I had such a nice time with my family as we drove north on the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco. This vacation gave our family the opportunity to spend time together as we drove from one town to the next. This is a different experience from staying in one location for several nights. In that situation, sometimes one person or another will decide to stay in the hotel room and unwind or relax while the rest of the family goes exploring or shopping. When we are on a road trip moving from one place to another, everyone is forced to be together all day long since there is no “home base” to depend on. The car is the home base. This gave our family an opportunity to talk and bond over the miles and miles on the road. Yes, there was some occasional sleeping by passengers but I have to recommend this form of travel if you’re wanting some family time. We had had long drives with the children when they were younger and we explored national parks.
When traveling with young children, you have to make sure to build in bathroom breaks and playtime to break up the monotony of the long drive. My daughter used to suffer from car sickness when she was younger and I recall collecting (and having to use) the airsickness bags from our flights for her. We didn’t have to worry about these types of issues now that my children are no longer young children. It was a very different experience traveling with our adult children. I could also ask them to help research places they wanted to see or things they wanted to eat. I could ask them to help plot our route and help us navigate our way. During our meals, we could order food with the intent of sharing everything family-style so we could try all the items that looked so good on the menus. (We could have done that in the past but I may not have wanted to eat the food the kids ordered.) Even better, if my husband or I decided to have drinks at dinner, we had a sober driver who could get us back to the hotel. There was no bickering. There was a lot of reminiscing of previous trips. One memory that came up during this PCH trip was from a previous PCH road trip. My daughter remembered bickering with my son and being promised donuts at the next stop as an incentive to stop bickering. The incentive worked because they remember earning the donuts! I’m not sure if we will be able to take another family trip with just the four of us. My children now have college and work schedules they have to schedule vacations around and who knows if our schedules will align as they did last month. There may be significant others in their lives that would change the dynamic of our travels. But if we can, I’d love to take another road trip with just my immediate family. What road trips would you recommend? Living Hilo Style on the road.