I have not had too many big travel disasters and even the biggest disasters sometimes turn out to be wonderful family members. Such was the case when my family made an impromptu trip down south without a lot of planning. We only had the four kids at the time but trust me, that was enough. We had thought about leaving our new puppy with a kennel here at home but we were going to see the kid’s grandma along the way and she said we could just kennel him there after we visited awhile. So the plan was to leave our house with all the kids and the dog in the van, drive the 3-31/2 hours to grandma’s house, stay with her for a night, then kennel the dogs and go the rest of the way to our final destination, about another 3 hours away.
Sounds like a good plan, right?
Well, most ideas sound great in your head as a parent. It’s the execution that really gets you in trouble. First, we didn’t plan properly for how to keep everyone comfortable in the van. Also, our van seemed much bigger until we tried to shove five people, a dog and enough clothes for 2 weeks in there. People were complaining almost from the start. If I could do it again, I’d bring more travel-friendly games and chargers for the Nintendo DS’s.
About 10 minutes into the drive, somebody had to pee, despite the fact we all took a bathroom break before we started. And then about a half hour in, the dog started throwing up which sent all the kids into a panic. He was fine. It was just a little puppy carsickness. But this led to one kid crying, one holding his nose and moaning, one worrying over the dog and what we were going to do about and the other trying seriously hard not to vomit, too.
Cleaning that up at a gas station wasn’t pleasant.
So we get stuck in traffic, despite our plans to avoid exactly that and it takes us almost six hours to make the 31/2 hour drive. We didn’t pack enough car snacks and everyone was hungry and cranky by the time we got there. But the little one spent the whole time sleeping so she was going to be completely wired once we finally arrived.
Upon arrival, we discovered we were missing a very important bag of things we would need for this trip. Really? How do you check the luggage several times and still forget something? Well, we did it.
It seemed like everything that could go wrong on this trip was going to go wrong, despite our best efforts to prevent it. My biggest advice for any family in our situation is to be prepared for anything and be sure to pack your sense of humor.
Despite the fact that nothing went as planned and we hit many bumps and snags along the way, we made it to our destination and had a fun, family trip. I think if we had focused on all these negatives along the way, it would have truly ruined our experience. Sometimes the unexpected happens when you travel and there is only so much preparation you can do. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control, like a puppy puking on your floors. But sometimes you just have to roll with it and appreciate the fun times.