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Lake Tahoe Family Vacation in the 2014 Toyota Sienna

Before finishing off 2013, I was able to enjoy a very relaxing Lake Tahoe family vacation with help from the 2014 Toyota Sienna that I was asked to drive around for a few months. Read on to hear my take on road trips.

I have a love-hate relationship with road trips. I love to travel in that I love seeing and exploring new things and new areas. I love arriving at my destination, full of excitement and ready for the adventure that each trip brings. There are even aspects of the actual driving part that I love. I love blasting the music in the car and singing at the top of my lungs until my kids can’t stand it anymore. Car snacks are always a must, and it is one of the few times I will eat a lollipop. Sometimes it is to keep me awake while driving, and other times it is so I can count how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop (boredom calling). Car games are always fun. An all-time favorite for me is the Alphabet Game. You know, the one where you have to find each letter of the alphabet (in order) from road signs. If traveling across Nevada we have to settle for using license plates because road signs are few and far between. We also have stacks of quiz type of games to test the kids’ smarts, and travel Outburst. Definitely many great memories to be made on road trips!

But what about the fighting between siblings (or spouses even)? Or what about the mess that seems to ensue from those tasty car snacks and games? Then there is the matter of trying to find a comfortable position after hours of traveling. Once again, if traveling across Nevada then radio stations are even few and far between! A back-up plan is a must! These are the things that make road trips unbearable for me.

Lake Tahoe Vacation in the 2014 Toyota Sienna

This winter the family went to Tahoe as a last minute weekend getaway over a 3-day weekend. It was a much needed weekend away and with the new 2014 Toyota Sienna (Shelby) on our side, it was sure to be a great road trip. I cannot even begin to tell you how much of a lifesaver it was to have a nice, and loaded, van to drive for our family vacation. Before our trip I was skeptical that a vehicle could actually make the trip different, but boy was I wrong!

With three rows of seating, second row captain’s chairs, tons of storage and an available entertainment system, we actually got through our little road trip with no bickering! This may be a first for us. Everyone had space between them and the next person, and because of the quite large entertainment system, movies kept the kids quite occupied. The cordless headphones are especially nice because for some reason when the kids put them on, they got quieter! Maybe because they couldn’t hear anything but the movie, they thought nobody could hear them. Who knows but it was heavenly! I just had to make sure the kids took turns with the headphones. Us adults in the front even had fun listening to the movies as we took turns driving. No lack of entertainment, that’s for sure.

Riding Comfortably in the 2014 Toyota Sienna While Taking in Tahoe

Because of the nice amount of cargo space, we had extra room in the van for everyone to have their own garbage sack. This helped to cut down on crumbs and garbage being scattered throughout the car. A huge pet peeve of mine that seems to occur on every road trip. One of the kids’ pet peeves is when sun glares in, disturbing their napping or movie-watching. With a built-in screen that can be raised or lowered, at every rear window, I didn’t get one complaint from the kids about the sun! I wish all cars came with this feature! As you can see, I was sitting comfy too – taking in the scenery of the beautiful drive through the trees, to Tahoe!

Wrestling by Lake Tahoe

As we arrived to Tahoe the air was a bit cooler than back home so having the heated seats also came in mighty handy. We used Ms Shelby, the Sienna, to tote us around the North Shore, to wrestle by the lake and skip rocks, zip-lining, restaurants and what have you. It really was a very relaxing and comfortable family vacation (minus some relationship hiccups, which we won’t get into). I can’t wait to take the kids back for more chillaxing in Tahoe!

About the author

Emily Buys


  • How/why do you get to “try/test” all these great products and services? Is there any way for a regular old housewife who, doesn’t blog, to be able to get in on the testing of things like you do? I am new to reading blogs, yours is the first blog I chose to read then when I found out that you live in my area (I’m sacramento born and raised!) well that made me even MORE interested in your blog. I LOVE all the reviews you do too. I recently saw you on the morning show of one of our local tv stations. Thanks for representing Sacramento so well!

  • We took a road trip to Disneyworld this past summer, and I think I feel pretty much the way you do about road trips. It was about a 12 hour drive from us, so we did it in 2 days. I don’t think we’ll ever drive that great a distance again. We have a new Nissan Quest, which made it easier, but, no. Not again! We would love to visit Tahoe, and most likely will, but by plane!!

  • Love Disney World! Some day I will take the kids, but we will definitely be flying. Cross-country road trip isn’t in the plans – anytime soon anyway!

  • About 6 years ago my family and I drove from Ohio to California. We went down south on the way there to hit some sites and meet up with a friend in Texas then Went right across the middle to come home. We were able to see the Grand Canyon, Cadillac graveyard, made a stop at Disneyland and Newport Beach in southern California where my husband lived till he was 13. We got to go up Big Bear Mountain to see the house his grandpa built. We went to Northern Cali to see all of his family and the great big redwood trees and have a picnic. On the way home we got to stay in Reno so I was able to experience my first ever casino, we took a hike around Devils tower and saw Mount Rushmore. We had to make a stop at the Mall of America just to say we had been there. The whole trip was a blast and I would so love to do it again. We did it with three kids aged 13, 10, and 7 and all packed in a tiny little rental car. Portable DVD players were a life saver and lots of snacks. It was a time that I will cherish forever. The first time we ever got to really travel. I look back on that time and just savor the moments we got to spend. Even with all the fighting, bickering, arguing, car cleaning out I would not trade it for anything.

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