The Recession Road Trip
Well, I did it. Or rather, we did it (‘we’ being my husband, my two boys aged 10 and 11 and I). I am very proud to say we survived a road trip to Florida. 22 hours of driving, lots of pit stops, a few snack wraps, movies, iTunes and some good family chats later and I can say with confidence that my husband and I are still married and we still love our kids (and our kids still love us). Honestly, the children were better behaved than the adults—as we just kept talking our way through all eight states.
And that is exactly what helped us through the drive—talking. Of course we packed the pre-requisite DVD players, iPods and homework (always a big hit). But what really saved us through the lulls were the family chats. Not only were they helpful in getting us through the long hauls but they are the part of the trip when we laughed the most. In preparation for this family time, I packed a few helpers. Chatterbox is a savvy game that proved invaluable for starting conversations you might not otherwise bring up with your kids. Joke books are very popular in our house so a few new joke books to read out loud were also appreciated—especially for the driver who is always looking for a bit of stimulation.
If your children are old enough, ask them to read their books (or whatever they are reading) out loud to you. This is another good conversation starter and of course good for reading practice. We heard a lot of passages from the very popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid. My boys also like to read Sports Illustrated so we played a lot of sport trivia games based on what they were reading—but this can easily be translated to trivia games about a favourite tv or literary characters your family is interested in.
It’s all about time—that commodity we’re always looking for more of and suddenly we have too much of!
I was truly amazed at how painless the journey was. There are a lot worse things that could happen than being cramped in a small space with the people you love the most for two solid days.
Top Survival Tips:
- Be realistic about the age of your children in terms of their ability to sit through such a long trip.
- Be flexible and open minded about treats—food is a boredom-buster and sanity-saver so you might want to allow some sweets but you also don’t want them loaded up on sugar. We allowed some ice cream stops and jujubes but I also packed fresh bagels, cheese, nuts and crackers with hummus (our family fave). Filling up on healthy snacks helped us when hunger struck without a pit-stop in sight. It also stopped them from over-ordering at the fast food joints along the way.
- Limit the amount of liquids so they don’t always have to go to the bathroom.
- Pack games for the whole family—not just the kids. Talk, laugh and sing out loud. It’s a great time to introduce your kids to YOUR music.
What are your secrets to a successful family road trip?