Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet? | Rochester MN Moms Blog

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.
Are We There Yet? | Rochester MN Moms Blog

Not going to lie, we hit up Chick-fil-a daily when driving! #momwin

  • 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!
Are We There Yet? | Rochester MN Moms Blog

My buddies with their “borrowed” puppy. I mean, how brilliant is this idea?

  • 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.
Are We There Yet? | Rochester MN Moms Blog

Tennessee rolling hills, sun shining on us, podcasts, and coffee in hand.

  • 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.)

Are We There Yet? | Rochester MN Moms Blog

                    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?



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2 Responses to Are We There Yet?

  1. Kayla April 20, 2016 at 7:55 am #

    We currently live 4 hours from Rochester and cannot get on the road without Books On CD. My girls live for these things. And a *small* collection of buddies to play with, cuddle, (fight over)… My girls are into the magnetic dolls – mostly Disney Princess – which can be a blessing and a curse; they stick like glue to the “scenes” unless they drop a piece, and then, good luck! We have recently introduced them to “I Spy”, which can be tricky with a 3 year old, but our 5 year old loves it. And who self proclaimed “mom hero” leaves the house without a few good Kids Tunes CD – it will drive you and your husband crazy, but it’s 30 minutes of happy sounds (off key singing) from the back seat!

    • Christy
      Christy April 22, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

      Kayla, I need to try books on CD. I think my kids would love it! I am all about the game “I spy” but I am not going to lie, I get lazy with it within 5 minutes of guessing. my 6 year old is quite creative with her ideas! 🙂