sent me the article below as a friendly set of tips. I think it just involves drugging myself and letting my husband deal with them while I sleep in the passenger seat.
Unless we enjoy the benefit of living in a walking city or have access to quality mass transit, most of us spend a great deal of time in our cars - commuting, running errands, and transporting our children. A chauffer may be on the wish list of many busy parents. With all the supplies we carry in the car, the snacks we munch, and the quick changes from school clothes to soccer cleats, our cars have become our home away from home.
So what about summer vacations on the road? Can traveling in our car for hundreds of miles with our children really be a vacation? Sure, if we're up for adventure. There are plenty of family destinations in every community, whether for a day trip, a week vacation, or even a cross-country adventure.
How do we fend off boredom, restlessness, and car sickness on the road?
Here are a few tips to make the ride a little smoother. So pack up the car and buckle your seat belts. Even car travel can be great family fun.
Consider Travel Time Vacation Time
In our everyday life, most of us usually feel the need to rush, to be somewhere at a certain time and to go as far as possible without stopping. When traveling with children on vacation, consider time in the car as part of the family vacation, not just the means to get to your destination. The vacation starts when the car pulls out of the driveway. Slow down, relax, and make plenty of stops along the way.
Traveling with children pretty much guarantees that someone will spill something, not make it to the bathroom in time, or get sick in the backseat. Since it's likely to happen, the best thing we can do is be prepared. If the thought of spills in your car is too much to handle, make the "no food or drink" rule clear from the beginning of the ride, and be sure to make frequent stops. If you want to cruise and munch, give your children cups with lids or sports bottles and place a drink holder at every seat.
Expect Misbehavior and Bickering
Somehow we hope that family vacations will magically transform our family unit into some sort of Brady Bunch family. Shouldn't our children behave better because we are spending time and money? Unfortunately, it just doesn't happen that way. Children are more likely to act out when they are tired, off routines and schedule, restless, and away from home - all of which happens when they are on vacation. And we are more apt to lose our patience spending constant uninterrupted time with our children. With realistic expectations though, most families quickly fall into comfortable vacation mentality, and the fun we have makes up for the occasional bickering.
Treasure the Simple Moments Together
In our busy task-oriented lives, it's not often we get to spend quality family time. Appreciate the unscheduled roadside stops you make to check out tacky souvenirs. Enjoy conversations with your children. Sing together and make up games and quizzes in the car. Savor the dripping ice cream cones that you eat before lunch because it's vacation and the mess is nothing a box of wipes and an extra shirt can't fix.
And, if all else fails, drink heavily after the kids finally pass out.