40 Noteworthy Tips about Family Road trips for Mothers

Here is my list (in no particular order) on how to prepare for family road trips for mothers. Do it more often and you will learn how to make the journey better.

Before the Road Trip

  1. Have a good night sleep the night before.                                                                          You need the energy for driving the next day.
  1. Prepare your smartphones and cameras.

Charge the batteries.  It is frustrating to see a low battery notification.

Save all your videos/photos on your computer and backup drive so that you can delete them on your phone/camera and clear up space for more photos to come.

Photo by Kendra Kamp

  1. Prepare and pack up non-perishable food in advance. Don’t forget water.        There is less stress when all you have to do the following morning is to put the bags in the vehicle. All the necessities are in.
  1. First aid kit is a must.                                                                                                                   You will feel helpless when there is no bandage around for your crying child who has a wound or a boo-boo.
  1. Tell at least one trustworthy person where you are going.

You don’t want to end up in front-page news: THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING FAMILY.

  1. Plan your itinerary if you don’t like spontaneity.

To maximize the travel, it is better to search it on Google Map the traveling time and how far from each other the destinations you want to go to. That way it prevents you from going back and forth, back and forth… No way the driver wants that.

Photo by rawpixel.com

  1. Remind your children that it is family bonding time – No playing of gadgets.

Smartphones are for taking photos and videos but that’s about it. The moment they will start playing app games, it’s over.  They will not even look at the beautiful scenery.

  1. Give the children the idea of the journey and destination.                                    You are preventing any anxiety of the unknown for children who are not used to going out of the routine.

Photo by Alexander Dummer

  1. Set rules.

Examples: Help with the packing and unpacking of the bags in the car.

Good behavior during the road trip = Reward when they go home

Let the children decide what the reward will be so that when they start to have tantrums, gently remind them of the reward waiting afterward.

If the idea of the reward comes from them, there is a huge possibility they will cooperate. Meet half-way. It is like collective bargaining agreement.

Rewards:     Free time, no chores for a day

Ask them what they want: more video game time? (not too much)

TV?

Relax in bed with a book?

  1. Read reviews to have ideas about the place you are going to.                             The ones I usually read are the TripAdvisor website and the official website of the destination. It is important to read feedbacks because sometimes the place is not family friendly.

Photo by Green Chameleon

  1. When you have extra time, list the places you are interested to visit.                It feels great when you FINALLY are going to a place you are curious about for so long.                                                                                                                                                  Did you enjoy the photos and videos posted by a friend on Facebook? Add it to your list especially if it is free and terrific for the family.
  1. If your children are a bit older, BRAINSTORM as a family the interesting places you prefer to explore.                                                                                                Focus on the free attractions first if the budget is tight.
  1. The couple must have open communication about the trip.                                   Who will drive in this part of the journey? Who is the navigator especially when the GPS doesn’t get a signal anymore? What time do we wake up?   Mum, you don’t want to argue with your partner during road trips so better discuss this beforehand.
  1. If you are new to road trips, start/plan with shorter ones first.                                 Gradually introduce the idea of a road trip. Start it with 30 minutes or 1 hour. When the family got used to it, plan for longer trips.
  1. Check everything before you leave.                                                                                          It is definitely annoying that at the back of your mind, you are asking yourself if you left the stove on.                                                                                                             Switch off the lights. Turn off appliances except for the fridge of course. Close the windows and lock the doors.

Photo by Matt Jones

16.  If you decide to go on a longer road trip, let a mechanic check your vehicle.

You do not want to end up stuck somewhere wondering what happened to your vehicle and worse, it is getting dark.

The Day of  the Road Trip

  1. Wake up early so that you can organize in the vehicle the already prepared food, first aid kit, clothes and other necessities.                                                         There is less stress and anxiety when you have enough time for preparation. The good news is if your children are older, there is more help aside from your husband.
  1. Pray for a safe journey.

A short prayer before leaving the house is a good start.

  1.   Remind yourself to cherish the MOMENT. Enjoy the journey.                            We are so caught up with the issues of the past and the unknown future that we forget  NOW.

When the mum is cheerful, the aura of the family follows.  Every family member is light-hearted and more communicative.

Photo by rawpixel.com

  1. Enjoy each other’s company.I have  1 teenager and 2 primary school children. They will not stay that way forever. They will grow up, my husband and I will grow old. AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, I am appreciating their presence.

  1. Take as many photos and videos as you can.

Don’t mind other people rolling their eyes when you take your selfies and family photos. These photos and videos are what you will treasure when the time comes you no longer are capable of having road trips.

  1. Don’t stress when you get lost along the way.

Sometimes, the place you discover is worth going back to again and again.

Photo by Leio McLaren

  1. Patience is a must whoever is driving the vehicle.

Getting lost, no entry, wrong way, GPS not working, the automobile in front of you is way too slow and other problems you need to put up with are all parts of the road trips.

Based on my experience, it is my husband who gets more stressed when I drive. *giggling*  He doesn’t have a choice anyway.

  1. Don’t stress when the itinerary is not followed completely.

Whatever destination you have reached, it’s the family’s enjoyment and the company that matters. Mum, don’t start a negative vibe.

  1. Remember the lessons learned during the road trip.

One lesson I realized was this:  It is better to bring swimwear even if it is not part of the plan. We had an unplanned stopover at Kingscliff Beach and sad to say we didn’t have the chance to swim.

  1. Charge the smartphone during the journey.

We used my smartphone for GPS and I was frustrated to see I only have 3% battery charge. I was not able to take photos of the beautiful scenery even if I had it in airplane mode. I really don’t like it when the phone goes off.

  1. It is essential that you play your favorite songs during the road trip.

  Create a playlist that will make you feel alert and alive while driving.

Photo by Mohammad Metri

  1. Rest and have a break when tired.

Accidents happen when the driver is sleepy. A strong caffeine kick while resting is a good idea. Moreover, when your husband is exhausted, volunteer to drive.

After the Road trip

  1. Let your children relax after the road trip.                                                                    Don’t forget the reward you agreed upon.
  1. If there are dirty clothes, wash them immediately.

Your washing machine will be your best friend.

  1. If you are busy, set a schedule within the week for saving your photos and videos on your computer, hard drive or online.

If you accidentally deleted your photos and videos on your phone, remembrance of your precious moment is gone.

Photo by rawpixel.com

  1. Make it a point there is food waiting at home to be reheated for dinner OR if you have extra money, buy food and have dinner elsewhere: park, beach or wherever you are comfortable.

Mum, the last thing you want to do after a road trip is cook dinner.

  1. Set your ME time after the road trip.

Take your well-being to the next level, What makes you relax?

  1. If couple time is your choice, have a mini-date with your partner.

Watch a movie, drink tea, coffee or wine or any other activities that will make you delight in each other’s company.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska

  1. Please do not discuss any issues that will make the family miserable.

End the day by focusing on good thoughts and funny events of the day.  Discuss any concerns the following day when everyone had rest and sleep.

  1. If you still have the energy, plan the next road trip to ignite the traveler in you.

Plan more if road trips make you blissful.

  1. Don’t forget your THANK YOUS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.

Pray THANK YOU LORD for the safe travel and wonderful day.

Say THANK YOU, CHILDREN, for showing your best behavior throughout the day.

Express your gratitude and appreciation to your husband and loving partner especially if he drove most of the journey.

Acknowledge the good driving skills of your partner and your teenager. Boost the confidence of your teenager especially if he/she is a learner driver.

Photo by Pro Church Media

  1. Sleep early than usual.

You need energy for the following day’s tasks and responsibilities. You don’t want to remember the road trip as the cause of your muscle aches and pains.

  1. Ponder the good, the bad and the never again of that particular road trip.

 Mistakes help improve the future family road trips.

  1. Congratulate yourself Mum for initiating an activity that will make the family closer than ever.

Mum, your children will tell stories to your grandchildren what they did when they were young. Isn’t it delightful to hear that YOU MADE TIME TO ENJOY LIFE WITH THEM?

In short, ROAD TRIPS ARE AWESOME.

  

Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art: An Eye-Opening Review 2013-2017

If you are going to Brisbane, Australia then I highly suggest you visit Gallery of Modern Art or GOMA for short. If you are an Art lover then you will certainly appreciate it.  I love GOMA and let me count my 10 reasons from the year 2013.

14 April 2013 Photos

children with an upside down elephant
Upside down elephant: The art that is a good prop for a photo shoot
children playing trains
Playing with trains inside an artistically designed room

10 Reasons why I love Gallery of Modern Art

You don’t know what to expect.

When we went to Gallery of Modern Art for the first time in 2013, we didn’t know what to expect. We saw it as a Brisbane tourist attraction in Google. We decided to visit it out of curiosity. Now we know why it is a part of a must visit in Brisbane. We have gone there for 4 years now and the art gallery never ceases to amaze me.

18 July 2014 photos

mother and son with bulls made out of tin cans
Recycled tin cans
father and son looking at an exhibit
Hey, look up!

The exhibits of the Gallery of Modern Art are visually appealing and often unique.

Our 2014 visit made us say “ What is that?!”  The problem with having a preschool child with you was we had to keep moving to see the next exhibit. Expect not to have enough time to read the information about the interesting displays when you have a youngster pulling you to the next item.

19 April 2015 photos

small boy with Aboriginal Art behind him
Aboriginal Art
Japanese Art
Japanese Art

A visit to the Gallery of Modern Art exposes you to different types of art across cultures.

I have seen excellent artworks of different cultures and among them is Aboriginal Art. I always make it a point to stop and appreciate the beauty of it.

The children had the opportunity to learn by getting involved with the exhibits.

Going inside a colorful room full of stickers was eye-catching. We all had our own stickers and started adding more all over the place. It was a delight to see and be a part of it! If there is a computer in the room, expect the child to sit and start clicking or tapping if it is a touch screen. It was learning by doing.

two boys inside a colorful room full of stickers
Colorful stickers all over the room. Start sticking!
boy creating a face on a touch screen
Technology is definitely a magnet for children.

12 January 2016 photos

Moreover, Gallery of Modern Art balances the child-friendly activities by teaching the youngsters the old ways and new ways of doing things.

Showing the designs of the patterns on paper
Showing the designs of the patterns on paper
The high-tech way of playing cars and writing at the same time
The high-tech way of playing cars and writing at the same time

 

16 April 2017 photos

Boosting children’s creativity is a guarantee because there were always available materials for them to use.

There is an option for the young ones not to go in front of a computer or touch screen. The good old pieces of paper, scissors, glue, pictures plus their wild imagination were enough to consume 30 minutes for them to create a distinctive artwork. That is also the parents’ time to sit down and relax before walking starts again!

father and son making masks
Mask making with daddy

Gallery of Modern Art is a free venue for family bonding time.

Every time we went to the city of Brisbane, we first dropped by GOMA to see the latest displays. The family got to marvel at unusual collections. We created artworks together that we could take home. Gallery of Modern Art is already a part of our treasured memories because through the years we all had a marvelous time in this place.

The art gallery became a playground for children and adults alike.

When we decided to look around at GOMA this year 2017, the museum was celebrating its 10th birthday. The collection was its best displays. We will not forget the almost two-story high slides because it was near the entrance of the gallery. The queue was long but the boys loved it and kept going back. Even adults had fun!

Two boys beside almost two story high slides
Weeeee!

We saw endangered birds.

We didn’t have to travel far or take a hike to see the endangered birds in Australia. Just be quiet and listen to them. It was bird watching in an air-conditioned room!

boy with birds behind him
Ssshhhhh… be quiet. Look at the birds!

Throughout the four years, the photos during our visit were always amazing!

The pictures were all Instagram worthy ones and admirable Facebook posts. However, flash photography is not allowed.

boy with a giant fluffy exhibit
It looked like a huge cotton candy. (2017)

 

boy with a giant skeleton behind him
Mum, take my photo with this!(2017)
mother and son with giant white horses behind them
HORSES! (2016)
two boys with the Lenin Peak background
Lenin Peak ( From Queensland to Kazakhstan album) 2013

The boys loved the automatic shots.After 10 seconds, the huge camera will take a photo again.

30 July 2017 photos

Gallery of Modern Art showed their popular exhibits this Year 2017 with their theme Marvel Cinematic Universe.

All the images and activities you saw through the years were all free. However, the last visit we had was not and we had to pay $60 for 2 adults and 3 children. The good news is, IT WAS WORTH IT!! ( screaming loud and I do not care!) My family and I are all Marvel movie fans.

If you are a MARVEL movie fan, then I highly suggest to you to go to Gallery of Modern Art as soon as you can because the exhibit will only be until 3rd of September 2017. We enjoyed it a lot!

The costumes of Captain America, Iron Man, the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Dr. Strange and other Marvel characters too many to mention were impressive. The captivating props were also there!

a boy with three Iron Man suits
Iron Man’s suits through the years

All the people in there were like small children thrilled to see everything. I was screaming inside with excitement when I spotted the familiar items like Thor’s hammer, Captain America’s shield, Iron Man’s suit etc.

three boys in front of the Asgard Throne Room
Asgard Throne Room

We were able to find the props used for the upcoming movie Thor Ragnarok this November 2017. We had our re-entry stamps on our wrists because I wanted to go back to stare at the displays some more. The boys wanted to play with the computers presenting trivia about all the Marvel characters like their origins and powers.

A woman having a fist bump with Hulk Buster
Fist bump with Hulk Buster

Even if you didn’t watch any Marvel Movie, you will still appreciate the objects on display because there were film clips from the movies showing how the props were used. As a result, most of the people took the time to watch the short videos because they showed the highlights of all the Marvel movies.

a boy with Ant Man costume behind him
Ant Man costume

Gallery of Modern Art will always be a part of our journey when we visit the city. It is a place where learning is fun!

A woman with Rocket and Groot behind her
Rocket and Groot

 

Share this article with someone who loves to travel or visit museums.

 

The advantages of choosing to be alone (for a while) in times of crisis

person walking alone in the woods

person alone at the beach

Family and friends are great especially in times of difficulties. On the other hand, there are times I choose to be alone.  Here are my thoughts about the advantages of choosing to be alone (for a while) during a crisis.

1. The silence is bliss.

When problems come like a tsunami, silence for me is a must. It can be sitting alone in the room, going for a walk in the park or sitting near the beach. The stillness calms my mind.

2. There is an option not to talk.

Concerned family and friends will come over especially when they truly feel what I am going through. Sometimes, when the issue is confusing, it is better to be quiet about it.. at first. Moreover, when the experience is too painful, words may come out which I will regret saying.

3. The internal dialogue starts kicking in.

Depending upon the dilemma, the mind will sometimes reveal the possible solutions. Well-meaning friends may offer advice but it is better when you can talk with them about your OWN ideas after being alone for a while. Depending solely on someone’s ideas may prevent the capability to think for oneself.

4. No one is judging you when you cry.

After telling everyone that I need personal space, there is the freedom to cry. There are tons of wet tissues on the bed due to bitter tears shed over a particular problem. I can win an Oscar award after the drama!

5. Praying is an activity suddenly remembered.

I am not a deeply religious person but in times of crisis, the words “Lord, Please help me.” suddenly comes out of my mouth. Then, the song of Don Moen “God will make a way” becomes a mantra.

praying hands with a cross tattoo
What am I to do?

6. It gives an opportunity to write.

Writing becomes a source of outlet for some people. It becomes free therapy because no one is judging what you are writing. All thoughts and feelings are poured out. No holds barred. Reading what you wrote gives a new perspective or even an idea in dealing with the issue.

7. Walking alone is exercise.

Some people are good problem solvers while walking. As long as they are not forgetting to stay safe, this is an advantage.

person walking alone in the woods
Huh? How did I end up here?

8. Enjoying one’s company can be explored in the privacy of one’s  room or house.

Hmmm.. it could be watching movies, funny videos on YouTube or even the episodes of a favourite show. Listening to music that perks me up or an inspirational  audio that uplifts my moods are good choices.

lady listening to music
I love rock and roll!

Singing, dancing, redecorating the bedroom,doing my manicure and pedicure, cooking and baking are also alternatives. Diverting one’s mind about the problem for a while lessens the stress.

9. It reconnects you with nature.

A lovely garden is sometimes made by someone who decided to enjoy his/her own company away from the noise of the crowd. Removing the weeds, watering the vegetables and planting a new set of flowers are activities that give peace to some. Sorry, I don’t have a green thumb but I have 4 potted plants now!

10. Visiting places not part of your routine can recharge the mind.

A road trip is another alternative for those people who love to drive. Admiring the architectural design of a building, observing the exhibits of a shop, snooping around the store you finally decided to see and appreciating natural wonders are activities that invigorate the mind because it was not part of the schedule.

lady in the shops
Hey.. what’s that?

 

However, these advantages are only good temporarily. No man is an island. Talking to someone trustworthy is still the best during a crisis.

 

 

 

 

Road trip is one of the solutions to life’s daily routine. Go and explore!

road trip

road trip

Road trip is the solution to life’ daily routine. Yes, this is definitely true on my part. For me, when the household tasks are becoming mind-numbing, I immediately tell my husband “Let us go out and have a road trip somewhere.”

My husband will immediately ask “Where are we going?” My answer is often “I don’t know. Let’s just go out.”

Being a mother is overwhelming. There are times I couldn’t think sensibly. When I overheard a conversation that her children are driving her crazy, I realized I am not alone! Thank God my boys are not driving me crazy, the chores do! Solution: Get out of the rut and do something different.

I am the kind of person who likes to travel. I enjoy going to places that I haven’t been before. I get excited even if I already have seen the place. The memories of the visit bring back a smile to my face. Every time I come back, I see something different. I see a new beauty to it.

picnic bench near huge trees

For example, these huge trees at Picnic Point were not even noticed before. When we had a stopover, I got mesmerized by their stillness. I like how dark green the leaves were. As if they are telling me, take a picture of us! Post us on Instagram! Of course, I did and with filters.

small boy near a huge tree

Moreover, nature is a sight to behold. I couldn’t get enough of it. It soothes my eyes. The cobwebs in my mind were blown away by the breeze. I know I am melodramatic right now.  The views made my chaotic mind go still and just went blank. It was meditation at its finest with a fantastic backdrop.

view from Picnic Point

I watched movies showing horrifying and funny road trips of families. That is just Hollywood. As a mother of 12, 10 and 6-year-old boys, this is a bonding time moment for us.

One mother told me that I have to enjoy their presence now while they are still around and need me. In the future, I could be one of the mums begging for their time and attention.  Wow, that escalated quickly. I was just talking about road trips.

Raising three boys is a huge responsibility. Going on a road trip is both a mini-vacation and a cheaper version of therapy for a mum whose household duties are unlimited.

This is my strategy to overcome the I-had-enough-of-this-feeling. Tell me the place you went to that relaxed your mind or brought you the Zen mode.