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The Minivan Diaries: Are We There Yet?


The Minivan Diaries. It’s the crazy stuff that happens on the road with your kids that makes for a great story once you’re looking at it in life’s “rearview mirror.” We asked some of our employees to share their stories and offer some tips for surviving trips in the family truckster.

Our Employees and Their Road Trip Crew:
Meet our GasBuddy employees and their little navigators.

  • Jeff M., Data Scientist: 1 kid – 7 months
  • Mike, Marketing: 2 kids – 12 and 12
  • Jeff P., Development: 2 kids – 5 and 2
  • Julie, Marketing: 2 kids – 9 and 7
  • Sal, Ad Operations: 4 kids – 12, 8, 6 and 1.5
  • Mark, Strategic Initiatives: 2 kids – 3 and 1

    Longest Trip:

    These guys went the longest distance. If you’ve ever traveled with young kids over a long distance, you know that it can be a real test of patience!

  • Mike (12 and 12) – 5 hours

  • Sal (12, 8, 6 and 1.5) – 5 days traveling 3,000 miles (Sal for the win!)
  • Mark (3 and 1) – 5 hours

    Favorite Snack:

    A parent’s go-to when the natives are restless. We see a pattern here. I guess no one likes to find melted M&Ms between the seats.

  • Jeff M. (7 months) – A pacifier
  • Jeff P. (5 and 2) – Dry snacks…nothing that can spill!
  • Sal (12, 8, 6, and 1.5) – Nacho Cheese Doritos, Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips, Welch’s Fruit Snacks
  • Mark (3 and 1) – Fruit bars
  • Mike (12 and 12) – Jerky and grapes…whatever will cut down on crumbs.
  • Julie (9 and 7) – Apples and Fruit By the Foot. Definitely not milk…just in case it gets left in the car overnight.

    Ever Resort to a Snooze Cruise?

    Snooze Cruise. When you deliberately get in the car for the sole reason of getting your kid to nap because they so desperately need sleep! And you need a break.

  • Mark (3 and 1) – No. (You’re making us all look bad, Mark!)
  • Julie (9 and 7) – For any two-plus hour trips, we timed most of our travel around nap time. It’s smooth sailing from there.
  • Jeff M. (7 months) – Yes. And my wife and I are completely silent so he stays asleep.
  • Mike (12 and 12) – Yes. C’mon. I had twins!
  • Jeff P. (5 and 2) – Only once. After sleep training, my kids almost never fall asleep in the car so it has made long drives difficult.
  • Sal (12, 8, 6 and 1.5) – Yes! With each kid!

  • Funniest Thing You Heard in the Car:

    “Are we there yet?” is the most common phrase overheard from the driver’s seat but here are some comical things our Little GasBuddies have said.

  • Mike (12 and 12) – My son on the phone with a girl who clearly had a crush on him.
  • Sal (12, 8, 6 and 1.5) – Kids arguing who can eat the most candy in one sitting. (That’s a recipe for disaster!)
  • Jeff P. (5 and 2) – “Hey Dad, I think the moon is following us!”
  • Julie (9 and 7) – “My ears are getting tired of talking.”
  • Mark (3 and 1) – “Daddy! I think you went the wrong way!” In fact, I had. A three-year-old knew better than me!
  • Jeff M. (7 months) – Babbling. Lots and lots of babbling.

    Craziest Thing That Happened in the Car?

    What happens in the car doesn’t always stay in the car.
    Julie (9 and 7) – When our youngest was a baby, she was being so quiet and we thought she was sleeping. We later learned that she was writing on herself with markers! Ugh.

    Any Advice for Parents Traveling with Kids?

    Many of our GasBuddies have kids or grandkids. Here’s some advice for those hitting the road with wee ones.

  • Sal (12, 8, 6 and 1.5) – Highly recommend a cooler with ice, snacks and drinks, some DVDs (if you have Rear Entertainment system), a few rolls of paper towels, brown paper bags (you never know who might be car sick!) and coloring books!
  • Mark (3 and 1) – Backseat entertainment is a worthwhile investment when buying a car and it must have Bluetooth headphone so you don’t have to listen to five hours of Curious George or Caillou.
  • Mike (12 and 12) – Spend the first hour and the last 20 minutes chatting as a family.
  • Jeff P. (5 and 2) – Whoever invented the concept of the in-car DVD player or iPad holder is a miracle worker. It has made the whole process of driving kids long distances so much easier.
  • Julie (9 and 7) – We have a few travel games we keep on hand like Bingo, Bop-It and we also try and kick it old school with I Spy and The License Plate Game.

    Many of you have great stories and tips for other users! Feel free to share your traveling-with-kids story and advice for those with pint-sized passengers!

  • My goal is to make the lives of our GasBuddies easier with tips, information and advice related to traveling and saving money. I spend many hours driving around in my Toyota 4Runner with my two young kids and big yellow dog. I write for GasBuddy but I carry these other titles as well: wife, mom, marketing maniac, dog owner, commuter, carpool driver, soccer and basketball coach, family CFO, chef, runner, yogi, skier, lover of books, sports fan, semi-retired golfer, knitting beginner, want-to-be painter and vacation planner. Thanks for letting me help you perfect your pit stop!

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