The 8 emotional stages of going on a road trip with kids.

Thanks to our brand partner, LDV

Sound familiar?

A few years ago, my husband and I had the brilliant idea of doing a 4,000km road trip with our three children. Yes, that’s right, for some inexplicable reasons, we thought that it would be fun to spend 48 consecutive hours in the car with not only our children, but each other.

These are the same children who can’t drive the 15 minutes to school without having a fight about who gets to look out the car window.

From the moment we planned the trip until the minute we stepped out of the car and kissed the sweet, sweet ground of home, we went through a range of emotions.

And I’m sure anyone who’s ever been in the same boat will relate.

1. Excitement.

Once we decided to do the trip, there was a great deal of excitement around. The kids were excited to be going back to the Gold Coast and seeing their grandparents again and we were excited to be going away, anywhere.

We considered flying but we really thought that the drive, if we stopped overnight half way there, wouldn’t be too taxing. And it was fine on the way there. On the way back we were a little more tired but in all, the excitement emotion made an appearance at all different times during the road trip.

2. Trepidation.

This was probably just my emotion. I was the only one who was worried about a car breakdown or hitting a kangaroo or running out of petrol on one of those never-ending roads. It was of course, unfounded.

3. Panic.

This emotion kicked in a couple of times during the trip. Firstly in the form of “have we forgotten all of the boy’s clothes?” about an hour in. Then when we are dangerously close to running out of petrol with the GPS telling us that we had 16km until our next petrol station and 15km left in petrol. We made it – but I didn’t let it get below half on the needle for the rest of the trip.

4. Disgust.

At my children and my husband. Bodily functions are natural and sure, bound to happen when in confined spaces for long periods of time – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t absolutely DISGUSTING. I’m not sure what those guys had eaten but let’s just say, you wouldn’t have wanted to light a match in there.


5. Boredom.

At one stage of the journey, there was nothing but bush outside the window for a whole six hours. Barely a farmhouse came into view. By this stage, the portable DVD player had broken, the iPod was out of battery and there were only so many games of ‘I Spy’ we could play before we wanted to maim one another. This is why I invented the ‘go to the sleep’ game.

6. Happiness.

The biggest reward of course, was arriving at our destination. After two days, countless toilet stops and meal breaks, we arrived at Grandma’s house and she was waiting on the curb to greet us. It had been two years since we’d all seen each other and the joy on the face of each others should have been bottled.

7. Sadness.

As we bid farewell to our families and friends after two weeks, we felt a lot of sadness. We were upset that we were leaving them and also a little sad that we had a whole 48 hours to do nothing but look out a window and lament on the time we had all just spent together.

8. Joy.

Finally though, we arrived home, stepped out of the car, and were relieved to be free, but also still very happy.

While there was a definite consensus that we were glad to be home, we were all in agreeance that it was one of the best holidays we’d ever had. Sure, it was a long time to spend in each other’s company but there is something beautiful about finding joy in weird radio stations and singing without fear of being ridiculed.

Would I do it again? Yes. In a heartbeat.

How was your latest family road trip? Which emotions did you tick off?

Here are some of the family holiday-themed movies around (go for movie marathon gold):

Want more? Try these:

“We took our kids out of school for a year-long ‘holiday’.”

The 7 truths about going on holiday with your children.