Thursday, June 30, 2011

The First Family Road Trip

My first guest post in this series is Jill, the author of Single Mom on a Budget. Jill is sharing with us the planning process of her very first family road trip!

Road Trip

1,693 miles

27 hours

10 days

6 destinations

4 hotels

3 boys

1 mom

1 car


*This* is my idea of a vacation. Mmhhmmm I’m nuts. This will be the first road trip I take with my boys (17, 15 and 8) and I am optimistic that this is going to be a trip that we all look back upon with the fondest of memories. ;)

My sister is getting married in Arizona and rather than drop $1,000 on plane tickets from Denver for the four of us to be stuck in Arizona (ahem, in the middle of summer) I rented a minivan and we are going to cover some land by car. The itinerary includes The Painted Dessert, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and Vail. Yeehaw!

How will I do it?

I have realistic expectations. We are going to have an amazing vacation, we are going to have a lot of fun, and see a lot of things the boys haven’t seen before. We are going to make memories! But, I am certainly not misguided enough to believe that it isn’t going to be difficult too. They're kids!

Being realistic and expecting the bad with the good is going to make the ride soooo much easier on me.

I know that we are going to need to stop often for bathroom breaks, to eat, to stretch… I know that after two hours of the first leg the kids are going to be tired of being in a car, and I know that approximately one hour later they are going to want to kill each other. I know that after every stop we make we are going to have an argument over who rides shot gun.

We are going to have a “Come to Jesus” talk before we leave to discuss all of the issues above and how they are going to avoid said issues by taking turns riding shotgun, keeping their hands to theirselves, and that we are going to be in the car for a long time. It is what it is.

For me, I have directions printed and an Atlas, in the event that Yahoo! Maps takes me off the beaten path, with our route highlighted. (Did I mention I'm kind of organized?) There is very little chance for me to get lost, and that takes a huge amount of pressure off of me seeing as how I kinda don’t wanna have to open a can of whoopass on some creep in the middle of the desert while my kids are watching. Just sayin’.

I have already come to grips with the fact that whenever that voice in my head says “maybe I should just go ahead and fill up now,” I will listen to it. We will be, afterall, in the middle of nowhere for much of the drive.

A few weeks ago I asked the boys to start thinking about things they wanted to take on the trip. Things for the car ride and for the hotel. I started a list and left in on the counter so that whenever a “we should bring xyz with us” came up I had them add it to the list. Before we leave the house *everything* on that list is going to be crossed off and in the car.

Boredom is always cured by eating, right? I will also have a cooler packed and a lot of different types of snacks. I’m planning to have some pre-cut, easy-to-eat-in-a-car fruit, trail mix, peanut M&M’s, sandwich fixings, and probably anything else I can think of that my kids might want.

Not only is having a bunch of different types of snacks on hand gonna keep the kids quiet, but it is also going to be a lot lighter on the budget. This way the kids won't nag to stop at every restaurant we pass and they won’t want a $10 bag of popcorn every time we stop. Know what I mean?

Sure, a short plane ride would have made for a lot less stress, but it would also make for a waaay boring vacation.

Now I need to come up with a really awesome name for our road trip!

Jill is a single mother living in Colorado with her three sons. She works full time, functions as CFO, maid, psychologist, chauffeur and coach, and specializes in maximizing her income through smart, careful budgeting and cost-saving strategies. Her humor and fixation on frugality play out at Single Mom on a Budget. She can be found on Twitter at @singlemomonabgt.


Kimberly said...

Jill, I'm so glad you guested here. Now I've found another great blog to follow :)

Ducky said...

I am uber impressed and looking forward to a follow I SURVIVED post complete with pictures! (surely SOMEONE will make to the roof of the car).

Sounds like it will be a beautiful trip with some amazing scenery!

Cheeseboy said...

Great guest post. A lot of wisdom here. Hope the trip goes well.

Nintendos, laptops, DVD players work the best for us. The less time the kids spend talking and poking each other, the better.

Unknown said...

That sounds like SUCH a great trip! I love it! I love your destinations. I love Sedona and The Grand Canyon. I loved how I didn't expect the Grand Canyon to pop up where it did. Have fun!!

Anonymous said...

I used to LOVE road trips. I still do, but Hubs never wants to stop at the fun places. He's all about the getting there part. And I want to enjoy the ride!

Jill - Single Mom on a Budget said...

Yay Kimberly!

We are on the last leg of the trip and I'm sneaking in some computer time! Shhh...

I will have an I survived post, assuming that I survive the next 24 hours!

I love being able to enjoy the ride and stop when I want too. Although that gets harder to do as the trip goes longer.

We took a slight detour (total accident) so we've added quite a few miles and hours to the trip. Oops! :)

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