When I had my boys, we were lucky enough to live about five to ten minutes from just about anything we needed. My mom was about an hour a way so that was really our only big trips we would take for holidays and things like that. We traveled with both boys when they were younger for vacations but always flew. Our first “real” car trip with the kiddos was when we moved from Michigan to South Carolina. Just imagine your life packed in a Uhaul and your van, driving with your mother in law and a two and a half year old and fourteen month old with an ear ache. That alone was why I was never a big fan of car trips with little kids.
We’ve made the drive to Michigan several times since we’ve moved to go back and visit family and friends and we’re planning on making the trek this summer with an (almost) eight year old, five year old and ten week old. Have I totally lost my mind?? (please don’t answer that) I’m praying the little princess will be a great traveler, no one will be sick and a fresh stock of dvds will make the trip bearable for everyone involved.
Normally, we get up very early the day we’re planning on leaving and just drive all day. We’ve tried breaking it up over two days in the past and it’s such a challenge to get the kids (and adults) back into the car once they’ve been out. This time, we’re planning on making the eighteen hour drive (longer or shorter depending on potty breaks and such) over two days because of the baby. Not knowing how she’ll do being in the car that long makes me not want to put all my eggs in the “drive all day” basket. Flights were considered but the cost of renting a car, shipping our things up, paying baggage fees and other expenses just made it totally unreasonable for us to do that right now. When the kids are a little older, that will become a much better option for us.
Believe it or not, I’ve already started a list of the things I’ll need to purchase for the trip, what we’ve already got to pack and things to pick up once we’ve arrived in Michigan. The car’s always packed to the gills for these trips so I’m trying to be as creative as possible with packing. One thing I’m trying this trip is Space Bags. I’ve seen the commercials (who hasn’t?) and put them on my Christmas list. Thankfully I got a package of them and can’t wait to try them out! My plan is to use them for the clothes, blankets and other soft items I’ll be packing. This could save us a huge amount of suitcase space and maybe I could fit everything into one instead of two or three of them! That would be really awesome.
I’m also planning on packing a small suitcase with overnight stuff in it so we won’t have to drag everything in on the trip up and back when we stop for the night. Hopefully this will just be a small bag that won’t take up a lot of space and will save us some time when we get to the hotels.
Another thing that always has to be packed for our long trips is a cooler. Having some snacks and drinks on hand helps us from stopping constantly for snacks and keeps everyone from getting too crabby. Instead of our big cooler on wheels that we normally take, I’m thinking about just taking our smaller cooler that we take into the parks at Disney with us. It should work just fine and save a lot of room in the van.
If all goes well, we’ll have a trial run with a mini road trip to Sea World over Memorial Day weekend. That will be about a third of the time the kids will need to be in the car but it will be great practice to make sure I’ve got everything I need for the baby and that everyone’s happy in their positions in the car during the trip. My only concern is that it’s just a couple of weeks before we’re planning on leaving for Michigan so it’s going to be a lot of work packing and unpacking in that couple of weeks. I think it will be worth it though.