Driving instead of flying is definitely not as popular as it used to be. Growing up, flying was a luxury. My first flight was my senior year; my mom took my sister and I to see my family in Texas. I looked forward to it so much! I still love jumping on a plane for travel, but I love the beauty of a good ole’ road trip. Two years ago, my husband decided to go against the grain and drive for our annual family vacation to Florida every year instead of flying. I find that there are a lot of advantages to driving, and I wanted to share them with you!
- No lines! Airports are filled with them. The only lines we deal with are coffee drive-thrus and gas station bathroom breaks.
- Vacation starts in the car. Our trip takes us two days, around 22 hours in the car. Every time we leave for vacation, I am starting out my trip still stressed, lists still going through my mind, and I really enjoy the the solitude of jumping in our SUV and letting myself decompress for 2 days.
- Our family is a typical American family who has busy schedules, and we crave vacations for the mere fact of quality time together. I love the close proximity of a car. No escape. No room to hide in. Just us…together talking and being together.
- Our kids get to see the states and cities and learn along the way. We drive different routes to experience new things. My 6-year-old loves keeping a log in her Hello Kitty notebook of the cities we go through. She learns geography and about our country.
- FLEXIBILITY. You stop when you want to stop. You take your time, you drive through the night, you make it your trip! We have driven 16 hours in a day, and taken short days to enjoy the beauty.
- If you are looking to make a dollar while traveling, check out this fabulous site, uSHIP. My friends just joined us in Florida. They had picked up a cute puppy in Wisconsin and brought the dog to his new owner in a local Florida city; because of this, they got paid $250 (more than their fuel). Their kids loved having the puppy along, it entertained them, and they got to make some money towards their vacation!
- I love the down time in the car. My husband and I love downloading podcasts. He just listened to the series “SERIAL,” and I love listening to sermons and messages. We always bring a book, coloring books for the kids, download new movies on the iPad for the kids (bring headphones), and love jamming out to our favorite playlists.
- When you fly over the states, you miss the intimacy of the landscapes and beauty. I love how even driving from Minnesota to Florida, you experience new cultures, new accents, flat plains, rolling hills, mountains, and urban city life.
- Stop and see friends or family along the way! We detour a bit to stay at friends’ houses, or grab a bite to eat with buddies. It makes it fun!!!
- It is extremely economical. We don’t have to pay for flights or rental cars. We save a few thousand dollars from driving. Even driving a SUV, it is less than $150 for us to travel one way. By saving money in these areas, we have been able to take more extended vacations.
Some tips for your drive:
- Bring lots of snacks and drinks. I always grab some plastic bags for garbage bags, too.
- Electronics for the kids. New games and movies are always a hit.
- Don’t forget your chargers.
- Download podcasts or stories to listen to as a family.
- Make a playlist before going! Music is powerful. Your kids will remember the songs, and it will bring them back to their travels.
- Bring baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and a roll of paper towels.
- Sunglasses and blankets. (My kids love forts in the car.)
Two beautiful things about this image: headphones and blanket forts! PRAISE BE.
- I pack my kids activities for them, so it is a surprise. I throw in some new toys and activity books too. It is the little things that get them excited. We always dress comfy but presentable. Yoga pants, sweats, flip flops, etc.
- Pack toothbrushes, brushes, etc. for your family. If you are staying in a hotel, I pack an overnight bag, so we don’t have to haul our gear in.
- Bring a First-Aid kit.
- Car tune-ups before travel are key. I always check the oil, tires etc.
- There are tons of free downloads on Pinterest for printable for car games, family activities, maps, etc. (To be honest, I haven’t taken advantage of them, yet.) #momfail 😉
- Document your travels. I love recording little videos, snapping photos, and logging quotes from my kids and Hus in my iPhone.
- Let your kids grab souvenirs or gas station crap. My girls have beloved My Little Ponies from a gas station in Kentucky from last year that they still covet. Who knew that Pinky Pie and Rarity would be such a hit?
- Pick gas stations, restaurants, or pit stops with some space to run. My kids need the exercise, and it is good for all of us to stretch and take a break!
- and HAVE FUN!
Have you ever taken a family road trip? Do you have any tips or funny stories? What is your best advice for anyone considering driving?