Family Vacation – Driving to Your Summer Destination
Making the Most of a Car Trip
I wrote this lens for my first RocketSquids challenge, which was to write a Summer Travel lens. When I first looked at the subject and suggestions for this lens I started to think about the places my family had visited growing up and which destinations were my favorites, but then I realized the memories that I cherished the most were on the car rides to our vacations. We didn't have the extra cash to afford taking trips by plane, so my family always drove the car to our summer destination and when we did go on vacation it usually was a very long trip. However, my parents made sure that this time in the car was part of the vacation, so I always looked forward to ghe road trip. I wanted to share these ways to enjoy the car ride, so other families can have fun together on their drive.
Photo Credit: morguefile.com
It is important for everyone in the car to be as comfortable as possible. It can relieve stress and allow everyone to feel at ease during the journey. When my family would go on trips we would always keep blankets and pillows out where they were easy to reach, so we could each get comfy.
My family was also really good about rearranging seats if need be, as I had slight carsickness I would usually sit in the passenger seat most of the ride. Adjust the chairs if you need to or bring something the family can prop theirs legs up on, just make sure not to risk safety for comfort. If you have young ones make sure they are as comfortable as they possible can be in their perspective car or booster seats.
Comfort for the Car
Perfect for the driver!
A pillow to prop your child's head.
Whenever my family goes on a trip, the first thing they always do is say a prayer before hitting the road. Then, it is off to the gas station to fill up the car with fuel for the journey while everyone picks out their favorite snacks and drinks. My favorite snack to get, which I only ate on car trips, was beef jerky and butterfingers with some kind creamy soda. Every time I eat any of those things now it brings back great memories.
It is also tradition in our family for the person in the front passenger seat to be the "copilot." The copilot has responsibility of making sure the pilot is staying awake, driving well, keeping extra eyes on the road, giving the pilot what they need (i.e. opening snacks, taking the cap off a drink, finding the map), as well as controlling air, temperature, and music. Now that I am married, in my own family, the copilot has been designated to also control the GPS.
Another tradition I loved was when we drove through tunnels we would all roll down the windows and shout, while the driver honked the horn, all the way through to the end. We would always try to spot wild life during out car trips too and if we saw a bald eagle my parents would always give each other high five because they felt it was good luck to see them. I've heard of other families doing similar things like these and I feel it makes the experience so much better and I guarantee your children will remember these moments forever.
Must Have Items
Some traditional items for our family trips.
Take Time to Talk
All too often, in this day and age especially, it seems members of the family hardly every communicate anymore. There are a lot of distractions and every day tasks that usually tend to get in the way. When you are on a car drive there is no better time to talk as a family. You can create the perfect setting to give each other your full attention; if you are on a true vacation there should not be any work to do in the car, technology can be turned off and put away for a while, and there is no where anyone can venture off to. Ask questions, find out likes and dislikes, share stories, reminisce, express dreams and goals, etc. I learned a lot about the members of my family, especially my parents, during our talks while we were on the road to our summer destination. We also used that time as an opportunity to have spiritual discussions, which were never harsh or argumentative, simply great conversation. You would be surprised at how much your family can reconnect during a car trip.
Get Your Groove On
Sharing music is another great way of learning about one another. I loved to record tapes, now you can burn cds or download to an mp3 player and plug it in, with various songs the family might enjoy and bring them on trips. At the present time, with my own family, we plug in our ipod and each member of our family has their own play list that we intermittently listen to throughout the drive. It can be a blast to pick at least one song you can all dance to, get silly, or bust a move and sing together!
Road Trip Moment - "Crazy Train"
Great family rock session!
There are some books that can be nice to read together or some of the family might want to take part of the drive to read to themselves. You don't need to bring a paperback with you with all of the technology we have now a days either and some even have the option to have the program read it aloud. My Mom would record books on tape for us to listen to, she would tell us when to turn the page and had us find objects on the pages and even leave us special messages to make us feel happy. There are books and electronics you can also do this with today and it is a great way to keep your children engaged during the ride.
Reading Made Easy For the Drive
When my husband or I are noticing that it is getting a little too quiet in the car, we start to play 20 questions or the letters game. My Mom would love to play I Spy, which the little ones really enjoy. Although, I still love to play it as an adult because it is one of the things my family did to have fun. We also had travel bingo when I was really young. Any game that you play can be changed to fit the preferences of your family. Included are those games and others that can make the car ride a little more exciting.
~ 20 Questions ~
The person who is taking their turn will need to think of a random thing and not tell anyone. Then, each person takes turns asking yes or no questions, so they can figure out what the person is thinking. Some variations include the answers maybe and sometimes. The very first questions we ask tend to be "Is it a person?", "Is it an animal?", "Can you eat it?" You only get 20 questions as a group, depending on how you like to play, so it makes you really have to think of good ones. If you don't guess the answer in those 20 questions, then the person who thought of it wins the round. You can make this game a little easier by picking a catagory or subject to stay within before hand.
~ The Letters Game ~
( AKA Alphabet Search )
Start with the letter "A" and find a word on a sign or billboard that has that letter in it and then shout out the word and letter. Repeat, working your way through the alphabet, finding new words as you go. No one else can use that same word or get the same letter from a different word on that sign. You can also only get one letter per sign or billboard per person, thus each letter that you find has to be from a different sign. The rules when we we play are that license plates, car signs, graffiti, and any writing that is not stationary does not count. The person who finds all the letters of the alphabet first wins!
~ I Spy ~
Each person takes a turn spotting something in the car or outside that is stationary, able to be seen for a long period of time, and that can be seen by the naked eye. Once you have picked out something, don't show or tell anyone what is and say something along the lines of, "I spy from the corner of my eye..." followed by a description such as, "that is blue." It helps to try to keep it simple and not give too much away. People will take turns guessing what it is and the person that guesses correctly gets the next turn.
Enjoy Your Ride
I hope that by sharing the things that brought my family closer and made car trips fun for us will also help your family during their drive to your summer get away. Car rides don't have to be boring, you can make great memories on the way to your destination. Above all, may you have a safe and relaxing vacation!
Take an Angel with You
“Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.”
Where do you like to take a car trip? Will you be driving to your summer vacation spot?