Why do we torture ourselves you ask? It’s all about family and adventures. The memories we have built, the time we have spent together, and the family bonding time we have developed means the world to us. I hope you take some time and create a new memory with your family today.
While families looking for relaxation may choose the beach to kick back and refuel, others will venture onto hiking or biking trails, mountain slopes, roller coasters or cruise ship decks in pursuit of their ideal vacation.
Most of us will, at some time, pack the car and hit the highway for a traditional American road trip. We may go because the country is diverse and beautiful and “getting there” adds to the memories… or simply because driving is the easiest way to reach a favorite beach, wilderness area, mountain or theme park. But for us flying a family of 5 on vacation is costly. So instead, our family, takes to the road! This year alone we have road tripped over 6,000 miles.
How do we do it?
We try to do most our driving while the kids are asleep. This means night driving, we try to leave around midnight. While this may be tough to figure out it has worked well for us. Once the kids wake up we try to stop every 3 hrs or so. We like to plan our trip ahead of time so we have a few places to see when we stop.
Storage in the van can get kind of tight depending on how you have it arranged. To save on space we bought an overhead Cargo box. This gives us plenty of room to store 5 suit cases, stroller, and various other bags (diaper bag, snack bag, etc…) between the cargo box and van.
We bought an Iceless cooler large enough to hold plenty of drinks and snacks. This saves us a lot of time from stopping to buy drinks or drain and replenish ice. For our snacks we have a large beach bag that will fill up with snacks to eat while driving.
Entertainment for the kids can be tricky. We have an overhead DVD player we use for the two forward facing kids and a travel dvd player on the headrest of our rear facing child. I also bought a splitter USB adapter so they can plug in their tablets and we have both movies and games loaded on them. We have lap tables that allow the kids to draw, color, and do homework (if we travel during the school year.)
A typical drive to Florida looks like this to our family, we have 2 drivers:
Night driver goes to sleep early, 5 or 6 pm. Other driver keeps kids busy until bedtime. Kids and driver 2 go to sleep at 8:30pm. At Midnight we all wake up and shift to the car. Driver 2 gets to sleep while Driver 1 begins the trip. The kids usually wake around 7 and that is when we take our first stop. The first stop will be a destination we picked out ahead of time.
When the Kids get up we feed them breakfast, take a bathroom break, and then stretch. Once that is completed we will explore the destination. This will be one of our longest stops usually and hr or so. We will get back in the car and not stop till about lunch time. This break allows us to eat and take another bathroom break. Now we will get in the car around 12:00 PM and hopefully this should take us to our hotel for the night.
We transfer everybody to the car around 4:00 am the next morning. Once we are loaded up (usually around 5 am) we head out to finish our journey. The drive from this point is usually 6 hours. We always stop at the Florida welcome center and get some Free orange juice and to stretch, and once back on the road don’t stop again till everyone is hungry. At this point we are only a few hours away so we drive straight to our destination.
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