Tomorrow we embark on a 3500 mile round road trip with 4 DC - AIBU to say that I don't want to go now?

(49 Posts)
IMustBeLoopy Sun 28-Jul-13 09:04:44

It was a good idea in theory, now I can't face it! We can't afford a 'proper' holiday with planes and hotels so will be driving and staying at Europecamp, hostels and relatives.

5 weeks on the road with 4 DC aged from 3 (still potty training) to 16 (absolute nightmare). We are travelling through Europe from Calais to Greece stopping off at various destinations on the way. I had looked forward to us bonding as we cannot escape each other in the car! and seeing new scenery. Today I have the jitters about it. The sheer exhaustingness of being alert and on call constantly. The utter nightmare of packing (which I have not yet started).

We have done similar before btw (road trip across Canada/US with 3DC and a similar European trip last year with a then 2 year old hmm). Maybe that is what has put me off. It was haaarrrddd.

I have a headache just thinking about it.

Euphemia Sun 28-Jul-13 09:09:28

Sounds very ambitious! What were you thinking???!!!!

Do you have to go quite so far? Could you stand to lose whatever you've pad for Greece, and not go so far? Or for as long?

LadyBeagleEyes Sun 28-Jul-13 09:09:41

It sounds wonderful.envyYou can have lots of stops in beautiful places, the kids will sleep in the car some of the time and make sure they have plenty stuff to do like portable dvds and computer games.
I'd love a road trip like that.

HollyBerryBush Sun 28-Jul-13 09:09:45

How much is the petrol going to cost? Where are you sleeping?

My friend has done this every year since his 3 DC were very small and taken MIL along too, but he is the master of the cheap holiday and out of the way B&Bs - he uses youth hostels. He also precision plans, he can quite easily cover 4 european countries (usually France, Switzerland, Italy and 1 other) in the summer holidays and get change back from £2,500 for 6 people.

its not as if you are going to be driving for 14 hours a day for 6 weeks is it?

kim147 Sun 28-Jul-13 09:11:18

Are you going in a big red London bus grin

Sounds very exciting - and you could have loads of adventures.

eccentrica Sun 28-Jul-13 09:13:08

it will be great for whoever gets to sit in the front!

YANBU - you are totally barking bonkers! grin
Actually, try to stay positive, and make it an adventure. Your DCs will pick up on your vibes. and make sure that you have a portable dvd player in your car, with headphones so you don't have to listen to the Peppa Pig song incessantly. If it gets too awful, is there anyway that you can turn round?

scratchandsniff Sun 28-Jul-13 09:17:01

Hmmmm you're brave! It's all planned now though, so just go with the flow and try enjoy it. At least at 16 the older DC can help out with younger DC if he/she isn't a complete Kevin the teenager type. There will probably be times you feel like tearing your hair out, but there will also be lots of good times and lovely memories made. Enjoy!!

hadababygirl Sun 28-Jul-13 09:17:02

My parents used to do this, and it was bloody awful. Baking hot car, both of us throwing up, squabbling over what music to play and my dad nearly killed us on 3 occasions, one driving on the wrong side of the road, one time falling asleep at the wheel and driving into a ditch and once when a deer charged across the road.

Have you got a DVD player in the car or anything?

WaitingForMe Sun 28-Jul-13 09:20:31

We did trips like this a few times as a kid and it was great (my parents didn't tolerate squabbling). We got involved in looking at maps and loved it.

A friend just did it with a six month old! She had an amazing time.

I'm struggling with how this was a cheaper option! hmm

OhMerGerd Sun 28-Jul-13 09:23:14

It will be FANTASTIC! You lucky lucky people. Go enjoy. The DC will follow your mood and you will have an amazing time.

My parents used to do this in the 70's with us 4 DC and no aircon or fancy gadgets to keep us amused just eye spy and copious bottles orange squash plus 'bushies' loo breaks.

We've done it with our DC and now they're grown up they're trying to get their package tour everything planned and totally boring chums into the freedom of just booking the ferry and going.

It's a massive adventure. Tell yourself that, tell the DC that. Treat any unexpected challenges as part of the adventure and everyone will take in good spirit. Even the 16 to and especially the 3 yo.

Have amazing fun. Bon voyage!

thistlelicker Sun 28-Jul-13 09:28:21

You can't afford proper
I think you could have in comparison and had
Change! :-/

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 28-Jul-13 09:32:47

We have done something similar though only 3 weeks when DCs were 1, 3 & 5.

It was a huge adventure. DCs dont really remember it clearly but DH and I have some great memories.

OhTheConfusion Sun 28-Jul-13 09:43:52

We did something similar before DC3 came along... but we went by train! We had the best time and we will definitely do it again when DD2 no longer needs to be carried/pushchair! Pack light (you never NEED all that stuff) and enjoy... Happy Holidays!

ZillionChocolate Sun 28-Jul-13 09:48:13

It'll be great. Don't panic.
This is a lovely book about a long road trip with small people.

gallifrey Sun 28-Jul-13 09:54:37

We are going to Portugal in August to stay with my dm who lives there. The flights for the 4 of us on easyjet was £1500 so we are getting a ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo and then driving with 1 stop near Pamplona. I wasn't going to potty train my 2 yr old dd until we came back but she decided to start using the potty last week!

shock I am having trouble imagining doing that.

Sounds fantastic, sure you'll have a great time!

I too am struggling with how it's the cheaper option though tbh...

grumpyoldbat Sun 28-Jul-13 10:27:50

I don't understand how this is cheap either confused

DumSpiroSpero Sun 28-Jul-13 10:28:52

And there's me worrying about driving from Brighton to Cornwall with one nearly 9yo shock!

In theory I think your trip sounds like great fun - I presume you and your DH are fairly laid back to even consider it?

YABU. Since when has a 'proper' holiday had to include planes and hotels? You do understand that being able to go away for 5 weeks driving around Europe is out of most people's reach? Perhaps you should realise you're actually quite lucky instead of hard done by - the kids will take their cues from you and if you make an effort to enjoy it you're more likely to actually have a good time.

Meglet Sun 28-Jul-13 10:52:24

How cheap is cheap? confused you are very brave! it sounds like my idea of hell

Surely you could have a great week down in cornwall plus days out for that money. Or a couple of weeks camping in the south of france?

3littlefrogs Sun 28-Jul-13 10:52:49

My brother and his wife plus 3 dc are both teachers.

They go camping on the south coast (UK) for 6 weeks every summer, have done for the last 15 years, it costs very little and they always have a brilliant time and come back well rested and relaxed.

I think a road trip across Europe would be expensive and tiring. Could you reduce the distance and stay longer? Maybe just stay at a couple of places?

Camping in France and Spain is very cheap. You don't even have to find a camp site in France, you can camp anywhere. 2 of my DC have just cycled across France, camping in fields and buying provisions from the farmer!

My DH always overestimates how much it is possible to do with DC in tow. I would suggest you reduce things a bit, then you will be able to relax a bit more.

2old2beamum Sun 28-Jul-13 11:00:21

Did similar to galifrey with 3 DC's Down Syndrome 2, 5,and 8 it was brilliant. Send my love to Pamplona.
Like you youngest decided nappies no longer necessary great fun grin

IMustBeLoopy envyenvy Just enjoy the memories will be with you for ever!!

Angelfootprints Sun 28-Jul-13 11:05:49

Another one who doesnt understand how 5 weeks with all that petrol, food, accommodation, laundry bills, tourist attraction costs etc could be cheaper than a one week package?

ssd Sun 28-Jul-13 11:08:17

so how much is this costing op?

Iaintdunnuffink Sun 28-Jul-13 11:18:35

I can see why you are feeling daunted. Hope you have a good time, it sounds great smile if tiring.

We go for 3 to 4 weeks every year, staying in a mixture of accomodation.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 28-Jul-13 11:22:47

3500 isn't that bad when spread over five weeks. We do a round trip over three weeks of 1500 (and probably another 500 there) to the South of France and back (oh and that doesn't include the UK miles to the airport). You will have lots of breaks in lots of places - breathe and enjoy.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 28-Jul-13 11:23:03

UK miles to the port.

Iaintdunnuffink Sun 28-Jul-13 11:34:27

If you have a car the you may have access to a greater variety of accommodation to shop around. We've paid less than £200 for a week in a Eurocamp style place, with all the nice pools and facilities we wanted, in the school summer holidays. If we'd gone to one that was suitable for a fly drive the prices would have rocketed.

This year the costs of tolls, petrol, 24 hour ferry with one of the top cabins, nice hotels, cheap hotels, Eurocamp type place, family is less than £1500. That's not including food but we eat quite cheaply. Maybe we could get a weeks package holiday for less but for 3 weeks its very good value.

WilsonFrickett Sun 28-Jul-13 11:42:43

Is this a actually a stealth boast? Because a five week trip sounds like a proper holiday to me hmm

shaggyrogers Sun 28-Jul-13 12:35:50

a five week trip sounds like a proper holiday to me - sounds like a complete nightmare to me!

greenfolder Sun 28-Jul-13 12:48:32

One can only assume that if you did it last year, and have agreed to go this year you will enjoy it.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 28-Jul-13 12:50:52

When DD was 6 we had to travel from Barcelona to Paris by car in a single day - 11 hours in the car with 3 - 20 minute stops. As we had already come overland from Oman we had none of our usual long journey equipment apart from the Nintendo DS which she play with for all of about 30mins. Many many games of Eye spy and the Parsons Cat we survived and actually it has given me an appetite for these kind of adventures. Since then we have traveled to Amsterdam by train and in December DD and I are off on a train adventure to Paris, then on to Munich and finally Salzburg.
I am already planning a bigger adventure in a few years doing inter railling as I have never done it.
You will be stopping far more often than we did and I imagine shorter journeys each day - you will be fine.

squeakytoy Sun 28-Jul-13 12:53:14

I cant see how this is a cheaper option than a "proper holiday" either..

diddl Sun 28-Jul-13 13:04:41

Probably depends on how you've split it all up.

Otherwise it might not be fun/restful for the drivers or the passengers!

Don't see how it's a cheap holiday, though!

<Have a feeling I've been sucked into a stealth boast.>

Sounds fucking horrible! A potty training child in a car for hours on end? Everything will be covered in piss by end of day 3. What possessed you?

Solopower1 Sun 28-Jul-13 13:15:50

You are amazing! You'll be giving your kids some very precious memories, not to mention the bonding, the experiences, etc.

What OhMerGerd said. My mother used to bundle all four of us (from aged 2 - 10 for 6 years) into an old VW caravette and off we'd go, camping in France. Great memories.

But back to you. Try to commit to the adventure. Take the packing a step at a time (+ lists etc). Try to get kids involved in every stage (if not too exhausting). If it is, do it when they are in bed. Try to get 16-year-old on side (bribery?)

While on holiday do as much as poss to make it as easy as poss for YOU! Frequent breaks. Be flexible. Be realistic about when you can arrive at places.

But you've done it before and so have your kids, and they are a year older and easier. It will be fun!

Tell us about it when you get back. smile

BellaVita Sun 28-Jul-13 13:18:01

Am sure it will be fine rather you than me

EmmaBemma Sun 28-Jul-13 13:18:13

I'm torn between jealousy and concern! But really, I think you'll have a great time - though if you're anything like our family there will doubtless be at least one calamity, IMO it's not a proper holiday if there isn't.

BellaVita Sun 28-Jul-13 13:21:12

Although when I was five I went with my mum, DB (who was 2.5 then), grandparents and my uncle (who is only 18 months older than me) so six of us in a car (43 years ago) to Italy through France and Switzerland to see family and we toured around.

Cerisier Sun 28-Jul-13 13:21:28

What were you thinking? It sounds like madness.

LilacPeony Sun 28-Jul-13 13:25:39

We used to drive to Wales from London as kids. It felt like it took all day to get there and although we liked Wales when we got there, we hated the journey. I wouldn't mind it as an adult, but i found it incredibly tedious as a child, so your road trip wouldn't be my thing at all, especially with a potty training toddler.

VitoCorleone Sun 28-Jul-13 13:32:00

Dont think id like to do it with small kids.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 28-Jul-13 13:32:50

I've been thinking of driving to Croatia but it would cost a fortune in fuel!

Alertmind Sun 28-Jul-13 13:38:47

If you haven't starting packing yet and you're off tommorrow then, yes, I think you are unsuited to this type of trip! I would take drastic action get out of it - sounds nightmarish.

forevergreek Sun 28-Jul-13 13:55:55

We do this lots, it's great, but it's never the ' cheap option'. By the time you pay European road tax, insurance abroad, extra things for car as required in other countries, road tolls, petrol etc it really is cheaper to fly 95% time.

Recent flights of ours:
Venice - £95 each return
Barcelona - £70 each return
Paris - £105 each return
Rome - £85 return.

Say if you picked Barcelona. £70 x5 = £350 for flights. Then add self catering apartment and food say £1000 for week. That's less that £1500 for a holiday for 5, including sun/ city/ beach/ depending on preference.
It's impossible to drive and stay in Europe for 5 weeks on that budget.

A direct drive from London to Dubrovnik, croatia is approx 1300 miles. It cost us approx £450 one way in petrol on average car. So basic £1000 just in petrol alone.

forevergreek Sun 28-Jul-13 13:58:31

Oh and £150 a day is the min we can spend when travelling Europe on budget basic accomadation for 4 ( x2 toddlers who often bed share with us, so a lot more rooms needed for teens I assume), and food/ entertainment. ( remember you pretty much have to eat out as hotels have little in the way of kitchens if any)

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