Family Road Trip Tips no-one gives you
We just got back from our first long Family Road Trip, a four-day spring break trip to LA and Disneyland. We do drive to Lake Tahoe or Reno or Yosemite Park at least once a year, but those drives don't usually take more than four hours, so this drive was a Big Deal. When I was planning the trip (and trying to convince my husband to do it), I actually didn't think it would be so bad. I've driven from Palo Alto to LA three times before, and on one of those trips I was behind the wheel the whole way. None of those drives took longer than six hours. I'll admit that I was single and carefree and I drove down I-5 doing 90 to 100 mph most of the time, but even with 3 kids who get bored after two hours of inactivity and a husband who needs to pee every hour, how long could it take?
Pretty long, it turns out. On the way down, we took Highway 101, which added an hour of travel time, stopped at the quaint little town of Solvang, which was nice, but added another two hours, then got stuck in LA traffic, which turned it into an 11-hour drive. We took the quicker route (I-5) on the way back, but even that took almost 8 hours. I guess I forgot the first rule of parenting: Having Kids Changes Everything.
What got us through it with out sanity intact? Well, we did all the usual tips and tricks that all the parenting guides suggest, like scheduling potty stops and packing toys and books and stuff. But I also learned a few more Do's and Don'ts that helped make the trip even more bearable — and I had to find them out for myself, since no one seems to have mentioned them. Here are five gems of wisdom for surviving road trips that the parenting guides don't mention:Continued on the next page