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  1. Default Boston to LA - 5 in a car


    We are planning a roadtrip this summer from Boston to the LA area. This will be a one way trip as we're flying back to Boston. My concern is that we're a family of 5 (2 adults, 2 teenagers and 1 nine year old) and will be traveling in a BMW 328i sedan. We're going to keep daily distance around 350 miles and will be spending 2 or 3 nites in Chicage and Scottsdale to break things up.

    Has anyone out there squeezed 5 in a car on a long roadtrip before? Any suggestions will be appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Close Quarters

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    5 people in a car over long distances is a little snug, but its not intollerable. I'm not that familiar with the BMW line to know how big that particular model is, but certainly things will be more comfortable if its closer to a full sized car than a compact.

    I'd expect you'll have a little extra degree of "he/she is touching me" and other nagging complaints that naturally come from having kids in close quarters. But presumably, your family is at least used using this car on a daily basis, so having 3 people in the back seat isn't going to be new either.

    The biggest factor to keep your sanity is to keep your daily distances low, and make plenty of stops to get out of the car and away from each other. And it looks like you've already worked that into your plans, Since you are planning to travel a very easy 350 miles a day and will be spending a few days in Chicago on route.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Rotate Those Tireds

    Michael is right in that you've planned short enough days (350 miles) that you should be able to spend a good bit of time each day out of the car. Here's one more idea to keep the kids from blowing a gasket. Whichever adult is not driving at a given time should sit in the middle of the back seat, thus ending all those 'my space' arguments. And shift off who gets to sit 'shotgun' for each leg. This also gives you a chance to enforce some clean car rules - You want to ride up front, you clean your old space before you move. Keeping the passenger compartment free of detritus will go a long way to making everyone more comfortable. One final thought... Keep the kids engaged with what's going on outside the car. Comment on anything new you see. Ask the kids to watch for exit signs or mile markers. Play license plate poker. Simple stuff, but it works as long as it's not too obvious.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Seacoast, New Hampshire

    Default That's gonna be tight....

    A 328i isn't a large car, by any means. And for all intents and purposes, you can consider the teens as adults (I know several 14 to 18 year olds that tower over me). I might consider it in something bigger, say a 740i or maybe a 5 series wagon, but I think that the close quarters will get old real quick. Plus you'll need to factor in gear and luggage for 5, plus a cooler, snacks, etc . etc.

    I remember traveling from NH to Michigan with my extended family (two adults and 5 kids) and even in a Grand Caravan with just enough room we were miserable. Someone's feet would stink, someone would be eating all the snacks, someone else would be leaning too far into someone elses' space.

    You mention this is a one-way road trip, with a flight back home. Are you renting a car? Is there a particular reason you are going in the 328i? You might be better off renting a minivan (not as sporty as the BMW, but you'll be a lot more comfortable).

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