After several drives of 10+ hours with a toddler and a baby, I believe I have become somewhat of an authoritative voice on surviving travel with youngsters. And by authoritative, I actually really mean clueless. As I’ve shared before, it pretty much takes a funeral or a wedding to budge my cheapskate behind and diminished sanity into a long road trip, but we have certainly had our share in the last few years. Without further ado, let me share the 7 Joys of Family Travel…
- Syncing Bodily Functions
I love how easy it is to miraculously sync the pit stops between the driver father on his 17th cup of coffee, a nursing mother, a not-so-much-potty-trained toddler garbage disposal, and a new baby. It makes it real easy to make great time on your driving journey when you can pound out almost 17 miles before the next pit stop for a diaper change.
- Feed Me Now
Since I am all that is man and a travelling warrior, I have no problems putting off eating for an entire day if it means we arrive at our destination 8 minutes earlier. My lovely family, however, somehow demands to continue eating on a normal schedule even during road trips. If we’re stopping every 17 miles in desperate need of a bathroom, we’re roughly only making it about 32 miles in between rounds at a five-star truck stop buffet.
- Musical Harmony
I find it so refreshing to brush up on my Lion King melodies and Elmo songs for hours on end. Sure, I carefully selected a well-curated assembly of several informative and interesting Podcasts, but I am always thrilled to hit the Delete All button after re-realizing I’ll never once have a sane moment to myself in the car. It’s not like the driver staying awake for hours on end should receive any preferential treatment, right?
The great thing about long car rides is that whether your family members nap or don’t nap, your day will be negatively affected regardless! Behind door number 1, the family doesn’t nap well, and you’re blessed with double the bathroom trips, triple the headaches, and quadruple the crying. Behind door number 2, the family does nap well, and the little ones decide they won’t sleep at all the first few nights upon your arrival. It’s truly a classic win-win.
- The Echo Chamber
The best thing about family travel at our house is that I’m 6’4” and we drive a pint-sized Civic. It makes for quite the luxurious and comfortable journey, but the best part may just be how all the incoming desperate pleas for song requests, potty breaks, and random whines of angst echo loudly throughout the 6 square feet of area we have inside the car. My baby’s piercing scream is so much more endearing when it lasts 40 minutes long at 18 inches away from my ear drum.
- Pandora’s Box
It’s always reassuring when it takes the bodyweight of the entire family to get the trunk to close. There’s no such thing as travelling with young kids without packing at least 80% of your entire house or apartment. Do we use half the items my wife packs? Of course not, but we’re always prepared in case my daughter needs that sixth pair of rain boots, a third winter coat, and swim trunks. Because of course.
- Family Time
Nothing makes the first day of a family vacation more special than just completing 13 straight hours in a cramped, smelly box while tensions and stress build slowly from family member to family member. When we reach our destination, my wife and I are always ready to lovingly continue to spend more time in tight quarters and I’m especially ready to spoil my girls after listening to a full day’s worth of incessant crying and pleas. There’s nothing quite like family travel.