Ordinarily, I’d dread a 6-hour road trip with my kids (think: fighting over movies and music, nonstop snack requests and screams of "are we there yet?" when we’re only an hour in), but this time I wasn’t sweating it. The biggest reason for this is because I’ve been driving our long-term 2018 Honda Odyssey for a few weeks now and have fully embraced the ease of minivan life. Another reason is because we had a babysitter in the third row. Yes, we took a babysitter with us on vacation — it’s life-changing.
Trip or Vacation?
Before you start judging, we don’t normally travel with a sitter. Our summer vacation this year was a week in Seacrest, Florida, with two other families. That meant seven kids ages seven and under all in one house for seven nights. Seven may be a lucky number for some, but in this case, not so much. So, in order for the six parents on this trip to be able to have more of a "vacation" and less of a "trip" (there is a distinct difference, as all moms and dads are well aware), we decided to invest in a sitter for the week. One of my son’s former preschool teachers is very close with my family and was willing to accept the challenge. And, luckily, the Odyssey’s relatively roomy third row (with 38.1 inches of legroom) and rear cargo area was more than capable of handling a grown adult and a week’s worth of luggage, toys, snacks and supplies for five people.
In a perfect world, we would have removed the center jump-seat but, honestly, I couldn’t figure out how to remove it and the clock was ticking toward our departure time. Plus, that center seat folds down so passengers (in this case, kids) can use it as a cupholder. I knew removing that seat would result in more spills per mile than I was ready to handle. The down-side is, when you need to access the third row, but you have two kids in car seats or boosters and the center seat in place, the third-row is hard to get to. Once the cargo area was full of luggage, our sitter was no longer able to access her seat through the trunk. So she resorted to climbing over the middle row via the middle seat, which folds down.
When we got in the minivan to drive home, the kids chose to start the trip playing on their Kindles instead of using the rear seat entertainment, which they’d used on the drive to Florida. I turned on satellite radio for me and my husband, and within a few minutes our sitter called out from the third row asking if it was possible for the music to play from the speaker back there. I was surprised that she couldn’t hear the music — I couldn’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t be working. I scanned through the various infotainment icons until I found "Sound," which then led me to "Audio Zones." A rendering of the three rows of the car popped up with the option to "restrict audio playback to a selected area of the vehicle." My only options were "Driver Only" and "Front Only" — I couldn’t select either of the back two rows, which was the strangest thing! Eventually, I realized that despite the fact that my kids weren’t using it, the rear entertainment system was still in "on" mode from the trip down to Florida, rendering the back two rows’ speakers unusable for playing music. Once I turned the rear entertainment system off, all of the audio zones appeared on the screen, and I was able to select "Full Vehicle," enabling our sitter to finally enjoy the sweet 90s hip-hop my husband and I were listening to.
King of Comfort
I honestly don’t know if there’s a better road trip car than the 2018 Honda Odyssey. My husband had back surgery a few years ago, and car comfort is a huge issue for him in general. He was pain-free for the entire drive, which is pretty miraculous; however, we did discover the fact that the driver’s seat has more lumbar support options than the front passenger seat. Regardless, it was smooth sailing down to Florida and back to Atlanta, just as it has proven to be on my daily commute. I will seriously be one sad mama the day I have to pass along the Odyssey’s keys to the next editor — something I never thought I’d say about a minivan. Find a Honda Odyssey for sale
Check out our 2018 Honda Odyssey New Car Review