While everyone else spent the first few days of the New Year making goals, working out, picking their “word of the year” and generally preparing to crush 2017… My family was making the 17 hour road trip back from West Virginia to Texas.

Yes, I said 17 hours in the car with my husband and two kids.

Honestly, family road trips are not bad now that my kids are older. Since my family lives in West Virginia and my husband’s family lives in Louisiana, we take road trips to visit them a couple of times a year. This year we left the day after Christmas and spent two days driving to West Virginia. After several days visiting family, we woke up early New Year’s Day to start the long drive back home.

Because of our frequent road trips, the kids have adapted to being in the car for long periods of time and my husband and I have learned how to make the trip easier for everyone! From packing one overnight bag, to making sure the driver has some “good coffee,” here are the lessons learned from our 17 hour family road trip.

Lessons Learned from Our 17 Hour Family Road Trip

  1. Our family would not survive driving 17 hours straight, so we split the trip up both ways and spent a night in a hotel. On the way to WV, we spent the night in Memphis at the newly opened Guest House at Graceland (full review here).  On the way back, we drove all the way to Little Rock, AR before stopping to spend the night.
  2. I packed one overnight bag for the entire family for hotel stays during the road trip.  This is a lesson learned from several years ago, when we had to unpack the entire car and get a luggage cart for ALL our luggage at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville for a one night stay. Now I pack one bag filled with toiletries, pajamas, and clean clothes for the next travel day.
  3. Lularoe leggings are HANDS DOWN the most comfortable thing to wear in the car when you are traveling. Both Sophia and I have several pairs, so we each wore them during the trip.
  4. The start of each driving day began with the search for good coffee. I opened my YELP app, filtered on Open Now and looked for local coffee shops rated 4+ stars. If a local coffee shop was not an option, I searched for the nearest Starbucks.
  5. Each child was responsible for packing their own backpack of toys for the car ride. When they got tired of listening to music or watching movies on their iPads, they had toys to play with instead.
  6. We packed each kid their own set of headphones for the car, along with a back up set of head phones in case the first set broke. (Yes, both sets broke but we were able to fix them without resorting to the back up headphones).
  7. Stopping for lunch and sitting down at a restaurant may add an hour to the trip but it is worth it. It gives everyone a chance to move around, get their wiggles out, eat a hot meal (instead of another ziplock bag of goldfish crackers) and it almost guarantees the kids will take a nap afterwards.
  8. Pillow pets are a necessity! Not only are they great for playtime but the kids can sleep on them in the car. Tallen let me “borrow” his Stitch pillow pet several times so I could nap too.
  9. Because we were driving across 5 states, we spent about 47% of our time trying to find a decent radio station. Listening to 5 second snippets of a song as you SCAN through 30 radio stations gets old. Fun fact, when you tell someone you don’t like their song choice they might take it personal and get a little irritated.
  10. Speaking of music, apparently when I snap along to the music on the radio, it is not only annoying to others but my snaps are also Ear-Piercing! (Who knew my super power was super-sonic snapping!??)
  11. When the kids got bored/grumpy/irritable, we put on the SING soundtrack and had a family sing-a-long! Seriously, this soundtrack saved us during the last hour on the last day of our trip when we were ALMOST home but the kids were OVER being in the car.
  12. Before the trip, I loved the song 24K Magic by Bruno Mars. However after hearing it 27 times over the last week, I am over it. 24K Magic, you are dead to me.
  13. No matter how much we enjoy family vacations and road trips, nothing feels better than coming home and sleeping in my own bed!

Later this week I will share a complete review of The Guest House at Graceland, then next week I will be back to talk about my word of the year and what to expect when you start eating healthier.


  1. i like road trips with families as long as im not the only one driving. i really liked the idea of a separate bag for the night. happy new year friend and im looking forward to seeing you for a coffee/drink date hopefully soon!

    • Yes, the separate bag for overnights has really helped. Congrats on your graduation, very proud of your accomplishment! Would love to meet up for coffee soon, I will text you.

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