15 Signs Family Road Trips Are Nothing Like the 'Good Old Days'

Remember When 56

Road trippingIt seems like now is the time when everyone is planning their big family road trip for 2013, my little family included. My husband and I have been debating whether we'll make a big drive with our daughter, not to mention where and when, and I have to admit I've been feeling nostalgic for the trips of my childhood. Nothing we've talked about even faintly resembles the way we road tripped when we were kids. And I know from road tripping!

Back in the early '90s, we'd take the family minivan (not-so-affectionately called the Dustbuster because of its portable-vacuum shape) to Cape Cod every summer. I'd keep the travel log, while my little brother kept me thisclose to tearing my hair out.

Giving you misty water-colored memories, isn't it? Let's take a road trip down memory lane, shall we?

1. Then: Our parents would end up hopelessly lost because they let us kids read the map.

  • Now: Who needs a map when you have GPS?

2. Then: License plate Bingo for the whole family.

  • Now: Mom, can I play another game on your phone?

3. Then: Everyone listened to the same tape in the tape deck -- whether you liked Dad's taste in music or not.

  • Now: Thank goodness all the kids have iPods.

4. Then: Moooooom, she's touching me!

  • Now: Mooooom, she won't share the DS!

5. Then: Taking a nap in the back of the station wagon and watching out the back window.

  • Now: You're not getting out of that booster seat until you're 12, young man!

6. Then: Can you smell the sea air through the windows yet, kid?

  • Now: Ah, air-conditioning, blissful air-conditioning.

7. Then: Lugging the big container of iced tea Mom mixed up the night before to save money. 

  • Now: Juice boxes for everyone! 

8. Then: Are we there yet?

  • Now: Is there enough time to finish watching Brave before we get there?

9. Then: Pee now kids, because you won't get the chance for another five hours!

  • Now: Oh look, another rest stop; we might as well go!

10. Then: Hiding Grandpa's radar detector under the dash.

  • Now: What do you mean this highway is actually 55?

11. Then: Consulting a travel agent and making hotel reservations for every stop along the way.

  • Now: Using your smartphone to find a good place to stay when you're tired of driving. Hey look, kids, I can even look up the closest playground right on my phone!

12. Then: Writing postcards to your friends back home

Now: Stop texting your friends! We're on a family vacation!

13. Then: Mom's fanny pack.

  • Now: Granny's fanny pack.

14. Then: Lining up your troll dolls in the rear window.

  • Now: Pulling the straightest line to hurl a bird at the pigs' fortress.

15. Then: Having to find a new radio station every hour or so when you drove out of range.

  • Now: The kids' station on satellite radio is a lifesaver.

What are you favorite road trip memories? Do any of them hold true for your trips with the family today?


Image by Jeanne Sager

family, summer break, kid activities


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Lydlou02 Lydlou02

And yet, even with all the differences, road trips are still awesome!

kellynh kellynh

Lol, you forgot about the shouting when Dad made a wrong turn.... And refused to ask for directions...

mande... manderspanders

I dunno, sounds to me like your kids have access to wwwaaayyy tooo much technology.  I won't ever own a vehicle that has the backseat DVD; and I'd never give my child my phone to play with. 

Road trips are fun, and lots of nostalgia is lost... but really, alot of the things you posted about "now" are the result of parents using technology to pacify/babysit their children instead of teaching their children to be resourceful.  When I was a kid, I had a walkman with tapes that I had recorded from the radio; I had a basket with some barbies and maybe a book with word puzzles; I had a big jug of water to tote around too...  I really don't see why it necessarily HAS to be different for my child (obviously, the walkman would be an mp3 player... but otherwise).  I was expected to behave no matter what, or we were going to turn around and go home - I believed it then, and I still do believe my dad would have.

Things are only vastly different if you let them be.

the4m... the4mutts

I agree with manderspanders. (Love your s/n btw)

Our road trips sound nothing like the "now" trips described here.

I never had roadtrips as a kid, at least none i can remember, but my our "now" roadtrips sound exactly like manders "then" trips :)

Bmat Bmat

I guess my favorite road trip memories are the games we used to play-  count the TV antennas,  count the different license plates. 20 questions.

godde... goddess99

When I was 15 we drove from MI to FL with my little brother in the backseat with me. I would have rather taken my chances at home alone for 2 weeks. We just don't do long family road trips. I'm too cranky, someone will die lol.

bills... billsfan1104

Hahjhahjhahahahahh. I loved this.

Sandra Ann

We have banned electronics from the car for the most part (No, you don't need the DS to run to the grocery store) and we are big campers and there are absolutly NO electronics allowed on camping trips... this includes iPods, DS, cell phones, kindles, etc.. Go build a fort, play in the brook, climb a tree, make mud pies, read a real book, write a letter, color, draw, etc!!!! So what if its raining, go play in it!!!! But we do take some sort of entertainment along if there is only one or two of our 6 children traveliing and we are going long (4+ hours) distance. But we always seem to resort back to the "Punch Buggy w/ no punching allowed," "iSpy" or "Count the Big Rig" games!!! :)

MamaB... MamaBear2cubs

We haven't taken to many roadtrips.

Miche... MichelleK41

I miss the days of packing up going to the beach or the mountains. It was always a fun time. =)

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