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Hit the Road!

Bracha Deutsch

For most, the mere thought of having to pack their children into the car for more than an hour is daunting. Yet there are families who willingly choose to squeeze kids and luggage into the minivan and hit the road for nine hours at a time … all for a great family vacation. “A vacation?” you laugh, “That’s impossible!” But before you nix the idea, take a second look at the concept of a family road trip.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why take a road trip? Rabbi Menachem Deutsch, founder of the Atlanta Scholars Kollel and father of nine, has taken his family on countless road trips over the past twenty-five years, logging some 75,000 miles along the way. “There is no substitute for road trips,” Rabbi Deutsch explains with a smile, “since the main thing that children remember is the time spent together, not the particular activity. Road trips allow for more quality family time together than any other vacation.”

Of course, pulling off such a getaway with nine children is no easy feat, but Rabbi Deutsch stresses that it is well worth the effort. “The memories my children have from these trips are priceless. In fact, this past summer when they had the option to stay in one place for a few days, or drive another ten hours and have less vacation time, they chose to drive!”


Ode to the Road

Road trips offer families a great way to spend time together without breaking the bank. In addition to avoiding plane or train fare, families can also save money by not paying for expensive destinations. It’s easy to find cheap motels along the road, and there’s also low budget lodging available at campground cabins. Though families do have to bring their own linens, cabins offer a roof over their heads, electricity, mattresses, and fully functioning bathrooms and showers. The Spartan-style accommodations make good fodder for jokes and lasting memories.

In addition, road trips also offer more freedom and flexibility. There are no baggage limitations, and families can control their departure and arrival time, daily itinerary, and the number of stops along the way. It can also be tailored to accommodate varying ages of children. Families with a wide spectrum of ages can choose different activities for each day, keeping both teens and toddlers happy.

In Chumie Skaist’s case, these were the main reasons for the decision to drive from Dallas to New York with six children. “We needed to get to New York for a simchah, and we wanted to take the family on an adventure at the same time. With the cost and hassle of flying, it just made so much more sense to drive. In the end, the kids loved the trip, and can’t wait for the next family vacation in the car!”

The Skaists have gone on several such trips since, and this year they’re planning to drive to New York again, trying out a different route through Indiana. “My family in New York complains about driving to Toronto, and we just laugh!” Chumie shares, “Ten hours is like a leisure drive for us! We love the road and exploring new sights. Living out of town has really expanded our view of family time and saving money. In the past we tried flying, but renting a car at our destination adds to the tremendous expense. Not only do we save money driving places, we have lots of fun as a family!”


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