The official guide.
Step one: procrastinate the 6400 things that need to be done until a maximum of 24 hours before it's time to leave. Including the 87 loads of laundry so you can actually pack for this 4 day trip, shopping for "sanity savers" (aka treats for the car), and thorough cleaning of your kitchen so that ridiculous never ending ant trail you finally conquered two days before doesn't re-appear.
Step two: Add in the need to drive 30 minutes in the wrong direction to pick your husband up from the airport. Also helpful to not even be loaded in the car when he calls to inform you that he's already landed.
Step three: Live somewhere so that the easiest entry to the freeway is right next to the mall. Then plan on leaving around 2:30 on a busy Saturday afternoon. This will make the 1.5 mile drive from your house to the entry at least 15 minutes!
Step four: Finally get on the way. Drive 5 miles over the speed limit, while obsessively watching that "estimated arrival time" on the gps so it will slowly click down one minute at a time (because arriving at 6:07pm is sooooo much better than 6:14).
Step five: Hit . . . . something on the road which causes your tire to explode.
Step six: Chant "Stopthecarstopthecarstopthecarstopthecar" as you finally manage to actually stop. the. car.
Step seven: be insanely grateful that this happened when your hubby was in the car so he can take care of it.
Step eight: manage to have lost the lug wrench/jack handle sometime in the last 3 years so there is no way to change your tire.
Step nine: pray.
Step ten: 3.7 seconds later, have an exceptionally nice man stop by to help.
Step eleven: wait 45 minutes for your hubby and the nice man to drive the 10 miles to the closest town, find a new lug wrench, and drive back.
Step twelve: be happy you have enough gas to keep the car running so no one dies from heat stroke, and the kids can watch the silly squirrel movie instead of driving you crazy. Also be happy you decided to fill one bottle with water so you can actually feed your screaming baby.
Step thirteen: finally start driving on that flimsy doughnut to the closest town. Be happy that there is a superwalmart so you can actually buy a new tire ('cause who else is open 4 pm on a Saturday?). Wait a hour or so for the new tires to be put on.
Step fourteen: Decide to walk to the burger king for dinner while waiting. It will help add to the saga if the said burger king is much further away than you realize and also in the opposite direction than you start walking. Not to mention carrying that 2400 lb infant seat.
Step fifteen: Agree that hubby should just walk back by himself to pick up the car while your offspring play on the tiny play place.
Step sixteen: Have Hubby decide to buy a "cool" new jack, and then spend 30 minutes tying up some strange flapping plastic piece on the wheel well.
Step seventeen: Finally get back on the road 3 1/2 hours later.
Step eighteen: Drive remaining 90 minutes.
Step nineteen: Get really, desperately needed, wonderful, restorative hug from your mom that makes the whole saga worthwhile. Also: have an amazing baby that manages to sleep 10 1/2 hours the last night of the trip. Saga is now complete, and life is good.