The Overnight Dilemma

I’m sure, before too long, y’all will be a little tired of hearing about travel anxiety with the Monster.

We’re planning another outing that will involve an overnight stay, this time to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA.  For a lot of families, I’m sure this wouldn’t engender the terror that we have with such trips, but… it’s there, and it’s from history.

Basically – the Monster, of late, has not wanted to really sleep on time at hotels when we travel.  Our last two trips to visit my folks were disrupted by his deciding not to sleep much of the night if at all, and then our trip to Sesame Place was affected by his being bouncy and “active” at the hotel until 11 or so at night, which had him lethargic at 8 AM when it was time to get up.

Now, our trip to Williamsburg is overnight for a few reasons.  First… it’s a long car ride from here to there – I can’t imagine driving down with the children, doing the park, and driving back in a single day.  We’ve done it sans kids, but it’s just not much fun and less so with two overtired children in the back seat.

Second, we’re going to leverage our season passes to Sesame and get in part of a day at Water Country USA as well, since we’ve actually never been there and the Monster likes basic pool-time and splashing well enough.

…And finally, I want to catch a Norfolk Tides ballgame while we’re down there.  I’ve always wanted to hit all of the Orioles’ farm teams in a single summer, and this looks like the summer we’re going to try to do it.

The ballgame is Saturday night, so we’ll be sleeping in Norfolk before heading back to Williamsburg (about an hour’s drive) for Busch Gardens, and we’re hoping that it basically will work like any hour-long drive – the kids will be content to relax for the hour, and we can set them loose when we get there.

On the other hand, the wife suggested seeing if friends of ours, who live in Richmond, wouldn’t mind letting us crash with them on Friday night, and thereby let us head down earlier.

I’m… loathe to do that.  Not because I really have anything against staying with any of our friends, or that I feel it’s an imposition (which it is), but because I just know my child.  The Monster, more often than not when we’re in a hotel room, gets into everything as any child his age is wont to do.  He also isn’t necessarily inclined to react appropriately to the instruction to stay in bed… and I have this image of him wandering any house we’d be staying in, at all hours of the night.  As it is now, I don’t know how much of his staying in his room and bed is because he likes his bed, or because he knows we have a gate in front of his door.

So that basically leaves us with the state of affairs where we are – staying in hotel rooms when we’re traveling, which doesn’t do much for my wife’s sense of frugality, or our sanity when we get a non-suite room and are trying to get the children to sleep as soon as possible, a point she brought up this morning while we were doing some of the final planning for the trip.

Which is funny, if you really want to be honest, because that was also one of my objections to the hypothetical trip to Florida.  I couldn’t imagine eight or nine nights wrestling with that being a fun thing, as we moved from city to city.  In the end, though, we’ll obviously find some way around the problem, sooner rather than later, else we’re not going anywhere… and what’s the fun in that?

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