(image is of a Texas sunrise while we were driving, so its blurry and through a windshield so be nice)
So as a military family we have been on the road for 15 days, and I have learned quite a lot about what not to do!
- Be organized!
After we “repacked” from Yellowstone going to Salt Lake City it looked like a seven-year old had a party in the back of our car. We needed to get our suitcases out and it was everything I could do not to have a meltdown because of the overwhelming amount of mess! We learned quickly to organized everything so it wasn’t so disastrous back there.
- Pack as little as possible!
For a military move we get paid if we move some of our own things. We took this to the extreme! We packed too much and it made things miserable! We each had a large fully packed suit case (the husband also had a duffel bag full of uniforms), a large cooler, a giant container full of dog food, a bag with pots and pans, an extra bag of dog food, a suit case full of expensive things we didn’t want broken with the movers and ALL of the bathroom stuff that the movers wouldn’t pack. BAD IDEAS! All of it! We needed less clothes, less dog food, get rid of the bathroom stuff, we just needed less!
- Do not lose your phone chargers!
I know this one seems like common sense but I did it, kind of. I had my parents fitbits plugged into my charging ports. Can you guess what happened next? That’s right, they left and took the chargers with them ports and all. So I had my cords but no charging ports. Since we have been traveling so much I keep forgetting to replace them!
- Make sure your child had proper electronic entertainment!
But screen time limits, the parents are all screaming! No I’m sorry when my kid is in the car for 6 or more hours they need to watch a movie or two. Yes Mini-me has been working in her workbooks, she has been playing her learning games but really as long as she isn’t constantly asking “are we there yet?” I’m happy.
- Remember the dog and child don’t have large bladders
Every two or three hours we need to take a break for both the dog and the kid. Yes that suck, yes we have to plan this into our drive. However I would rather stop 10 extra times that have them both pee in my car or get bladder infections. Can dogs get bladder infections? Well his vet bills are enough I don’t want to risk it!
- Small surprises are extremely important
This one is very important! I got small toys and put them into a paper bag for little one to open every one in a while! It has been amazing because even though it’s all throw away toys that I expect her to lose they make her happy! If she is happy then my drive is easier!
- Do not plan to drive more the 8 hours in one day!
This is one that we just did a 18 hour drive, it was the WORST part of our trip! I wasn’t able to be a human for a full 24 hours after. The husband was cranky, the kid was extra bossy (her version of whiny) they dog was wired when we finally got out of the car it was just a mess! DO NOT DO THIS TO YOURSELF! A cheap hotel is much better than everyone miserable!
- Choose your hotels wisely!
If you have young kids or a dog you don’t want a place that you feel like you have to monitor their every move. You also don’t want a place where you feel like you need to check the hotel for bed bugs and clean sheets. So as I said choose wisely. The husband and I generally go for mid 3 to 4 star hotels. They are nice but not so nice that we feel like we can’t enjoy the place.
- Expect bad points in your trip
It doesn’t matter if you take your kids to Disneyland or to the moon, everyone has a breaking point parents and kids alike. I have drilled into Mini-me’s head that she is able and needs to tell is when she has had enough of anything! She needs to learn her limits and vocalize them. I was extremely proud of her in Yellowstone when she said “Mom, I’m done with this place.” She was still super interested but Yellowstone is a lot of driving and walking and well just a lot. We are talking about a kid who had to find a quiet place in Disneyland because she was overwhelmed and she couldn’t do it anymore she hit her limit but didn’t want to go home. So we have learned as parents that yep we will have to miss things we like but she gets to say when she has had enough. It helps so much with the melt downs! Since she is an only child so far we haven’t had to divide and concur yet. The husband and I also have learned to listen to each other when we say I need a minute!
- Enjoy it!
When our generation goes some where our phones come out to take pictures of every square inch of it. I’m just as guilty of missing the trip by taking pictures of it. Taking pictures is great, but enjoying the trip with your eyes not your screen is so much better! Take a picture or two but put your phone down and dance in the field of flowers with your kid, run into the surf with them, scream on the rides, and wonder at the sites that you only get to truly enjoy if your phone is put away.