1,850 miles, 8 states, 2 kids, 1 adult – a week of memories
Traveling is a passion of mine and I want to pass that passion along to my kids, what better way than a road trip. Road trips aren’t for everyone, especially when there are kids involved, but they can be a great way to see the sights and visit friends and family in the process.
For this trip my plan was to visit friends in North Carolina, family in West Virginia, friends in Ohio, and wrap up by visiting family and a friend in Atlanta. A basic plan was all I needed and after confirming dates/estimated arrival and departure times with everyone I added the trip to my calendar. I think I contacted everyone and made arrangements a month or two in advance.
For the first leg I planned to leave Savannah on a Friday around noon to arrive in Greensboro, North Carolina around 5. I would stay there until Monday morning and leave for Parkersburg, West Virginia around 8 am when my friends left for work. This leg of my journey would be an overnight and I would head to Cincinnati, Ohio Tuesday after lunch, shooting for a mid afternoon/early evening arrival. The Cincinnati visit would end Friday morning “at first light” at which time I would drive back to Georgia and spend the night north of Atlanta. Sometime Saturday I would make my way to a second stop in Atlanta to spend the night and then head back to Savannah sometime Sunday.
A few months ago I wrote a blog on packing, you can check it out HERE. The general idea for packing is always the same but here are some additional tips/things I consider when traveling by car instead of by air.
Pack smart and think about easy access for multiple legs – my trip plan consisted of staying 3 nights in North Carolina, 1 night in West Virginia, 3 nights in Ohio, and 2 nights (in two different locations) in Atlanta so I packed with the plan to take 90% of my things out at stop 1 and 3 and only a bag or two for stop 2 and 4/5.
It’s OK to take things that make being away from home easier – things like pillows, toys, the special baby gear (for me the Pack and Play and Baby Brezza), all the jackets you own because you don’t know what the weather will actually be like, multiple pairs of shoes you probably won’t wear…you get the picture!
Leave room in your vehicle for passengers and/or child issues – I wanted to be able to carry both of my friends with me when I got to Greensboro and be able to add 2 car seats and an adult in Ohio so when I packed I left one middle seat empty and made sure my front seat only contained things that would be exiting on the way or at the first stop. Leaving the middle seat empty also doubled as a changing table when I needed to do a diaper change during a gas stop. I highly doubt the gas station bathroom had a changing table and who knows what my little boy would have touched…ugh!
Pack things that only need to leave your car when you need them together – for me this consists of extra diapers, formula, and spare water. I packed these items together and put them in the car somewhere out of the way.
We had so much fun on our trip and each stop along the way had special aspects here are some of the highlights!
We did a little “horseback riding” and took a trip to the zoo!
In West Virginia I met my mom’s cousin and her family. This is the first time we’ve met and our kids are the same age so I see lots of visits back and forth in our future!!
We had such a great time in Ohio and IT SNOWED!!! Only for 30 minutes or so but it was perfect for the kids to get out and play in the snow. Also…the Ikea in Cincinnati has childcare. We may or may not have spent some time strolling about…
‘Twas the Night Travels
Making memories is a great part of every trip we take and I especially love being able to take my business on the road! My friend put her Christmas tree up early so I could take photos of her little girls, I hope she loves the shots as much as I do.
The Drive Home
I ended up having to change the back end of my trip and drive straight from Cincinnati to Statesboro. Ideally a 10 hour trip (12 with stops) wouldn’t be the way to travel with 2 kids under 4 but we managed without much fussing and without any major meltdowns. I didn’t want to take forever but I also wanted to make sure I gave the kids some time out of the car so I stopped and went in for a McDonald’s lunch outside of Knoxville and then stopped for a coffee/bathroom break outside of Augusta. I think the best tip I can give if you have to do a long stretch is to make sure there is an ample supply of food. By keeping my toddler fed and happy any potential whining was kept at a minimum. The baby not losing it was a total miracle.
Overall the trip was amazing! I did a similar version last year and I’m looking forward to being able to do it again, maybe during a school break next year. Each trip is a little different and each time the experiences and stops are different.