Four Mistakes I Made on our Most Recent Road Trip


    We recently took a road trip to Los Angeles for our nephew’s Bar Mitzvah celebration. 

    It’s a 6.5-hour drive from San Francisco to LA in normal traffic conditions. 

    We planned to leave between 5:45 and 6:00 AM to skip the morning commute. We would go right after I fed the baby and made a warm milk bottle for the toddler.

    Lesson 1: Don’t leave packing the car and snacks for the morning. Sometimes your baby will wake up earlier than usual, and they won’t cooperate with your plan. 

    Though we left closer to 6:45, we still bypassed the morning traffic. By 9:00 AM, we were well on our way.

    At that point, our toddler was ready for something besides sitting in the car seat and being entertained by snacks and toys. We found a gas station nearby and had our daughter go up and down the aisle while needing to remind her that she couldn’t take anything off the shelves. Meanwhile, our baby was crawling into the customers’ way.

    Lesson 2: It’s best to plan stops with a playground or play area for children to move their legs and run around. 

    For our return trip, we planned to leave at noon after a grand goodbye breakfast with the family. We would give our toddler a warm milk bottle to help her take her afternoon nap. We hoped to get 2 hours of driving without entertaining her.

    Lessons 3 & 4: Having your toddler sit in a restaurant or be inside a facility where they can’t explore before a 6.5-hour trip is not a great idea. Having breakfast in the restaurant was not ideal. Having an hour of outdoor time before a car trip seems much more doable for the child. 

    Always have a plan B. Our toddler decided to sleep for 45 minutes instead of her usual 2-2.5 hours and was tantruming when we hit the 1-hour mark. Boy, was that awful.

    This trip made me realize that planning all the details and having a few second-best options handy is essential. I am taking a break from road-tripping for the time being. These events take time for me to recover:) I hope the drive will be uneventful… and maybe even enjoyable next time.


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