Road Trip Tips

Turns out, folks, there is life beyond Costco. It’s not as cheap or as bulky, but it’s teeming with richness.

And one three-hour car trip does not an expert make, but if you came here looking for traveling tips, you won’t leave empty-handed. (You may be grossed out and dissociated, but you’ll have tips.)

Drum roll, please.

Here are Outlaw Mama’s 5 road trip tips for the intrepid parents who want to see the Good Ole US of A by vehicle with two children ages 3 and under.

1. Let go of your nap-in-the-car fantasies. How naive are you? Will your kids fall asleep? Yes. Yes, they will, but only when you are 5 minutes from your destination. Then, you can pull up, park and watch them sleep while your own bladder explodes, because if you open the door they will wake up IN THE WORST MOODS EVER. Consider sitting on a diaper nest you made during the trip and relieving yourself into it.

2. Speaking of bladders. Your 3-year-old may be an ace on the potty. (Good for you, stop bragging.). But when you are on the road, she will give you a 60-second warning before she’s gonna go. That means you have 60 seconds to exit the highway, and find a place you are willing to let your handsy kid pee. (Spoiler alert: you won’t make it.) So, bring a hose you can attach to the car to wash out the pee pee. (Hers and yours.)

3. You know those snacks you packed? Great job! You think you packed enough? You probably did. You probably emptied your cabinets of Trader Joe’s snacks and brought them for your kids to enjoy as the rural landscapes filled your car’s windows. Guess what? Your kids are only going to want the snack you brought the least of. You brought 6 bags of Pirates Booty? Big fucking deal. They want the mango slices (that you actually packed for yourself), and when they discover there are no more, you will find yourself wondering how quickly you will die if you jump from the car. Tip: eat your secret snack before you get in the car, because they always find out and will snatch it from your hand.

4. Every traveler wonders if she packed all the right gear for everyone But with kids, the stakes are high. What did you forget? How about your most histrionic child’s lovie? How about your sweet boy’s favorite PJs? It sucks when you forget those. But, really, that’s child’s play compared to how you’ll feel when you discover you were so busy packing snacks (that no one will eat) that you forgot your saline solution, your favorite travel lotion, and your Zoloft. (You may wonder if you are a bit self-sabotage-y and want to trace that to your relationship to your mother. Don’t do that. Wear your glasses (since you have no saline solution) and buy expensive dark chocolate when you stop at Super-Target for jumbo marshmallows.) This too shall pass.

5. Finally, dear friends, if you are going to be all free-wheeling, “hey, we’re on vacation, kids,” and let your brood eat whatever they want, you should know: when your littlest eats raw corn, he WILL commence to shit like a goose within 6 hours. So stand the fuck back, and make your baby daddy change his diaper.


22 thoughts on “Road Trip Tips

  1. OM to the G that was HILARIOUS!!!!! I have no idea why but I couldn’t help but read this entire post as if it were a twisted rendition of Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler”. ….. “Every traveler knows, that the secret too survivin’ (children) is knowin’ what to throw away, knowin’ what to keep…….”

  2. Holy moly, this is every trip we’ve ever taken.
    Why do I remember everything for the kids (minus one important item for each) but almost none of my stuff. I, too, have forgotten contact lens goo, but I’ve also forgotten tampons, cell phone charger, something to read (hahahahaha like there’s time), a snack for me, and enough wine.
    Because, surprise! there’s never enough wine.

  3. Ha! The snack one speaks directly to my heart. As soon as my son asks “what do you have for me?” I so proudly hold up my six bags of Pirate Booty – feeling like the mother of all mothers. He doesn’t so much glance at them before he says “what else?” It’s crushing. Bonus for me on this particular holiday weekend: I get to drive home from my parent’s house with my 14 month old nephew (in addition to my two rugrats). 3 hours, 3 kids, ages 3 and under. Wish me luck! There’s no way I can pull this off.

    Hope you guys had a great time!

  4. love it! you know me, i’m all for ice cream and blank stares straight ahead – and for not going on 3 hour drives if you can help it. or thee hour river rafting trips… or excursion to public places of any kind. 🙂
    love the sunny side up tee shirt!

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