During the back half of this year, we have several trips planned. So to make the most of our vacation experience -- and yours -- I thought I'd share some things that seem to work well for us.
- Tell the kids they'll be staying at a hotel. The excitement of sleeping in a strange environment is hard to understate. Honestly, you could be staying at the Roach Motel and your children will probably think it's the Ritz-Carlton. Make the announcement approximately 48 hours before departure and hold their enthusiasm until you arrive. If the environment proves less than exciting upon arrival, well, you're already onsite. Too late to fret about it.
- Clean your car in advance. Julie had the brilliant idea two weekends ago of getting our vehicles spic and span. Few things stress me out too badly, but one of them is a cluttered car interior. The boys took turns vacuuming, putting toys back inside the house, removing trash and so on. Note: You'll want to do this several days before departure, as well. Junk has a way of multiplying behind your back.
- Buy a GPS. If you're going to be driving, a GPS is amazing. Your phone is great, but it can also be dangerous and unpredictable. GPS relies on satellite signals which you can (generally) get even in the middle of nowhere. Bonus points if you plug in your destinations in advance and can pull them up with a few clicks of a button. Double bonus points if your GPS avatar happens to be a slow and plodding tractor, which mine is, so your children can enjoy asking unending questions about how long it will be before you arrive. They will also ask why you chose a tractor, even if you have told them a thousand times.
That's all there is to it. Well, not exactly. I'm sure there are some other important details, such as packing the suitcases and ensuring all four children make it into the vehicle. But we can cover those another day.
Let the road tripping commence!