How to (Not) Travel with Littles

Committing to a road trip with small children often seems like a good idea in advance, but eventually makes me consider concocting various faked illnesses right around the time of departure. Like, “Sorry, Grandpa. We’ve got a nice case of Eboma happening in Lubbock.” Or, “I’m worried we’ll transfer our idiopathic carpal gangrene to you if we come now. We’ll just have to wait another four years.”

I used to consider myself a fairly adventurous traveler. But kids scream if you put 5-point restraints on them for more than, you know, two minutes. So, that’s hard. Additionally, because of the screaming, and the need to stop every two hours to pee with the potty training kid, and nurse with the baby, and take Tylenol/allthedrugs for the adults, road trips often end up taking approximately 11,000 hours when they used to be 7, max.

Here are my tips on how to make a road trip work for you:

DON’T.

How to (Not)Travel

Now, if that’s simply not an option because time has started to speed up at a dramatic rate for your grandparents, here are the best alternatives:

  1. Brow beat a family member in to traveling with you during the hottest month of the year, because your spouse works long hours to support your cloth diapering addiction and can’t go.
  2. Rent a land yacht. You will need to transfer your house to the back of a car for the five day trip. You also want to subject your family member to sitting with the kids, so you need a bigger back seat that fits four people across. Because that is your solution for managing 1,000 hours of death screams.
  3. Spend 7 hours packing your house.
  4. Decide to drive 2 hours north and stay in a hotel, to help reduce the travel time for the following day, and “stay ahead of the heat”.
  5. Notice you have low tire pressure. Return to the car rental store. Spend an hour looking for after-hours service. Obtain air in tire. Return to road.
  6. Around 9:30 PM, make it 1 hour up the road with screaming children before you decide that this can’t go on, and you need to sleep.
  7. Get up 4 times throughout the night, because: Babies. Diapers. Hungry. Headache.
  8. Wake up around 5AM. Eat all the pancakes on the continental breakfast. For real, press that pancake making button until there’s just a hole where the button used to be. Drink all the coffee. Feel like you didn’t do either of those things.
  9. Exit town around 7 AM, confident that you will be arriving at your destination around lunch.
  10. Blow a tire on the highway at 7:08AM.
  11. Spend 2 hours playing phone tag contacting the car rental company for a repair request. While you wait on the side of the road meet a helpful West Texas man who fixes the tire for you. Be grateful that your children are sleeping now, and that it’s too early to be triple digit temperatures…yet.
  12. Spend 2 hours searching for the nearest car rental place to replace land yacht with alternative massive vehicle.
  13. Talk about finding coffee for the next three hours, whilst being grateful that your kids didn’t sleep the night before, and so are still sleeping now.
  14. Realize there is no coffee between here and your destination. Cry.
  15. Realize that you have been away from home for over 20 hours and are still in Texas.
  16. Finally, make it to the state line. Take a picture. Turn around and go home.
  17. Try again next year.