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Road Trips. The PERFECT Vacation!
Well, probably the closest my family has gotten to ‘perfect’. We tried a cruise but turns out we’re not that kind of family. We’re
Prior to these trips we frequently drove from Houston to Nebraska, and Baton Rouge to Nebraska just to see family. Even before my husband and kids, I often drove from Massachusetts to South Carolina. For my senior year spring break, I drove to South Dakota (Yeah, I’m WEIRD. I know.) Here’s a mashup of those drives for your viewing pleasure.
And here’s what I’m proposing for 2019:
Yes, we have been doing 12+ hour drives even when our children were nursing infants. Yes, I frequently drive 6-18 hours just me and my kids. AND I LIKE IT. My kids like it too. And no,
So do you believe me now? We drive a lot. And we actually prefer it for our family trips. I am a firm believer that everyone should take at least one epic road trip. Why? Let me tell you why. ( and over here I’ll tell you HOW!)
1. Road trips are a bonding experience like no other
When you are in a car with your family for so. many. hours. you tend to talk a lot. And when you’re driving through an area with no cell reception you literally have nothing else to do BUT talk. My kids have been taking these trips essentially since birth, so I think the car is their version of like family game night or something. They ask me ALL the big life questions in our car. Well in our van: The Road Warrior. All the trips in those pictures? That’s our beloved van’s handiwork. She’s a true Road Warrior.
I digress. Our van is our family space. A safe place where we talk about anything and everything. Road trips are a great way to keep that bond strong simply because we are physically together, we can be as loud as we want, we can actually parent our kids instead of just hush them up a la plane style, and we can talk about literally anything because there is no one else there but us. Sure, we can get on each
2. You see stuff
Duh, it’s a road trip. There is scenery galore. But when you take an intentional road trip, where the drive is part of the experience, you see SO MUCH STUFF. We had no intentions of stopping in North Dakota other than to sleep. But then we sa Theodore Roosevelt National Park and decided it was worth the detour. Guys, IT TOTALLY WAS WORTH THE DETOUR!
Then there’s the stuff you DO plan on, but you’d never see if weren’t driving. That 2018 trip from Chicago to Seattle was for a family wedding. But we totally ran with it by making it an epic road trip and saw the following (This isn’t even an
- Family in Minnesota
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Mt. St. Helens (The kids LOVED this. They’re volcano obsessed)
- A friend in rural Idaho
- Mt. Rushmore
I’d also like to point out that we saw Mt. Capulin, an extinct volcano in New Mexico, in 2017. This country is so incredibly amazing! I’m so glad we’ve seen so much of it!
3. You get to roam
This is a big one for us. You get to own your schedule. Sure you might have a check-in or out time at various stops, or scheduled stuff along the way, but for the most part, you get to operate on your own schedule. We’ve gone 6 straight hours without any stops and we’ve stopped every 40 minutes. That’s the beauty of it. We get to OWN our time. You can detour, or skip stuff. It’s all up to you!
My kids have gotten better at sleeping in the car, but typically they are not car sleepers. We learned this the hard way attempting overnight drives when they were infants. But the beauty of driving is that you CAN stop. Or continue. Or add a day. With the ease of booking hotels or homes nowadays you really get to own your time. Hell, throw a tent in the car if you can. Why not? Now that my boys are a little older Our next road trip might involve some impromptu camping.
4. You don’t have to stress much over what you pack
When you travel via plane, you are severely limited on what you can pack unless you have some ridiculous perks or you want to pay out the butt for extra bags. Even then, you have to actually get everything IN a bag. Not so with road trips! I actually don’t even use bags or suitcases when packing for a road trip. I use laundry baskets. Yes, you read that right: laundry baskets. It’s easy to get into them, they are stackable, and easy to carry. I can also bring toys, books, games, food, sporting equipment, etc. Literally, I bring WHATEVER I want. No fucks given!
5. Food Freedom
So It’s no secret that I have Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes. Which makes it really hard to eat out without a lot of planning and research. When we take a road trip, I get to bring lots of food. We often rent houses or apartments for our lodging, which means a kitchen too. So not only do I get to eat without fear of getting sick, but it saves money too!
6. Having a car everywhere you go
You never realize how big a deal this is until your kid needs to go to the ER on vacation. (Ask me how I know.
7. It’s so much cheaper and you get to do MORE
Not only are you not limited based on transportation, food, or stuff, but you’re probably not spending as much either. For example, to fly my family of 4 to Florida to take a cruise the plane tickets alone were over 1000$. Just for a 3 hours plane ride. Sure the kids were mildly excited about it, but overall a flight is much less interesting than a drive.
Plus, because plane tickets cost so dang much, other things must be budgeted more stringently. With a road trip, it just doesn’t work that way. The actual travel part is so much cheaper and part of the fun! Between being able to bring and prepare our own food, gas vs. plane tickets, and not paying for public transportation we save a TON. So what do we do with those savings? Cool stuff! We don’t have to skimp on any activity!
8. Seeing the country
I am convinced that heaven is just North of Amarillo Texas. My soul felt soothed by northern Montana. The sun off the rocks in Northwest Arkansas is proof that there is a god. Adventure Road in Oklahoma is quite possibly the biggest pun ever concocted. Idaho looks NOTHING like I thought it would (those mountains are no joke people!) The border between Washington and Oregon is gorgeous but also like 17 different climates (who knew?). The Dakotas are really anything BUT boring. And Mt. St. Helens is something everyone should see. These are just a few thoughts. We live in a vast, wildly diverse, and beautiful country. It’s amazing that we have access to all of it if we just get in the car and drive. So much of this country can ONLY be seen via road trip, too. So you really need to take one!
We also love seeing all the city skylines. W
Are you pumped up and ready to drive yet?!
So now you know WHY we do it, and I bet you’re wondering HOW we do it. Next up posts on road trip hacks with kids, what to pack, and apps I love that make a road trip easy as pie. Stay tuned!
I often post about my family’s travel adventures on Facebook (where we also talk about simple ways to be healthy and my general badassery and awkwardness) Come hang out!