Penguino for the Win: A Thanksgiving Travel Miracle

What happens when a family of 5 takes a 22-hour road trip for Thanksgiving? Find out when Staci, a hilarious mom of three from Austin, Texas, tells us what really happens on the way there. 

Staci: I had high hopes for our Penguino Travel Boxes, but they exceeded my expectations by literal miles!

When we decided to make the 11-hour trek from Austin to New Mexico all in one day, I prepared myself for the certain misery that would ensue – we’ve done it before and I know the drill.

Here’s how our trips usually go.

Step One

My husband, I and our three mostly-delightful children with their little angel faces head out of the driveway optimistic, excited to reach the mountains, full of warm familial feelings and total amnesia about the last time we made this trip. I resign myself to the fact that these sweet babies will watch more movies in this one day than our oldest was allowed to watch in his first 7 years of life – because he was first and we had all the energy and ideas – but it will be okay because we are together and later there will be hiking which counteracts screen time.

Step Two

It is seventeen minutes later. We are approximately 3 miles down I-35 and we are technically still in Austin. And then Someone’s head-phones malfunction. This malfunction could be real or imagined, but Someone is panicking so I unstrap and crawl toward the backseat to fix the horrible awful problem. I know this is illegal and dangerous. But THE HEADPHONES AREN’T WORKING, so what choice do I have? Someone is happy again. I am a little nauseated from hurling down the highway backwards at 80, I mean 70, miles per hour.

Step Three

It is now 34 minutes since we left home. Someone Else dropped his snacks and he is so hungry he will probably pass out soon and can he please please please unstrap and get his snacks? So I unstrap and crawl toward the back seat to retrieve Someone Else’s snacks. I know, illegal, yadda yadda yadda. But THE SNACKS WERE UNREACHABLE, so what choice do I have? Someone Else is happy again. I need air on my face stat.

Step Four

We left home 1 hour and 7 minutes ago, and we are finally out of the urban sprawl. The endless loop of Chili’s and Starbucks has given way to the open road in front of us. There are still 30 minutes left on movie #1 and we are sitting pretty! I make the rookie mistake of cracking open my book. The rustle of the pages immediately alerts The Good Traveler to the fact that she is bored. This movie is not at all interesting and can she please watch something else on my phone until the boys are finished with this inferior film she has invested 67 minutes of her life into? I’m really hoping to get a little more distance before we pull out the “alternative viewing device” card, but she used nice manners so I unstrap and crawl toward the back seat to give The Good Traveler my phone.

Steps Five through 84 are generally some variation on Steps 1-4, interspersed with potty breaks, minor scuffles over what movie #5 will be, and if Someone’s drink is in Someone Else’s cupholder. At some point, Husband and I discuss how much it would cost to install one of those privacy screens that separate the front and back seats like they have in limos. We think we should probably go ahead and do it before the next road trip.

We arrive in New Mexico after dark. Our three little angel faces are now zombies all hopped up on Disney and road snacks. They’re exhausted from travel but wired from a day of little movement of body or mind. The Good Traveler fell asleep for half an hour so she’s probably up until tomorrow. Someone has lost his mind on the road trip and actually wants to finish the movie he is watching before exiting the car. Someone Else cannot make words anymore. I don’t blame him.

This trip was different!

We purchased Penguino Travel Boxes for each of our kids – and we did not turn on the DVD player until hour 9!!! Penguino for the win! For nine hours, my little angel faces stayed engaged and delightful and entertained. It was a Thanksgiving miracle!

They wanted to bring their boxes inside and they played with the contents during our stay in New Mexico. They used them on the way home. We decided NOT to install the limo privacy screen, yet.

Truly, the Travel Boxes from Penguino were worth EVERY PENNY! If the Penguino folks come up with a way to keep kids from needing to pee every hour, we may actually make it to the Grand Canyon!


Heading over the river and through the woods this Thanksgiving?

We would love to help! Pick a Travel Box filled with fun, creative activities and keep your littles busy on the road!