Road Trip Survival Guide

When I was a child we did our fair share of family road trips. They usually involved hauling the pop up camper or tent to a location a few hundred miles away. Sometimes these trips extended hundreds of miles through many state lines. Ask anyone who went on a family road trip and they have a story to go along with it, usually involving vomit. I even have one where we were left in the state of California by the family we were traveling with.


I have had my boys experience their share of road trips as well. I didn’t want them growing up thinking that going on a plane as a family was the way we did things. Instead I packed up the kids in a small car and we hit the road. My boys still talk about it. We tackled the road trip again last summer and went to Glacier National Park. This time there were seven of us. This time the car was bigger. This time the kids were bigger. This time there still was no breathing room in the car.


These days I have noticed something different when I glance in the windows of passing vehicles on the interstate, kids are hooked up to their own video screen and headphones. Families are going from destination A to B in silence. Not to say that I wouldn’t have loved to have silence in my car when my boys were little, but we had to be creative. So here are some tips if the video screen is not an option for you.


Listen to Books on tape: Oh yeah, they don’t make tapes anymore. How about CDs? I think they still make them. Go to your local library and check out a few for your trip. This way the entire car can listen to the same story and there can be discussion. We did this with the “Harry Potter” books as this series of books captured all of our attention. Now I have Audible on my phone that allows me to download books and listen to them.


Now that my boys are older we listen to Podcasts. We have favorites that inspire and educate us. One podcast motivated my middle son to investigate why the city of Fargo doesn’t have a flag. He has now taken that as a fun summer project to have one completed in the upcoming months. All because of a podcast that my husband suggested.


Create Playlists: Remember making a mixed tape for your significant other. Yes I did it. Yes it had some awesome music that was horribly recorded. Now we can create playlists and save them to our phone and play through the car stereo. Even my boy’s very old car has the ability to do this by plugging in their phone to a cassette type thing that goes in the car’s tape player.


Introduce your kids to the music that you loved. As we were on a long car ride on Sunday I played a song and my 19 year old said the horns reminded him of Earth, Wind and Fire. I want my kids to appreciate The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel and Chicago and Whitesnake and ACDC. This is your time, they are a captive audience!


Have a Visual Scavenger Hunt: I have done this with adult friends and we have a blast. Create a list of things that you want people to watch out for. As you go along on your trip and spot them cross them off your list. We have things like, find someone who looks like Santa, spot a Canadian flag, etc. These can be silly and fun. My friends and I still laugh about the one we made as we met some very interesting people along with our hunt.


Stop at Scenic Overlooks: They are scenic for a reason. Get out and stretch your legs and read about the area that you are driving through. Grab that selfie stick and take a group photo. When I was with my girlfriends on a recent trip to California I told them ahead of time that I am stopping the car to look at the scenic stops. I was the driver so they really had no choice. On one stop we saw the remains of a large whale which I took a picture of and sent to my boys, for the gross and cool factor! On another stop we were treated to an amazing site of paragliders just floating in the sky. You just never know what you will see!


Keep them Fed!: I have boys and there is nothing worse than a “hangry” {hungry and angry}boy. I know when they are getting close to getting hungry and I quickly feed them. Have a well stocked snack supply. You want food that is either in a cooler or snacks that will not melt in a car.


Take the Road Less Traveled: When I was a kid I remember asking my parents if we could travel back from my grandparents on Highway 10 and not the interstate. I liked driving through the towns. Even now, I like to take the less traveled roads. Stop at the small town gas station and fill up with gas. Stop at the small town café and eat lunch where I guarantee you they still cook with butter!


Now the road less traveled is the one my GPS sends me down by mistake. When this happens embrace it and don’t become frustrated. Last fall this happened to my husband and I as the GPS sent us down a quaint dirt road. I told him to stop so that I could get a picture along the road of a bridge. I asked him to get out of the car and he declined muttering something about Deliverance under his breath.


So wherever the road takes you this summer, make it an adventure that you and your family will fondly talk about for the rest of your lives. The road is waiting for you. Create the adventure and make memories as those are what is important in life!

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity


Serving the Fargo-Moorhead area as well as North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Also seeking new representatives for Clever Container in all areas of the country.