We are two day in to a mini road trip to the Hunter Valley for a family doo. We are all recovering from the trauma of a diarrhoea attack (little man), and an explosive car vomit (little lady) which poor Jai copped to the back of the neck.

Now that everyone is clean(ish), strapped back into the car and snoozing, I feel this is a good time for reflecting on what we have learned so far.

  1. Plan ahead: We have had The Hunter Valley leg of this trip booked for months, well actually we did none of the planning (obvs) but thanks to a highly organised aunty, it is sorted. The three night road trip portion of this trip we booked on Thursday before jumping into the car to leave on Thursday night. In contrast to all pre-children trips that Jai and I have taken, this totally counts as planning ahead but, perhaps now that we have kids and are responsible parents and stuff, hindsight suggests more than 12 hours of lee-way is probably more ideal.
  2. Entertainment for the kids: A portable dvd player or iPad seems like it might be a great way to get some long happy stretches of driving. If there is ever a time that I’d be willing to accept excessive screen time, it’s when trapped in a (spew-scented) Honda Jazz 200kms from the next shower. Colouring books, finger puppets or fairy tales would probably also do the trick. Anything to keep the kids independently happy and entertained. Alternatively you could neglect to pack any of the above and opt for an audio copy of Hairy McLairy and the soundtrack to Frozen and spend the entire trip developing the family rendition of ‘Love Is An Open Door’.
  3. Glen20, hand-sanitiser and something smelly (in a good way): I have never been the type to have a bulging nappy bag with ‘all of the things’. I tend to be more of a grab-a-nappy-and-wipes-and-hope-for-the-best kind of parent. This style has (miraculously) worked quite well for me so far. However, there was always bound to be a time when I pondered if maybe I could have minimised the carnage if I had a few essentials on hand. This road-trip counts as one.
  4. Snacks: Choosing the right snacks for a lengthy car trip is a delicate operation. The ideal snack has several jobs to do. It needs to take a while to eat, be relatively crumb and smoosh free, have low choking potential, be delicious enough to hold their attention and be healthy(ish). So far we have had success with apples, rice crackers, carrots and hot cross buns. We have had category five carseat disasters with kiwiberries, strawberries and bananas, yoghurt and easter eggs.

Aside from all the valuable learning about what-not-to-do next time, we can all agree that this fam road trip (so far) has been a great fun adventure, spending days with no real plans except making memories as the top notch super fly quad that we are. We will end this road trip at Bluesfest, and in contrast to our rookie level skills in road tripping we have a few festivals under our belt – so our lack of preparation for that has me less concerned.