Scheduling a road trip with your family? A fortune teller may alert you to difficulties. But before you waste your quarters, understand that somebody can point them out to you and your family, but when it all boils down, it’s up to you to solve them.
Ask yourself: “what do I expect from this trip?” And if your answer comes out on the soft and fluffy side, do a bit of research, then rest on your powers of prediction: There will be arguments, tantrums, melt-downs and mishaps. You may get lost. You may regret schlepping around all those unnecessary things you packed. You may leave something important behind. And you will get sick of those overused kid phrases: “I’m bored,” “it’s not fair,” “how long do we have to stay here?” In every case, communication is essential.
Study: Do intensive map, cultural and historical studies about places you plan to visit and then match it with your kids’ list of things to do. No amount of persuasion will convince them to see more museums, churches or historical sites after the first few you visit(we required 4 museums, 5 churches/mosques and 3 waterparks on our 6 month trip.) Make your kids an important part of the discussion, having them map out and research the things they are interested in.
Make room: Backpack contents swell during travel. No law of physics supports this; but it’s true, you will always come back fatter than when you left.
Practice: Try living out of your backpack or suitcase one week before you hit the road. In that time, you should know what you need, what you don’t. Re-pack.
One essential thing: Never forget your ‘security blanket.’ For me, it was my pillow which made rest that much better. And during those times of great stress, it could substitute as punching bag.
Another essential thing: A ball, a deck of cards and a pencil and pad. Make trivia your friend.
Road trips have residual power . . . . . they increase in value long after the trip is over. The trials of being on the road with your family, will become moments of fond reflection or at least comic relief in years to come. You’re a family; embrace the confusion. Tell the fortune-telling gypsy Madam Gooseberry, to mind her own business. You and your kids face challenges every day and you know them better than she does. This isn’t your first rodeo.