Ever think about taking the family on a road trip? Maybe you’re on the fence, or maybe you’re afraid you’ll all kill each other. I wasn’t sure if my children were too old, or if I had the mental strength, or if there was enough wine at the end of the day. But we decided now or never and embarked on an old-fashioned road trip from Georgia to Pennsylvania and back. We stopped in Williamsburg, VA to see the sights; Bethlehem, PA to see family; Hershey Park to ride rides and eat chocolate; and Monticello to learn and to be inspired.
Although we did wish we had a taxi-cab-esque window divider between the front and back seats (‘who are you talking about, Mom?’ ‘I AM PUTTING UP THE PRETEND DIVIDER, WHERE ARE YOUR EARBUDS?!’), no one killed each other and we found out that we actually enjoy spending time together. Pretty soon, my 9th grader is going to be driving and my 5th grader will be too cool for school, so I am holding on to these sweet moments more tightly than ever. If you are thinking about taking a road trip this summer, here are some Dos and Don’ts for family road trip success:
1. Do pass the time in the car by texting pictures of yourselves as emojis to family members. They will be the least flattering pictures of yourself you’ve ever taken. Delete immediately after sending. Or, post them in a blog.
2. Don’t waste money on car games. As fun as they are, you will forget them by Day 2 and pack them in the way back to never be seen again. Do play Chat Pack, ignore groans from teenager, and see who can be the funniest.
3. Do give your husband American flag duct tape for Father’s Day during road trip. Complain about glare from windshield crack so he will use it ASAP on windshield, thereby shouting to the world, “Hey y’all, we are super patriotic rednecks from Georgia!”
4. Do join in the fun at waitress’s instruction during colonial dinner by tying enormous napkins around your neck. Make kids do it and then take miserable picture worthy of their future rehearsal dinners.
5. Do stop at Chipotle! First time for me, since we don’t have one in town. Enjoy the fresh, yummy food and the reading material. What an ideal combo for me!
6. Do listen to Road Trip Radio on satellite radio. Who knew there was such a thing? There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. Fight Over/Discuss “Official Song of the Road Trip,” then declare a tie between Jason Derulo/Want To Want Me and Taylor Swift/Bad Blood.
7. Do go to Monticello. Take in the beauty. Marvel at the ingenuity of Thomas Jefferson. Definitely Do annoy kids to death by calling him “TJeff.”
8. Do climb at least one fence or gate, or both. Introduce kids to grey areas of the law, i.e. “other people are doing it so it’s fine.”
10. Don’t, I repeat, do NOT ride roller coasters if you are over the age of 43. They will cause anxiety attacks, soreness, and PTSD. Pass on love of roller coasters to your 10 year old, and be happy for her.
11. Do plan Americana road trip the week of major news: two huge SCOTUS decisions and Confederate flag approval rating plummeting in the polls. Feel a love for this country and its people. It is a truly beautiful country, from Georgia to Pennsylvania. Appreciate the sacrifices that came before us. Be hopeful for its future.
12. Do go on a family road trip. It will be an adventure, a bonding experience, lots of laughs, lots (and lots!) of togetherness, and hashtag making memories that will live on for a lifetime.
Take care of yourselves and each other,