Our Road Trip Tales Series continues with parenting expert Alyson Schafer, family therapist and best selling author of “Honey, I Wrecked the Kids.” Her story of a road trip memory from childhood will have you giggling and her tips from her own family experiences you’ll find very valuable (no ice cream in the car, ever). If you’re just catching up on our Road Trip Series now, be sure to check out past interviews: Tracy Moore, Erin Bender, Carol Cain, Kathy Buckworth, Emma Waverman, and Leisse Wilcox.
What’s your favourite summer road trip memory?
I went camping in Kenora for a summer with a friend’s family. We drove the whole way there – camping each night. SUCH an adventure. One night we arrived at a provincial park late, and the parents dropped us off at the outdoor movie and said they would set up camp and come get us. When the movie was over, they didn’t show up so we went to the warden’s office and they put us in a ministry truck and drove through the camp ground with a megaphone calling out for the parents. When we found them, they were so so embarrassed. It turns out that after many days / weeks on the road, they were hoping for a little “privacy” in the tent and miscalculated the time. Hee hee – a great memory…
We also went car camping / picnic for a day and we were all wet for the ride home. The dog was wet and they didn’t want him in the car, so they drove their VW beetle slowly down the dirt road making the dog run behind to dry off. I was so upset that I asked to get out and run with the dog… we would run till we got tired and then JUMP onto the low side boards that old VW’s had and we’d hold the inside hand rails. Again – NEVER allowed today but so so fun!!!!
What is your top tip for Family road trips?
Make sure you stop and enjoy the little sites along the way. You can’t blast through 14 hours of interstate and expect kids to be happy :( Better to drive 24 hours of off roads and stop to see the local sites.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you set out on your first family road trip?
My parents didn’t pick the hotels until they got tired of driving and would start looking at dusk. I was usually so tired by then and just wanted to BE AT THE HOTEL – or EAT. Start looking for accommodations early.
Top 3 snacks for in the car?
I have great memories of making sandwiches from a cooler of food. NOT donuts – even today the thought of donuts makes me car sick. We always got fig newtons for some reason – that reminds me of car trips.
Worst snack for in the car?
Ice-cream – ‘nuf said. Especially with the windows open. Eat first – drive later.
Musts on the road trip playlists?
Totally personal, but take more than music – podcasts of stories !!! A series!!! I like Prairie Home Companion.
I am pretty sure we know ever word to the RENT sound track with harmonies thanks to car trips.
Never on the road trip playlists?
Stories about car crashes.
I most embarrass my kids in the car when I….
I have yet to embarrass my kids in the car – its a goal I have … ( I have embarrassed them almost all other places – a car is still too private).
My kids drive me nuts in the car when they…
Take off their shoes and socks to only go 3 blocks.
Biggest challenge you’ve faced traveling with kids by car and how you handled it:
Vomit in a car in the heat of summer — so hard to get the smell out.
I have had random items chucked towards the front of the car.
Dream road trip destination?
I want to drive to Chesapeake Bay and stop by the family farm in Illinois – learn more about the place that was so important to my grandparents.
You can learn more about Alyson, and read about the books she has written to help you parent better, on her website. Connect with Alyson on Twitter as @AlysonSchafer and via her Facebook page. Also check her out on You Tube.