In this episode we talk about one of the craziest road trips we’ve ever taken: our 6300 mile journey from Florida to Nevada and back, with main stops along the way to camp in Palo Duro Canyon – Amarillo, Texas, Jacob Lake, Arizona (Grand Canyon North Rim), Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, Hoover Dam in Nevada, and Grand Canyon South Rim in Arizona.

15 years ago Shannon and I took our first road trip to Georgia and back in one night for a concert and the trend has only continued ever since.  We’ve just added a few more passengers!  While anything can happen on a trip like this, here are some tips to help you plan your own:

1) Know that it’s possible! You may have noticed a DVD monitor in our minivan. Know this: it doesn’t even work and hasn’t since we’ve owned the van. Even if your kids have a hard time disengaging technology, start somewhere! This week’s family challenge is to take a road trip to a place at least 1 hour from where you live. That’s not too long and not too short. Start getting accustomed to being flexible in the car (eating on the go, playing games or having fun conversations while you drive and learning about your destination before you arrive).
2) Pick a destination and learn some things about it before you go. We knew the canyons would be hot. What we didn’t know, being from humid Florida, was that dry heat is harder to notice, especially when it comes to hydration. On every hike we had plenty of water and Gatorade and drank it proactively, rather than when we felt thirsty.
3) Acquire your gear. Over time we’ve acquired most of what we need for 3 seasons of camping (Spring, Summer, Fall). We try and buy stuff that lasts and functions well, but that doesn’t mean everything in the outdoor store is a necessity. Online stores, sales and Craigslist are your friend! Start with a tent, sleeping bags or air mattresses, a camp stove and some flash lights and after your trips get more extensive and more remote, add what you need.
4) Leave room for spontaneity. It’s okay to open up an atlas (remember those) and just drive! Many times we called ahead to a campsite just a few hours out, which means there were times we didn’t know where we were sleeping that night. No need to panic! When you camp, your house and your bed are with you and while there sometimes are campgrounds without vacancy, it doesn’t mean there isn’t another just a few miles down the road. Spontaneity is part of the fun and helps your family be flexible!


+Take a family road trip to a destination at least 1 hour driving distance from your house. Answer these questions as part of your adventure:

-Parents ask little learners:
1) What was your favorite road trip we have taken as a family? What made it so great?
2) What’s your favorite part or the most challenging part of road tripping in general?
3) If you could choose, where would you like to take our next family road trip and why?

Little learners ask Parents:
1) Tell me about a road trip adventure you have had?
2) What is the longest road trip you’ve ever taken? How old were you?
3) What was your favorite car trip game or activity growing up? Can you teach it to me?

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