Road trips

Five lessons from my first road trip as a single parent with three teenagers

Mandy McCracken with her three teenage daughters in the car, on a interstate road trip as a solo parent.

When my husband booked a trip to the United States to bury his grandmother, I decided to plan a mother-daughter vacation at the same time, to keep my FOMO in check.

Like everyone else, we had had two and a half grueling years in and out of home schooling.

And although we managed a very brief escape between Victorian closings, another three weeks of school holidays stuck in the house would be enough to spark a house mutiny.

Yes, I was a bit terrified of traveling without my husband, so I wasn’t aiming for anything too difficult.

After 1,380 kilometres, four huge bags of lollipops and three tanks of gas, here’s what I learned.

Lesson 1: Decide on a destination and stick to it

My eldest, 17, has been asking for years to go to the Great Barrier Reef. But as this was my first vacation as a single parent, in addition to my recent disability, snorkeling would be a real challenge.

I was hoping for something a little easier and closer to home, just in case everything fell apart.

So, after long and grueling negotiations, my three teenage daughters reluctantly packed up the car and we (really it was me) decided to head north to Canberra.

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