How to get on the road with your kids by yourself. Maybe you are a single parent or a parent with a non-traveling spouse or at least one that would think a 3400 mile road trip was the equivalent 24/7 diaper duty for life.
I love travel! Plane, train, car, horse or mule driven wagon, I am ready lets go! (I am not really that fond of boats though.) Travel encourages learning, reading, problem solving, patience and attention to your surroundings–plus, a unique type of bonding: bonding with fellow travelers, once in a life time experiences with strangers, instant friends for life and a deeper connection with loved ones.
Get On the Road By Yourself with Your Kids
You do not have to spend all your vacation time visiting family or traveling with a less than interested spouse. You can overcome the mental hurtles and learn all the skills you need to travel easily and safely alone with your children. Last summer my boys and I spent 6 weeks on the road.
Mindset for the Road Trip/Breathe and Believe
Believe that you can and start acting as if. Easy for me to say, but it is true. Daring greatly only happens when you choose to start the process.
The first time I took both my boys on a plane by myself, I prayed for weeks, my parents prayed, the church prayed. Two boys, Elijah 15 months and Wesley 3 1/2 years old and me. Just getting to the airport 2 1/2 hours away, parking the car, and getting the boys and the luggage on the shuttle bus was enough to exhaust me!
Two couples I had never met stopped to help in the Denver Airport and another kind attendant showed me the kid’s play area in the Dallas Airport.
Breathing and believing in myself, trusting that God would provide people along the way to help, made the trip possible and positive.
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Learn the Necessary Skills
The boys and I have now crisscrossed the country multiple times on our own. Ten years later my boys are patient travelers that I would take on a plane anywhere,
New challenge! A long road trip involving a 14 ft travel trailer, mountain passes and camping. A year ago, I did not even know how to back the trailer! Wesley, my 11 year old son, and I practiced for 6 weeks hitching, unhitching, safety checking, backing up and parking the travel trailer before we hit the road for the first leg of our trip.
Make a Trial Run Close to Home
Camping is something my family does every summer. For the road trip the boys and I needed to learn how to haul and run the travel trailer on our own. We did two trial run road trips close to home. My husband talked me through all the intricacy of our little 1971 travel trailer on one trip. It was so much to remember; I put it on video.
During the trial trips the boys and I tried to do everything our selves. Hubby just watched and helped when we got stuck. We had a good handle on the basics of truck and trailer by the time we left. The rest we learned on the road trip.
Play it Safe on Your Road Trip
Campgrounds- I planned to only stop at hosted campgrounds and national forest sights. National parks and state parks offer areas where there is a volunteer on site to help campers and to keep the area clean and stocked. I made sure to introduce myself to the host shortly after we arrived at each camp site.
Itinerary– Make sure you have someone in your home location and your destination that you check in with frequently. We made an itinerary of stops before we left Colorado and kept my husband and parents updated on our location daily.
Weather, time, and points of interest delayed and changed our plans a couple times so we just let our home support know as soon as we had cell signal.
Extra Insurance– Triple A is still the way to go for road trips. Super easy to use and not that expensive. In under 15 minutes, Triple A had a live person working on my truck when we ran into a few issues.
Safety Plan Make a clear and written plan tailored to your trip before you leave. This is a must! –what to do in case of separation, who to call, types of people to trust, what information to have memorized, what to do if someone is hurt.
Know Your Energy, Time and Budget on the Road
Energy For three weeks, I was Mommy, truck driver, cook, camp director and safety monitor. There was no way I could drive 14 hours and then make camp, get dinner on the fire and be any fun to be with at night. I planned short drives 4-6 hours during the day so we could stop by 3-4 in the afternoon.
Budget Often on the days we traveled we planned to eat out and just rest that evening. Eating out can get taxing on the budget so make it a treat. Secondly we looked for camp sites between $12-20 per night. Just one hotel stay can set your trip budget back a bundle.
Timing was also a big deal. I tried not to have too many unchangeable plans. I did pre purchase a few tickets. The Texas Play in Palo Duro Canyon was one of them. We made the mistake of starting late in the day out of New Mexico needing to make Palo Duro Canyon by night fall. Poor planning and missed direction got us there at 1 am. Not a shining moment for me and one I did not repeat on the way home.
Teach Positive Problem Solving Along the Way
No road trip is complete without unexpected issues. Misreading a map, misjudging your time, maybe blowing up a truck or loosing a kid. I don’t want to scare you, but things happen. Having extended insurance. a safety plan, cell phone and an outline of your daily plan all help.
This is an awesome time to model good self care and positive problem solving in front of your children. If trouble does strike, be patient. You can handle it. Breath, pray and do the next right thing.
Be sure to check The Joyous Family Road Trip