Thank you Drive Shop for giving me the opportunity to drive the Volvo XC90 for a week.
For the past five years, we’ve taken a winter trip to the Poconos area with two other families. There are a total of six boys under one roof for four days. You can imagine how loud it is, ha!
Traveling with other families is as much for the adults as it is for the kids. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot and how to make it work for everyone.
Tips for Traveling with Other Families
1 – Find families you like
I know this sounds like the most obvious thing to do, but you’d be surprised. Don’t jump the gun. Find families you have a good time with and ones where your kids actually get along and enjoy being together. You want to make sure you have somewhat of the same schedules. If one family let’s their kids stay up to midnight, while the other family wants their kids in bed by eight, it might not work. You don’t have to be aligned in every aspect, but for the most part you need to be on the same page, otherwise it can be a miserable experience.
2 – Agree on the best lodging options
For us, we love staying in a house on the mountain. With six active boys, renting a townhouse or condo would only annoy our neighbors. We like having our own private space.
It took us a few years to figure out the best option. We realized renting a house right on the mountain made it so much easier. Do some research and weight your options before selecting a place to stay.
3 – Everyone needs their own space
The house we rent is perfect. It has three levels, each with two bedrooms and a bathroom. This is perfect because every family can have their own space and privacy.
4 – Divide the shopping list
Over the years, we have WAY overbought food, snacks and drinks. Literally it was a sea of food and we had so much left over. Now we create a google doc and keep a running list of items we need. Each family will mark what they are bringing to cut down on overbuying. We also have each family in charge of planning one dinner meal, and this works out nicely.
A few dinner options that have been very successful with the kids:
- Fajita night
- Make your own pizza (kids LOVED this)
- Seafood buffet (salmon, crab cakes, shrimp, stuffed mushrooms)
- Italian night; pasta, garlic bread and salad
- Sausage and peppers
5 – Plan some activities but don’t over plan
We found that it’s a good idea to plan a few outside activities but also be open to changes. With a lot of people in the mix, you have to be flexible. This year we went snowboarding/skiing the one day but then on the second day it was sixty degrees! We had to forgo hitting the mountain that day and instead found a local state park and went hiking. It actually turned out to be such a fun time for everyone and something different to do.
6 – Coordinate games and movies
Key is having enough options to keep the kids busy for a few days. We did bring two gaming systems (kids love their video games) but also bought board games and movies.
Here’s the thing….if you don’t coordinate who’s bringing what, you’ll end up bringing WAY too much – trust me. Even with dividing everything up, our trunk in the Volvo XC90 was still packed.
7 – Have some down time
This year our boys told us they wanted a day to “chill out” so that’s what we did. You know what? It was pretty fabulous. They were occupied all day and the adults had some time to hang out and play games. It was a much needed break that everyone enjoyed.
On our last trip, we had the chance to take the Volvo XC90 on the road with us and it was a real treat! We folded up the third row, so we had more trunk space for our luggage. The boys still had a lot of room in the second row and in between them they kept their reading books, activity books, and travel games.
I loved that the Volvo XC90 is a luxury vehicle and my hubby loved that it had a sports car feel. He did most of the driving but I did get a turn to take it for a spin.
When taking a long road trip, you want to make sure your vehicle will help keep your family protected on the road. My husband likes using cruise control, so his favorite feature in the Volvo XC90 was the Adaptive Cruise Control. It helped us automatically maintain our set speed while keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of us.
Before heading out on the road, make sure you check over your vehicle and schedule any necessary service to ensure your car is in top shape to keep everyone safe.
Keeping kids busy on the road
One of the challenges is keeping kids entertained on road trips. We let our boys have some screen time, but we do limit this, otherwise they’d be zombies. We make them bring along other activities to keep them busy and to help prevent us from going crazy listening to them fight.
Here are 20+ ways to enjoy your next family road trip along with activities to keep the family entertained on the road.
Thanks again to Volvo for allowing us to test drive the Volvo XC90 for a week!