Going on the road for four months in an airstream trailer with two teenagers teaches you a few things that you don’t learn on shorter road trips. We thought we were skilled at travelling with our kids, at camping and at taking long road trips but we learned a few lessons on this last journey that might help you with planning your next big road trip with OR without a trailer!
1. “Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” – Erol Ozan
Ok, so while the above quote is totally true and I do highly recommend getting off the beaten path, please take my advice and READ THE SIGN! We made one mistake on our road trip that could have cost us big time. We decided to take a short cut through the mountains in California and didn’t read the sign at the beginning of the road in time before turning. What did it say? Well basically that we should not be anywhere that road with our trailer. While our story turned out ok and we made it through without falling off a cliff or getting into an accident my husband and I both admit it could have turned out worse!
“I climb behind the steering wheel… I drive off immediately without once looking back; it’s a long journey but it leads to freedom.” – Corinne Hofmann
If you have kids, one thing you’re not going to plan for in advance is them to be really home sick. This is usually something that happens more often on a longer trip but could happen at summer camp, or even a short road trip if they’re at that point in their lives where their friends mean a lot to them.
My advice, talk through it with them. Don’t dismiss their feelings. They have BIG feelings and they’re very important to them. Remind them about all the fun you’re going to have and keep them busy having fun! Ask for their help with planning what to do and see on the trip so they’re involved and preoccupied and finally find a way for them to message or talk to their friends so they can stay in touch and share their adventures.
“A road trip is a way for the whole family to spend time together and annoy each other in interesting new places.” – Tom Lichtenheld
There are ups and downs on every vacation but the longer you’re away for the more you have! Just like at home, everyone needs some time alone and you have to have some good family chats to get through the hard days when everyone is exhausted and wishing they were back home. A few tears are normal and ok. No one has perfect patience. Get past it, forgive each other and move on so you can enjoy the rest of your trip.
“At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.” – Shanti
When it comes right down to it you need to leave the plans behind and enjoy every minute of your time on the road away from rules, schedule, diets and expectations. We embraced local foods in every town we went to and that included all the donuts and ice creams we wanted. Life is short. Eat the Red Rock Donut!
Finally, I want to add a couple of tips specifically for those of you who want to tow a trailer on a big road trip. If you’ve never had a trailer before you’re going to want a few things to make your daily life on the road easier: rubber gloves, baby wipes, an extra long sewer hose, a sewer hose support, a small tool box with screwdrivers, hose clamps, and multiple types of electrical and duct tape! There are lots of places you can go to for repairs but it’s so much better to be able to at least temporarily stop a small leak on your own until you get to a shop. Trust me, something will break at some point. Also, if you’re in California I highly recommend Ace Hardware stores. They carry SO MANY small parts if you want to try and repair things on your trailer on your own like we did. Oh and make sure you have some good jacks. You’re putting them up and down almost every day you’re on the road. You’ll save time by having ones that are easy to use!
DO you have any tips to share from a long Road Trip?!