When the Pratt family decided to attend a Massachusetts college open house, their plan was to drive straight through from their home state of Wisconsin – a 26-hour drive – then head straight home. The idea was to minimize spending on hotels and food.
Departing at noon on Friday, they arrived in Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon. After a quick side trip to New Hampshire and Vermont, they spent the night and attended the open house on Sunday. Immediately afterward, they hopped in the car and headed back, arriving home Monday night, rather exhausted. "The trip back took longer because we made a 1 a.m. stop at Niagara Falls – and a quick trip into Canada so we could say we were there,” says mom Natalie Pratt. “Since it was the middle of the night, we parked in a no-parking zone, left the car running, ran over to the Falls, looked over, ran back to the car, and left. When all was said and done, we went to nine states and a foreign country in one weekend just so our daughter could see this school."
Parent to Parent: Natalie's Advice
- If you take a midnight trip into Canada on a whim, bring passports for your children or you'll have a hard time getting them back across the border, especially when your sleepy son hesitates on his birth date.
- Don't do an early spring trip on a rushed schedule because when you run into a snow storm, everyone gets stressed out.
- Don't call your parents from Canada at 1 a.m. and say, "Guess where we are??" unless you are prepared for their response.
- Don't let your child with a new driver’s license attempt a round-about in a state that’s unfamiliar to all of you.
Natalie says the trip was worth the effort, even though their daughter decided to attend the University of Wisconsin in their hometown of Oshkosh. She'll start college in February of 2010.