While air travel is speedy and oftentimes necessary for long trips, there’s nothing quite like loading up the car with your precious cargo (and children) and hitting the highway. Perhaps you’re headed to visit relatives this summer, trek to the nearest beach several hours away or drop your kid off at sleep away camp, taking a road trip is a great way to bond with your family.
Here are a few things I love about a good old fashioned family road trip:
You Are Forced To Spend Time Together I don’t mean to sound negative but in a world where even the family dog has its own Google calendar, it’s kind of nice to be in close quarters for a few hours with the ones I love. I’ve got a middle schooler and a high schooler and all school year we are juggling schedules like the Kardashians minus the diamonds and Dom Perignon. It’s lovely to have time together in a vehicle for an extended amount of time. Even if you resort to singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, shifting gears to unplugged time from the more typical vegging out in front of Netflix , is refreshing.
You Share The Experience of the Journey Unlike air travel, which doesn’t leave much room at all for spotting interesting roadside attractions and signs, taking a trip by interstate or highway lends itself to the shared experience of discovering new sights or reminiscing about old ones. For years we have traveled to the Florida Panhandle and we always point out that same crazy super mega fireworks store each and every time.
You Can Play Old School Games We have a silly game we like to play on the road that has to do with spotting certain colored vehicles and I bet your family has its own favorite game, too. We can get pretty cut throat about the point keeping system.
You Learn to Compromise Your family musical tastes may run the gamut from Irish folk songs to Indie rock and that’s completely “normal” in that no family member is the same. Everyone in my family has different tastes in music. Riding in the car for hours together forces some diplomatic music listening and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the music my girls deem “cool” that us old parental types like.
Indulging in Snacks You Don’t Normally Eat We have our favorite road trip candy (Lemonheads, gummy worms and Bit O’ Honey.) Your snacks may be on the Paleo, gluten free and organic side of the fence and I salute you for your healthiness. Our road trip snacks are just one part of our family tradition that makes piling into the car even more fun.
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Schedule (No Problem) I’m joking a bit in referencing this carefree country beach loving song by Kenny Chesney, but there is a sense of freedom associated with road trips. While I love the energy of airports, not to mention the people watching, you have very little wiggle room when it comes to your itinerary. Traveling by car means you can make that detour to gawk at the world’s largest ball of twine or take a scenic highway route to try a country cafe with the world’s best iced tea that you read about.
Travel is one of those life experiences I don’t think you can ever get enough of and I personally believe it’s one of the best things you can share with your family. The next time you pile up in your car for a family road trip, remember the memories and traditions you make far outweigh a first-class flight any day.
What are your favorite road trip memories?
Jamie Reeves is a Nashville-based writer, editor, and lover of all things social media. She and her husband Alan have two daughters, two dogs, and too much laundry. This busy soccer mom can typically be found cheering from the sidelines or in her car on the way to school or sports practices. She loves traveling with her family and exploring fun things to do in Middle Tennessee. Jamie has been pontificating about poop and pinot noir at Blonde Mom Blog, since 2005.