As kids, many of us turned to Melissa Joan Hart’s for advice on fashion, school drama, and dealing with siblings. Yes, her character on the hit teen show Clarissa Explains it All was the authority on dealing with life as an adolescent growing up in the 90s. But, 25 years since the end of Nickelodeon smash, Hart is now an expert on balancing life with three sons. And part of that balancing act is understanding how to make traveling with the youngsters enjoyable.
Wanting to know her secrets, I chatted with Hart as part of her partnership with Kelley Blue Book— and ahead of her new Netflix show No Good Nick—where she announced the Best Family Cars of 2019, a list of 2019 model-year cars that are best suited for families. Here she explains it all about how to survive traveling with kids.
Q: You partnered with Kelly Blue Book for their Best Family Cars. Do you like driving with your family?
A: We’re big travelers, but we don’t like to fly. So, we often drive. We make the drive from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe frequently, which is a seven or eight-hour drive.
Q: What are some other road trips you’ve done as a family?
A: We’ve done like a Connecticut to Vermont. We’re doing a little camping trip for Mother’s Day to Yosemite, so we’ll drive there, and then we go down to San Diego all the time to visit my sister and her baby.
Q: What’s your secret to surviving such a long time in the car with kids?
A: I always carry the automobile Bingo in my car. I have some of the old-fashioned toys in the car! But having space for everyone, the dogs and suitcases is important. That’s why we love our big SUV because we have a big family. They have tons of cupholders, a big trunk, etc. so everyone has space for their stuff. I like all the bells and whistles. They make the car ride easier.
Q: What are some other bells and whistles that make a trip into a vacation?
A: Making sure that it has a good entertainment system for the kids. Even better if they can be entertained while wearing headphones. That’s a great one. I can be rocking out to my 90s rock, and they can be in the back-watching Shrek. Everyone says no screen time. But I’m telling you on an airplane or in the car, it saves your life.
Q: Now, speaking about your professional life. You have a new show on Netflix coming out! What can we expect?
A: It’s a really unique family show. A girl comes into our lives to live with our family, and we don’t realize that she’s scamming us the whole time. It’s like a family-friendly version of Scandal. It’s unlike any show that I’ve seen. Once you get three or four episodes in, you’ll start to see how it stands out and is different from any show that’s on the air.