I don't know about you, but holidays around our house usually involve some travel. I thought it would be fun to share some of our family's favorite car travel tips. Who knows? Maybe some of them you'll find helpful. Otherwise, I bet you'll just find us odd.
9. Constant coffee supply for the driver. I'm not mentioning names, but steering wheels can make *some* drivers very sleepy. If I am going to be able to read my book, or take a little nappie, I need to feel assured that my driver is awake and alert.
8. Speaking of reading and naps, the rider must always travel with her pillow, in her lap. I have no idea why, except for the fact that it feels cozy. I feel very forlorn on a plane without my pillow.
7. A stack of good books. I look forward to holiday reading almost as much as the holiday itself. I have a special satchel that is dedicated to my books when traveling. This trip I brought 5 books. You'll see my first one in the picture above. It's Annie Downs' first book--From Head to Foot: All of You Living All for Him--and it is fabulous!! If you have teenage or tween daughters, BUY IT for them. (that's an order) Oh, okay, I'll dedicate an entire post to Annie's book soon.
6. If you look closely at the top left of the picture, you will see an absolute necessity for our family's car travels: a Coca-Cola. I find that having a Coke in that little cup holder keeps me cheerful on a long ride. My dear husband was very disappointed to learn upon marrying me that I like to get a fresh Coke at every stop. Doesn't matter if I still have half a Coke left--if we stop, a fresh non-watered down one is an absolute necessity.
5. We have a little bit of a double-standard in our car. The mom and dad have a constant supply of coffee and Cokes, and the backseat riders...well, they are on a rationing program. Through a bit of trial and error we have learned the mathematical equation that 1 Coke for a wee one = 16 stops for a wee one break, in a manner of speaking. 1 chocolate milk included in a Happy Meal = 1-2 stops. Not bad, but not perfect, either. 1 small cup of ice = no stops at all. I guess their wee bodies absorb that precious amount of water for simple body functioning. Hey--that works for us. And the kiddies just love cups of ice. "Hey kids! Would you like a small cup of ice...or a cup of air???" They ask for the ice every time.
4. Speaking of the back seat, on our car travels, we've decided we like to take 2 girls along. We figure--we've got the room in our super-cool minivan, we might as well take these girls that insist on calling us "Mom and Dad." Through lots of screaming trial and error we have learned that one per row is just perfect. Since Sara Beth likes cozy little cubbyholes and tents, she chooses to sit in the far back. The large dog kennel piled high with clothes and coats next to her helps provide the perfect cubbyhole environment.
3. Large dog kennel??? Yes, we like to travel with our 2 large hunting dogs. In fact, I'm not sure if push came to shove on minivan space, who Dave would pick between the dogs and me. He would probably tell you that the dogs don't buy as many Cokes. Or possibly that I don't point pheasants nearly as reliably. We have found that nothing helps create a happy travel environment like big dogs who...(how can I say this delicately?) who cause Sara Beth occasionally to cry out, "Daddy!! Please open the back windows!!!"
2. One the most essential components of a successful car trip: Dvd player with headphones. I am sure the person who invented the car dvd player was a mom, who had heard too many times the familiar whiny words, "Mo-ommmm!!! She's on my side againnnnn!! She won't leave me alonnnnne!!! Mo-ooommmm!! She called me a name again!!! Mo-ooommmm!!! She's looking at me!!!" It is a unanswerable scientific question why, when the mom and dad are sitting SIDE BY SIDE, that the word, "Da-aaddddd!!!!" is never uttered. Why, oh, why is that? But, with 2 beautiful dvd players and headphones on every little head, all is calm, all is bright.
1. The Snack Bag: Essential for a happy car trip. What, with all the coffee buying, and Coke freshening up, and extra small cups of ice--I like to save a little money by packing an exciting bag of snacks. This snack bag happens to be a little heavier on the junk food than normal...but my husband found a really great deal on a huge box 'o junk. For those of you that know Dave, that doesn't surprise you one bit.
Well, there you have it! I hope your holiday travels are happy and memorable. I hope that your own super-cool minivans transport you safely to the arms of your families in far-flung places. I hope that as you arrive, you're able to extend grace to the weirder family members, and that they are able to extend grace to you in all your weird-ness, too. Most of all, I hope that as your family gathers together for that delicious Christmas meal, you will take a moment to thank the One that created this whole holiday anyway. The little baby in the manger over on your mama's sideboard. I hope you thank Him for being born. And, I really hope you sing Him Happy Birthday.
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