Sweet summer time is upon us here in Southern California. I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. My inner Oregonian screams for relief from the ridiculous temperatures, and honestly, every month here is basically Summer. I’m like one of those scenes from a movie. That character wandering lost through the desert, dehydrated and baking in the sun. Just looking for any sort of shade, desperate for water, and relief from the hot sun. Ok…maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but Summer isn’t really Summer, its just more sun, hotter temps and no ac. Beautiful yes, hot definitely. So, now that “Summer” is here I’ve started planning our big Summer adventure to Oregon! We will be road-tripping and I thought I’d share some tips for road tripping with a bunch of kiddos!
First of all, road tripping gets a bad reputation. People always assume flying is faster and more convenient, but we have found that flying isn’t always easier. You have limited packing, greater expenses, you have to deal with security, and the nightmare of getting yourself, your bags, your stroller, your car seats, oh and your children all through a tiny tunnel that may beep and make you do it all over again, add in the looming possibility that someone is going to have a meltdown while trying to rush through this process is stress inducing to say the least. We have to make arrangements for pet sitters, pay for parking, pay for expensive airport food because we all know as soon as you walk past the food the kids are all suddenly starving. Then when we arrive at our destination a bit frazzled and thirsty from the 3 hour wrestling/juggling match we just had, adults vs. kids, you then have to get all your baggage, install a bunch of car seats, then sit for two more hours in the car (My parents live a couple hours from the main airport). So, obviously, your travel distance is a big determining factor, but for us to drive from California to Oregon is just better. Driving allows us to pack what we need, it allows flexibility as far as our timeline, it allows us to stop when we need a break, have cup holders for our drinks, snacks, and music. It allows us to bring our furry family members, and most importantly it allows us to strap our children to seats that they can’t get out of. Just kidding, that’s just a perk, but most importantly it allows us to make it an ADVENTURE!!
TIPS FOR ROAD TRIPPING
- Skip all the little things to entertain your kids. Trust me. It’s all fun and games until the person in the back row repeatedly drops their crayons and whines for you to pick them up. Repeatedly.
- Download some audio books! We use audible from Amazon but there are other options out there.
- If your child is old enough, buy them a pair of headphones. It means you are phone-less for part of the trip, but they can quietly listen to the audio book. That way we can play music or just visit without the extra noise.
- Pack snacks. Road tripping gives people the munchies. I try to pack a cooler, I’ve learned my lessons over the years, skip the Ritz Crackers and other things that make giant crumby messes. By the time we arrive in Oregon our car usually looks like a mobile trash can that a small pack of raccoons raided. It is what it is. Survival.
- Take breaks. Long ones. When it was just my husband and I, we’d drive straight though. Stopping for gas and food only. Now that we have three kids, we’ve learned to take our time. I usually try to map out fun little places for pit stops ahead of time. We have discovered this place called Bravo Farms. There is one off the 99, and one off the 5. These places are great! They have yummy food, and neat areas for the kids to play. I’d recommend mapping out your route ahead of time, and seeing what is in your area of travel. Food, open spaces and clean bathrooms are always what I look out for.
- Make it an adventure. If you can, give yourself a couple extra days. Stop and see something new! Use it as an opportunity to show your children more of our beautiful country! So often we get stuck in the mindset of just making it from point A to point B. Wander off course a minute and it makes it more exciting!
- Lower your expectations. Wait, how could I say that right after saying make it an adventure? Well, because often times, I build things up in my mind. Like, ” Oh, this is going to be so much fun, my children will be perfectly behaved, we will have no problems, we are on an adventure!” Then reality smacks you in the face when the first tantrum comes, someone has an accident or you have people saying “are we there yet?” EVERY. FIVE.SECONDS. It isn’t going to be picture perfect. Behind every perfect picture is a lot of noise. Don’t forget that. Kids are kids. It’s way easier to just expect them to be so, than to expect perfection.
- Take the time to bond with your spouse. You are locked in a car next to each other for twenty hours! Hold hands, catch up, and laugh together. My husband and I have been road tripping since we started dating, and we always have fun doing it together.
- Learn something new. For some reason I always come up with crazy questions on road trips, that usually leave my husband and I thinking, “oh yea, how does that work.” or whatever. So I take us to google college, service permitting and we learn something new.
- Have fun! Pack lots of baby wipes, put on your best mom smile, and breath through the madness.
Good luck!!! I hope you all take a little Summer Adventure, drive somewhere new, learn something new, feel the wind in your face. Life is meant for living. I hope everyone has a great start to their Summer!
“Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.”-unknown