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  1. #1

    Default Help - Small car, bigger family

    We are planning a road trip from Vancouver BC to Disneyland this fall. We have added to the family since our last trip. We have a 3 series BMW with not much in the way of space either inside or the trunk. The last trip we were 3 adults and a baby and we were jammed, now we will be 3 adults, a toddler and a baby so 2 car seats in the back as well as trying to cram a double stroller in the trunk.

    Can't afford to rent a larger vehicle so am looking for some good tips on how to juggle all the people and gear we need to take with. No permanent roof rack on the car.

    Any tips would be welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Welcome!

    I think you are going to have a hard enough time trying to stuff 2 car seats plus an adult in the back seat, never mind anything else anywhere else. I don't think this trip is going to be possible without a larger vehicle or leaving someone home.

    Please don't take this as an insult, but if you can't afford to rent a larger vehicle I don't think you can afford to take this trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default limitations

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but based on what you've layed out, I think your only real solution is to find another car or another mode of transportation. Simply put, you've got more people than your car will hold, and there really is no way to fix that by being clever.

    If it was just a cargo issue, there would probably be a way to overcome the issue, using one of the many aftermarket cargo bag type options that go on the back/roof of your car - or in the worst case shipping some of your items in advance. But fitting 3 adults and 2 small children with car seats into a small car for a 2600 mile round trip just isn't going to be fun.

    One would think that this is a poor choice for your everyday car anyway, so I'd look strongly at trying to sell your BMW and then buying a larger car or minivan. If you are going from used to used and look at the same price point, there's really no reason switching cars would have to cost you much if anything, other than your time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Not impossible.

    Whereas it might be getting near to the time to think of up-sizing your present car, I don't think that making the trip with 3 adults and 2 kid's is impossible or unworkable. You will need to make sure you have enough time to do the journey comfortably and rotate the back and front passengers for comfort [and sanity] while taking Lot's of rest breaks. You will have to work out how to carry your luggage though, and that is going to mean more storage space and some expense. That could be in the form of having a roof rack, [and possibly a top box fitted] or if you have no intention of selling your BMW and there will be future road trips, a tow bar and purchase a small trailer.

    Disclaimer ! I'm a Brit and don't think of a Beemer as a "small car". ;-)

  5. #5

    Default Hitch-hauler

    Hello Elenor,

    It's a tough problem, and clearly your budget is tight, leading me to agree with glc in that perhaps now is not the ideal time for you to take a big RoadTrip. But I admire the willingness to seek solutions where a family vacation is concerned, so I offer another idea to making your Beemer work for this one: a hitch-hauler.

    You'll need a 1 1/4" receiver trailer hitch installed on the Beemer. Into the female receiver will "plug" the male hitch-hauler. The hitch-hauler is nothing but a shelf onto which things such as the strollers can be securely strapped after they've been adequately covered/wrapped to protect them from the weather. Ditto other baggage you'd not need access to until you reach Disneyland (where unpacking/repacking could be burdensome).

    The hitch-hauler might be added to the cartop carrier bag and solve your space problems.

    But, you're looking at several hundred dollars for the goods (cartop plus hitch plus hitch-hauler), and the budget is already tight...........

    I hope you can find a way to safely pull off your RoadTrip.

    Foy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    I don't think that making the trip with 3 adults and 2 kid's is impossible or unworkable.
    You know Dave, just because you guys over in the UK think every car should be a clown car, doesn't mean those of us in the civilized world feel the same way!

    But on a more serious note, you do need to remember that 2 car seats are going to take up quite a bit more room than even an adult passenger. An adult and 2 school aged kids might work in the back, but the adult that has to squeeze between two car seats is going to be very cramped and uncomfortable if they have to be back there for more than even a few minutes.

    I will also say that based my initial response solely on the fact that the poster was complaining that they were already uncomfortable on their last trip, but you should also know that the BMW 3 series is considered a compact line of cars (they're basically sports cars) and based on a couple of reviews I looked at, even by compact car standards, rear seat comfort was noted specifically as one of the "cons."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Fly ?

    I 100% agree that it is not ideal, and is not going to be the most comfortable trip by far, but if the only other option was not to go, I guess I would 'grin and bare it'. Not sure of the child seat laws your side of the pond, but often over here the toddler seat is placed in the front passenger seat [with the passenger airbag switched off] and the adult behind gets more legroom, still gonna be like 'Sardines in a can' though with another seat and adult in the back.

    It could be worth looking into cost of flights/ package deals as your goal is to travel to Disneyland, by the time you consider gas and lodging costs and meals for the journey it might not seem so bad and will be a lot less hassle.

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