|DON’T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE
(Photo by Anthony Ginsbrook on Unsplash)
True, we’re only going 2 1/2 hours away, but we will have a full boot*, three kids under the age of eleven, and a dog. We’ll also have a cranky driver.
Fis will be driving, and I will only have the comparatively light responsibilities of navigator, deejay, snack-provider and backseat referree (light, compared, that is, to our trip to Normandy in October, in which I was all these as well as driver and…oh dear, who knows? I was out of my mind with fever, so I assume I was also the unicorn-wrangler and camel-flyer), so this will be a breeze. It will be a short drive, relatively (life in Canada is not conducive to road trips of under four hours) (and life in London means that a drive can only be short in distance, not in time, due to traffic), but it is still a road trip.
One must be prepared, so prepared I will be.
The Number One Most Important aspect that makes or breaks any road trip is snacks. Savoury, sweet, fruit, vegetable, trail mix, chocolate, candy, jerky… all snack food groups must be covered for whims at a whim. Water bottles and travel mugs must be at the ready for all family members, or else.
Again? So important. Seriously. Write this down.
I remember packing a suitcase with three library books for each member of the family for a trip to Croatia last summer. “Do we really need fifteen books?” asked Fis. Silly Fis!
Music and audiobooks
The third line of defence (after snacks and books) is a fantastic playlist that doesn’t have songs that you have to turn down at strategic moments to avoid hearing the F-word on what would otherwise be completely delightful and family-friendly. (Yes, Cake, I’m talking about you.) But what’s even better than a family singalong? A family listening quietly to How to Train Your Dragon or The Swiss Family Robinson**, that’s what. A compelling audiobook honestly (honestly!) quells the backseat’s increasingly obnoxious demands for tablet time and/or further snacks.
Fun? Check! Educational? Check! Inappropriate? Check! Especially when one of the children chooses “anus” as a noun nine times out of ten. It’s a classic road trip staple.
Although it’s counterintuitive, having a dog (even a tiny one) in the backseat with the savages actually ensures a more zen (zen-ner?) experience. Think of all those studies about people stroking dogs for the benefit of their blood pressure. Yeah, just like that.
Stuffies and blankies
In the slim chance that anyone quiets down or wants to fall asleep (ha!), these are essential. Most likely, they’ll just get covered with dirt, grime and goldfish crumbs, but again, one must be prepared.
Headphones and yes, tablets
Ok, fine. The idyllic roadtrip of my youth no longer exists. You remember, the ones where your thighs stuck to the vinyl seats because there was no air conditioning and Dad cracked his window an inch to let the cigarette smoke out? And there was nothing to do for the entire 18-hour drive to Grandma’s except joke about sneaking him some ex-lax so that he’d stop for a break?
No? Just me?
Right. So, our kids do have tablets***, and we (I) really like to restrict their access and usage, especially on short trips or in scenic areas. But sometimes, we do what we have to do.
Just…the more the better, ok? Trust me on this one.
Fun British Translation Guide
* boot = trunk
** Fun fact: the 1970s Swiss Family Robinson series was Canadian! Why?
** but not iPads. Ain’t nobody getting an iPad until Mommy gets one first.