A few weeks ago, we took a road trip to the east coast for my sister’s wedding. Although we had done a handful of 4-6 hour drives and even one 8-hour drive last summer, I was nervous about this lengthier drive which would be over 12 hours with stops. Thankfully, the girls pleasantly surprised me and did pretty awesome.
We went back and forth on whether to drive or fly for quite awhile. A flight that was less than two hours sounded very appealing. Financially though, we knew it was the wiser decision for us to drive. If we flew, it would have been the first flight where we would be paying for all four of us. We would also need to rent a car and consider whether to rent or bring our own car seats. I’ve gotten car seats through the car rental and have also brought our own and I’m still not sure which option I like more. I’m sure we look ridiculous lugging two car seats, two kids in a double stroller, and all our luggage just to get on the shuttle for the car rental. And while the hours are cut shorter when traveling by plane, it still somehow ends up feeling like a full day of traveling. In the end we decided to drive and are glad we finally made the jump to simply just go for it.
Putting on their game face for the long trip ahead.
When we take road trips around the holidays to visit family, our drives are about 4-6 hours and we usually do the drive at night. It’s nice to have the girls fall asleep in the car and not be concerned with how to entertain them or stop for bathroom breaks. Even if they wake up when we arrive, we could still get them to bed relatively easily. Mr. Pizza, who does all the driving on our longer trips, would probably have been open to a longer drive at night, but considering that I am not the best (okay, I am THE worst) passenger driver and fall asleep pretty easily on our drives, I felt uneasy with that option.
Mr. Pizza wanted to leave at 3 am after we both got a few hours of sleep. We drove for about four hours and arrived at my SIL’s house, ate breakfast and played a few hours while Mr. Pizza took a power nap. Because the girls didn’t get the best rest at night, they fell asleep as soon as we hit the road and both slept a couple hours. On the way there, we somehow survived the drive taking just one stop. We ended up spending time at a rest stop, enjoying a late lunch and getting the kids to do a few silly active games to get them moving around a bit. We had intended to do a longer break in a bigger city like Pittsburgh, but decided to just keep driving as long as the girls were doing well in the car. By the time we arrived in Virginia, we were exhausted and moody but we were so happy and relieved to have made it to our final destination.
I usually like to buy a few new activities to keep the kids entertained on longer rides. However, this time I just made do with what we had around the house and it worked out well. I brought sturdy blank books, gel pens, stickers, lots of snacks and books they were familiar with and enjoyed. We also listened to audio books (Lil’ Pizza loves The Magic Tree House) and music (we don’t get tired of the Laurie Berkner Band) and sang a lot, especially when Baby Pizza started to get antsy in the car.
We gave ourselves a few days to settle in before the wedding. We met up with family and friends, enjoyed a day in DC, and swam a few times. It helped us to get back on a normal schedule before the busy wedding weekend.
This butterfly hung out on my shoulder the whole time in the Butterfly Garden at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
The drive back home was fairly similar to our drive to the east coast with a few more bathroom stops. But being away from home for nearly a week, we were all so excited to see our home. It’s always a good feeling to come back home.
I’m just glad we made the leap to drive because now we know it’s manageable and our girls can handle it. I’m not sold on always driving when there is an option to fly, but I think there were some benefits to driving and hope that our family can grow to enjoy road trips together.