My husband travels to Arizona often for work. When he left Monday morning, I was on my way to drop Scout off at preschool. I was half way there when I realized, “oh shit, she’s on spring break!”
As I was telling Steve what a forgetful moron I am, he responded, “COME OUT TO AZ”!!
I thought hmmm, road trip by myself with a 2 and 4 year old… Not that enticing..
Then I thought, ya know what- We’ve talked about meeting out there a million times, and never follow through. So this time, I’m goin for it!
And guess what- we survived (and it wasn’t that bad).
BUT, I would have never survived that 6 hour trip if it weren’t for the preparation. I’m not a big “planner”. I wish I was. It would make my life a thousand times easier, but it’s just not in my DNA. However, I knew if I didn’t get this right, I could be pulled over on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, my kids fighting in the back and tears rolling down my face. I was NOT going to let that happen.
So here’s how I nailed the solo road trip with my crazies:
- Leave early. I originally wanted to leave at night, so they could sleep the whole way. However, I can hardly stay up past 9, so driving at night with my tired, and vision challenged ass was not going to happen. (Also being on the road with potential drunken assholes. :/) So my alarm went off at 3:30am and we were on the road by 4am. The perks: A. You miss a good amount of traffic. B. You can log a few miles while the kids are still sleeping. C. It’s rather peaceful being on the road in the early hours.
- Pack (tons of) snacks. First off, do this the night before! I ended up getting out our massive cooler, and packing everything from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, to apple sauce and crackers. I was asked for a snack every 30 minutes- this was a life saver.
- Bring a portable potty. Scout has to pee every 45 minutes, it’s kind of insane. Having that was SO CONVENIENT. She’d say moooommm I have to pee!! So I’d pull off at a seemingly safe exit and have her quickly go next to the car. This easily saved us an hour plus.
- ACTIVITES. My kids love playing on the ipad, and I have no shame in admitting that. But I do like to limit their time on it so their brains don’t turn into complete mush. I brought tons of these. Mess free and occupied their attention. You can get them in the dollar section at Target.
- Stop somewhere quick to eat: At some point they ARE going to lose their shit, having to be in the same seated position for so long. They slept for the first 3 hours and were up for the following 3. When they woke up I gave them a few snacks and was able to drive for another hour. When I started to get the sense they were about to blow up, we pulled over to a Carls Jr so they could stretch their legs for a bit. I let them play in the jungle gym for about 20 minutes, they split some French toast sticks, and we were back on the road.
All in all it was a (surprising) success. On the way back, I stuck to the same routine, however left during Canyons nap time. We had them walk around town for a few hours before leaving, and they were done for by the time they got in the car. Can napped almost 4 hours, (Seriously lucked out).
I can now say we’ve entered a new chapter with our kids. A year ago I couldn’t drive 30 miles without someone freaking out, however preparation is definitely key. Can’t wait for more road trip adventures.