Holy. Freaking. Moly. What a wild couple of weeks it has been. From leaving South Korea to arriving back in the United States, picking up Ryan in Philadelphia a week after us and, ultimately prepping for our transcontinental roadtrip with kids, we’ve been on the go nearly every moment – even with all the rain we’ve had this past week. Better than all of this chaos though? We’ve had family time. Actual family time. We got to love on my older sister and brother-in-law’s babies. We got to snuggle my younger sister’s baby for a day. We even got to take my beautiful auntie to lunch for the first time in a year and celebrate her 90th! It’s been so special and so needed. But now, the work begins…
Prepping for Our Transcontinental Roadtrip with Kids
If you follow me on instagram or Facebook, you might’ve seen this week’s episode of PCS chaos. I bought a new car within a day of arriving back in the US with the intent of registering it here in New Hampshire. I have an Arizona driver’s license with a NH address (our permanent mailing address and my parents’ home address) and planned to register here. Well, long story short, I was told I can’t do that and, instead, it has to be registered in either Arizona or Alaska. I can’t enter Alaska without registration, so Arizona is officially on our roadtrip list, too.
We’ve done this trip [similarly] before. When we PCSed to JBLM in 2018, we drove from NY through to WA. This time, instead of two children, we have three. But, like before, we have two cats, and we’ll be collecting our dog, Danny, mid-trip, too. We’re doing a wayward sort of route; Tennessee, Kansas, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Washington – they’re all on the table before we even hit Canada.
Surviving a Roadtrip with Kids and Pets
It doesn’t matter that this isn’t our first rodeo. It’s always a little daunting. We could’ve foregone the COT (continuous overseas travel) leave and went straight to Alaska. Time with family is precious though and, since Alaska is considered a consecutive overseas tour, we decided to take advantage of the additional leave. It’s worth it and, yes, I’ll be reminding myself of this the entire route.
We’re not heroes though. We firmly believe in screentime during long travels. The boys will travel with Ryan in his truck, while Mieke will start with me. They’ll have tablets and their Switch, which can mount to a headrest. We have magnetic boardgames.
Even with long days planned averaging 600+ miles, we have short and travel-free days, too. My top advice though? Read the room. Here’s how we keep them (and ourselves) mostly sane throughout:
- Split the difference, blending Airbnbs and hotels; this gives us a different view
- Book places with multiple bedrooms; if a hotel, we book a suite for additional space
- Stop as often as needed and, if something looks cool, we stop
- We always look for pools to decompress at night when we’re done with driving
- Laundry keeps us feeling fresh, so bonus points if we find a place with laundry included
Roadtrip #920348: Here We Go!
With our first couple nights planned, we’re just about ready to put the miles on our new (to us) vehicles and start our next big adventure. I’m so grateful for every adventure we take…though some moreso once we’re finally underway. TBD, my friends. TBD.