Hey friends, I want to introduce you to one of my very favorite people. Let’s call her AM, so as not to confuse her with my husband, A. I have been a bit overwhelmed lately and although I have some really good drafts in the works, sometimes it takes a whole heck of a lot to get a draft into a good post. So I asked AM to step in for me, and she delivered! Let’s all take some time to hear her wise words on car travel, shall we? -C
Ah, the Summer Family Road Trip. There’s nothing like it. It’s simultaneously a great time for making awesome memories AND a great time for being thankful that you don’t share a hotel room and vehicle with your family 24/7.
This summer, my brother (J) is living in Washington, PA for his internship. It sucks that he lives so far away, but it’s awesome that we got to visit him. My mom, sister (M), and other brother (A) started the trek out to Pennsylvania on Wednesday, June 20; picked up J and V (J’s girlfriend); headed to Niagara Falls, Ontario on the 22nd ; returned to the US on Sunday, June 24; and we got back to good old Missouri on the following Tuesday. We covered a lot of territory along the way (we traveled a total of 1840 miles), and I learned some valuable lessons about how to survive family road trips that I’m now going to share with you.
Always, ALWAYS make sure there is wine. I don’t think I can emphasize this enough. It is never good be out of it when you’re crammed in a hotel room with four other people. I’m thinking it’s pretty much an essential—much like your toothbrush and deodorant.
It doesn’t matter how well your navigator thinks he/she can read maps. You must take a GPS or, at the bare minimum, have directions from Google Maps. It will save you from a lot of frustration (especially if you’re the driver) since you can’t guzzle wine in this situation.
Have some fun car games in your back pocket to pull out when the natives in the backseat start getting restless. Pumping loud jams will only get you so far down the road, and playing movies without having headphones is annoying. When siblings are left to figure out their own entertainment in a car, it can get dangerous. Don’t get me wrong—it’s hilarious, but people may get bitten.
Of course, MY brilliant solution to this was telling my family that I want to go to South Africa next summer (my very overprotective brothers forbade it) and letting them know that I found the perfect job in San Francisco. The combination of these revelations led J to rant for approximately 95 miles. I found it amusing, but other members of the family (mainly M) found it rather annoying.
Don’t fall asleep in the car if you don’t want embarrassing pictures taken of you with your mouth open and drool coming out of it. It’s just common sense, people. Sure, you may get tired, but you really need to power through if you don’t want those pictures haunting you for the rest of your life.
Use the wonderful technology that you have available to you. For instance, V brought her tablet, and J and I spent about two hours looking up cocktails (well, J looked them up and read them to me since I was driving). We made plans to mix about twenty different kinds of drinks when he gets back to MO, and he determined that he was going to have a full bar in his apartment this year. I’d say it was a pretty productive conversation.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family more than anything, and I had an amazing time traveling with them. We made some fantastic memories, saw breathtaking scenery, laughed constantly, and spent time doing some quality bonding (like we needed it—my siblings and I are ridiculously close). But, for your next road trip, do yourself a favor and learn from my mistakes. Following these lessons will help you keep at least a portion of your sanity intact.