Road Trip Turmoil

I really dislike long road trips.   I’m just not the type of girl who travels well.  I always look like a wrinkled mess by the time I crawl out of the car.  I’ve got lines in my face from falling asleep with the seat-belt squashed between my face and the window.  My knees are cramped due to shared floor space, and my clothing looks like it came straight out of the rinse cycle and onto my body.  By mid-trip my hair is tangled in a web any spider would be proud to call home.  I also cannot keep a stitch of make-up on my face while in the car.  I think it melts off with the frost on my windshield.

I’ve never been able to understand how some women slide from their car into a rest-stop bathroom looking like they just came from a day at the spa.  Blush intact, hair high, and creases down the center of their pants only.  Why can’t I travel well?

Planes are a much better option for me.  They require shorter times of confinement and the sheer terror of shooting through the sky keeps an alert look on my face. 


I’ve noticed some things while traveling.  McDonald’s bathrooms are never clean.  I really don’t think this fact changes by state; however, in New York you’re lucky to find a McDonald’s bathroom that has a door on its’ hinges or a seat on its’ non-flushing toilet.  Buy fries at McDonald’s, but use the bathroom elsewhere.

Like most micro stalls in roadside bathrooms, vehicles never have enough space.  When I was a kid our station wagon housed three families of children and a months worth of cargo.  What has happened to our vehicles? 

They shrunk. 

Now they’re made for people who are exactly 4 foot 8 and weigh 63 pounds.  Anyone larger must sit with their chin resting comfortably on their knees.  Each passenger only has space for one plastic Wal-Mart bag and don’t even think about bringing the family pet, be it spider or dog!

All vehicles should really come with standard DVD players built into the front seat head rests.  Why we only purchased DVD players for our car this month is something I’ll NEVER understand.  Our brains must have been invaded by aliens from Leave it to Beaver Land. 

Or something.

With countless trips from Maine to Florida, I could have saved myself 479 verses of ‘Old McDonald Had a Farm,’ 42 hours of playing ‘I Spy,’ and  no less than 13 boxes of crayons.  The cost of those DVD players is worth 4 times the purchase price.  Our sanity is worth the risk of our children’s mind turning into gelatinous mush from too much television.

Enough said. 

Do you travel well? 

If so, please share your tips.  Obviously I’m a needy soul.


19 thoughts on “Road Trip Turmoil

  1. Erin

    WE so totally break out the DVD players for long trips. 12 hours to U.S. grandma’s. That’s about 6 or 7 movies, and at least 12 Tylenol! But we hide the dvd players in the attic once home.

  2. mylestones

    Having just returned from a road trip with the little ones, I can say a resounding amen to the DVD player. That’s about all I can say. Because I’m still kindof fried from hours and hours of Thomas dialogue in the background. I know it’s bad when I start sounding like Sir Topham Hat when admonishing the kids…”You have caused confusion & delay!!”

  3. Tori

    How funny. Being a missionary and traveling so much I can totally relate to the post. I don’t travel well either and with many 20 hour trips under my belt I can tall you I’m a mess like nothing you’ve seen after one.
    Cute post!

  4. Steph at the Red Clay Diaries

    Here’s my take on DVD players: The kids are confined. They’re grumpy. Yes, they could read or play games. But every parent knows that kids in that situation find the most entertainment from either whining or fighting with each other. And it’s not like the DVD is keeping them from playing outside. The TRIP is doing that. 😉

    That said, I love to travel, but that’s mostly because I no longer care what I look like on the trip. Makeup? Real pants? WHY?

  5. Mama Belle

    I agree that DVD players are a necessity on any road trip. I don’t know how we made it without one.

    Down here, I’ll take a McDonald’s bathroom any day over a gas station bathroom. I always feel dirtier after I’ve washed my hands and left. There’s something wrong with that.

    I travel make-up-less and hair in ponytail or baseball cap. I also don’t understand how some lady travelers can look so good. They must freshen up before they get out of the car.

  6. robinaltman

    VCRs in vans came after my time, unfortunately. I would have glommed onto that trend as fast as lightning. My kids used to read in the car, or play Game Boy. Once Kevin’s Game Boy broke in Vermont, and I almost got into a car crash trying to make it to K Mart before they closed, to buy another.

    (The print on this comment is really big, and I don’t know why. I’m not yelling at you, Tricia. I swear.)

  7. Debbie York

    I loved road trips when the kids were younger…making nachos on the dashboard, eating hangdown with crackers and cheese, forgetting my youngest at a gas station. That’s what memories are made of. Thank goodness none of us got carsick! We never planned them…we just went. That’s how I was raised and I just carried it over.
    Funny, that’s how they travel now!
    Cat Daddy and I….well that’s a another story.

  8. Jen

    We just returned from a road trip. Although we travel LOTS, I much prefer an airplane to a car any day. Luckily my kids have traveled since before they could walk (both of them flew overseas before they turned one) so they are quite accustomed to it.

    The DVD player is a fantastic choice. In the car, on the plane, it keeps them entertained. It’s always good to make sure the DVD player is charged or you have the charger (my very big mistake today!)

  9. TCKK

    No, I don’t travel well. I look bad. Kinda like what you described. I swear you were looking at me when you said that!

    That being said though, I love to travel…well not really the travel part, but I love to get there!!

  10. Cher

    We sang, we played games, we had long conversations on trips when the children were young. I wouldn’t give up those memories for anything and I bet my kids wouldn’t either. It’s now that they are adults that I’d want the DVD players!

    The Texas Woman

  11. Rachel

    We couldn’t survive road trips without the portable DVD player. It would be a complete disaster.

    I’ve abandoned all thought of looking presentable on road trips. I will do my hair and makeup, but I always wear yoga pants & t-shirts and don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.

    Except it backfired on my last October when the air in my car went out and we had to drive from New Orleans to Shreveport for a wedding in 85 degree heat. A six hour trip with no air. My makeup literally melted off my face. Needless to say, we found a place to get my air fixed while in Shreveport.

  12. caprik

    Oh YES, we travel very well!!! We got our 1st high top conversion van in 1996 or 97. TV and Playstation hook up included! Tv on a long trip is a beautiful thing!
    Just this trip, the kids watched all 3 Lord of the Rings movies, back to back, to back, with nary a peep, except laughter!

    When they were younger, I always brought along special treat bags. Sort of like their Easter baskets. Filled with little things they could enjoy while we were away. Like bubbles, little cars or characters, fake tatoos, water toys, new coloring books, sticker, puzzle and regular books, movies, games, cards, food like fruit snacks, chips, candy (sorry, NO CHOCOLATE, it melts, unless you put it in the cooler!)Little things I knew they were interested in.
    I would dole them out every couple of hours or so. It kept them excited the whole trip! I think a client gave me that idea. Our kids LOVED it!


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