Well now that you have everything from your lists taken care of, what do you do now? What my husband and I did was sit down and Google all of the places that we wished to see along the way on our drive from Virginia to California. And yes we even made a list of the places we wished to see so that we could pick and choose which ones to do on this trip and what places to save for another time. We finalized our list of places to drive to along the way for a nice family trip, allowed our daughter put in her two cents since it made her feel like she was apart of the planning experience, and we were ready for the day to come when we would hit the dusty trails. We had a blow up mattress and a blow up couch from Wal-Mart that we used until we had to pack the car and leave. We said our good byes to where my husband used to work and to the friends we had made, piled into our van, and headed out of Virginia Beach with a car full of bags and other materials that we had to keep for cleaning the house we were renting. Our daughter had her own bags up front by her car seat where she could grab them and play with her iPad, read some books, play with the mess free coloring books, and her stuffed toy friends that she had picked to take with her as her entertainment. We had a cooler and bags of snacks behind the passenger seat so that we can easily have access to drinks and food along the way. My husband and I would make sure to take turns driving and napping so that we didn’t wear ourselves out with just one of us driving all day long. Always make sure that you share the responsibility in the driving. It will make the trip a lot more fun and enjoyable. Also as the passenger, make sure that you have the camera ready at hand and take pictures. The pictures might not seem like much or might be boring to some but to you and your family, they will mean something because you took them while in the car and outside of the car when stopped at one of your destinations that will remind you of the great adventure that you all went on together as a family. Capturing memories as they say.
Another important factor to make this road trip a good one besides having fun destinations and a camera is to make pit stops. Even if you don’t feel that you need one, other people in the car may need it and whether you think you do or not, you definitely need a stop and stretch your legs. It may make the trip seem longer but it will help you especially if you have kids who have to sit trapped in a car seat for hours on end. Their little legs are just dangling there, they may need to go potty, and yes they will get bored so a bit of distraction like getting out of the car will help them readjust to being back in the car for a bit longer. And of course make sure you always stop for gas and/or snacks and drinks when needed. Have an envelope in your car where you can store your receipts if you are military because it makes it so much easier on you or your SO, whichever is in the military, to turn everything in so that you can be reimbursed at the end of your trip.
To entertain yourself as the driver as well as your passenger, pick out some good long audiobooks in genres that you both like. An audiobook can definitely help the time go by if someone is napping in the car or if you two just wish to listen to something other than music from the radio or from Pandora or whatever else you listen to for music. Make sure you’re listening to something child appropriate or have your little one wear headphones and play on their iPad. Our daughter loved playing ABCMouse.com or PBS kids on her iPad, both great learning tools, while my husband and I would listen to our audiobooks or music or just chat. It was so much easier that she had so much to do in order to keep her entertained. Though there were times when she would complain about being bored or wanting to get out of the car and it’s those moments you find a rest stop or another place to stop, pull off the road, and let her out so she can stretch and get some fresh air. Then she was ready to jump back into the car and go, go, go.
Do what you can to make the trip as pleasant as you can for yourself as well as for the others you are traveling with so then the trip can go smoothly and without too many things going wrong or hopefully with nothing going wrong at all.
Remember- have a camera, take lots of pictures even if they might not seem remarkable to anyone but you and your family, have music and audiobooks to listen to, have plenty of games and other items for your child or children to play with so that they can stay entertained, have food and drinks close at hand in the car, make pit stops even if you don’t feel like you need them since someone else might need them especially your kid(s), and have an envelope in order to store all of your receipts that you collect while on the trip.