Well, it's been a fabulous two and half weeks filled with lots of cousins, food, sand, water, lots of cousins, rockets and shuttles, sun, historical places, lots of cousins and miles and miles of roads through 6 states.
Each year, the trip does get easier with my boys. I love our tradition of striking out for Texas and spending time with family and showing them what my childhood looked like. I have already been making notes for next summer's trip.
So, here are 5 things to think about should you take a summer road trip with your kiddos...which I definitely think you should, whether it's for 3 days or 3 weeks!
Stop when you want to...to take photos, to eat, for a break, to take a look. I always know how far along the road I want to get each day and have set arrangements for where we will sleep each night, but there is always time to stop at roadside fruit stands or shops or cafes or parks or museums, etc. You never know when you will have the chance again, at least that's my philosophy; so, stop when you have the inclination. The boys and I like to stop at state welcome centers and peruse the brochures for area attractions, and we watch for signs about local attractions too.
Experience new things. ... whether it's food or an area or an activity or something else. Definitely step out of your comfort zone and try new things when you are on the road. We try to avoid chain restaurants as much as possible at all times, but especially while traveling. And, again, look for things that are new and different to you or your region of the world. It's sure to be a memorable experience.
Relax the rules as much as possible...while traveling; it's easy to get into a crazy meal and bedtime schedule, and I'm OK with that. If you aren't, then, that's not a rule to relax, but our family flies by the seats of our pants every day, but especially while traveling. What's hard is visiting others and staying in their homes. Everyone has different rules and rarely are the house rules posted; so, do the best you can.
Get souvenirs...we buy souvenirs. It's fun, and I think it's an important part of visiting and exploring wherever you are in the world. It certainly doesn't have to be big and expensive. My 7 year old likes to collect pins from places we visit and then stick them on his backpack. I happen to like the kitschy coffee mugs...my "travel" mugs are some of my favorite...really! And I like to pick up a few post cards too. Not much, but something to remember the experience and the place.
Enjoy it....these are things that memories are made of. Sometimes we get so caught up in the rush to get somewhere or the logistics of the trip or the schedule of events that we forget to be present in the moment and enjoy where we are and what weare doing and whom we are with. On Tuesday, on Part 1 of our way home, we drove only 45 minutes before spending 2.5 hours at the U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum, which meant we would drive in the dark and arrive late to our hotel, but it was worth it because we enjoyed our time, didn't rush and it was a great place to visit at Fort Sill in Lawton, OK; a place I have driven past numerous times over the past 16 years and never stopped.
Our haul on this trip: peaches, a watermelon, 2 honeys from 2 different areas of Texas, souvenirs from the beach, from the Johnson Space Center, an old general store, from the U.S. Army Artillery Museum and from the Texas State Capitol, plus many wonderful memories of playing with cousins at the lake, at the beach, at Bebe's and Papa's and at a cousin's wedding and lots and lots of photos, including quite a few of millions of bats flying out from S. Congress bridge in Austin, TX. We have several things to check off of our summer bucket list.
What are you doing this summer? Over and out...