It's been about a week and I'm still pretty much in disbelief that we actually DROVE across the country with our kid. For the past few weeks before our move I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. I honestly thought it was going to be one of the worst experiences of my life. I felt like Wyatt would want out of his car seat constantly and that we'd deal with a (justifiably) screaming kid for 38 hours. That was not at all the case!
It took us 3 days to drive from Phoenix, Arizona to Glenside, Pennsylvania. We averaged around 12-15 hour days and we just pushed through until we reached PA. We stopped only to sleep, eat, and restrooms - that's it! I thought it would be kind of fun to compile a list of things that worked for us. For those finding themselves in preparation of a cross country road trip, maybe these suggestions will help (maybe not) …
1. Eating healthy is basically completely out of the question. I mean, I GUESS it's possible, but it's likely expensive and a bit time consuming. When you're driving and trying to make good time, fast food is where it's at. I did once order a salad from McDonald's but it sucked and I thought to myself NEVER AGAIN. Just embrace the crap food. It's a short time in your life and it makes the experience kind of fun. One of the days I had only chips. 0_0
2. Don't let yourself get low on gas. We made it a rule of thumb to get gas every time we hit about a quarter tank. There are some pretty remote parts of the country and sometimes no gas stations for miles and miles. Luckily it wasn't that often for us, but whenever we saw an exit for gas, we definitely hit it up. I'd also recommend getting snacks and peeing whenever you stop. Even if you're not hungry, having snacks on hand later is really helpful- especially with kids. Something we did find was that getting off the turnpike in Oklahoma resulted in paying tolls. Make sure you don't need to leave the pike for gas or anything else or it'll be the most expensive bathroom trip you've ever taken.
3. Speaking of tolls, obviously have a pretty big wad of cash. We had tolls from 5 dollars in Oklahoma and 30 dollars in Pennsylvania. They only take cash!
4. Don't really over plan for anything. Just kind of go for it. We would drive forever and ever and then finally stop to sleep. I did sort of schedule places to stop but two of those stops ended up being changed anyway. Don't be afraid to hit up friends and family on Facebook to house you. I sent out a request on Facebook to see if anyone would let us crash at their house. I shared a photo of the map and asked if anyone was along the way and I was stoked that people took us up on our request! We did end up shedding a day off our trip by powering through and getting a hotel late one night, but it was a cheap one and it was totally worth it.
5. Technology is your friend. If it wasn't for Pocket Minecraft on my iPhone, I'm pretty sure the trip would have been a huge bust. Wyatt probably played Minecraft 80 percent of the trip, and that was fine by me! Hopefully if you're traveling with kids they'll love zoning out on technology, because it is such an easy way to keep them entertained. Thank god for my iPhone, fa realz. We did also load up our laptop with movies and we have a portable charger for the car, but he didn't watch a single movie the entire trip (he's also borderline obsessed with Minecraft, so...). This is a huge reason why traveling with Wyatt for 3 days wasn't awful at all.
6. We choose to load up a storage unit and then just drive with a suitcase worth of clothes and whatever must have essentials while we wait for the unit to deliver in PA. In fact, the storage unit will deliver this Monday (the 13th) and was picked up 2 weeks ago. We've been without our stuff for only 2 weeks. So if living off of a weeks clothes and borrowing a washer and dryer in the meantime is appealing to you, I'd strongly recommend it. This was way cheaper than driving a moving truck and paying the gas in our car AND the moving truck. We used Door To Door after researching a bunch of moving storage units and thought they were the best deal for us (I am not affiliated with them in anyway, just to let you know).
7. The less the better! Downsize your shiz and start anew, it's liberating!
8. Look out the window! The United States is beautiful!