Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Road Trip Advice, Part 6 - Summer-long Road Trip!?

Hi Jamie,

I am so glad I came across your website, downloaded podcasts and just now ordered your latest book.

I am taking up on your offer of road trip advice to first time "Road Trip USA" vacationers like me.

This summer, we are planning a 45-day road trip across the US covering all important attractions, scenic routes, some museums, major national parks like Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, important landmarks etc.

I will be traveling with my wife and kids (10 and 13 year olds) in a minivan.

I already started looking into the 11 routes you mentioned .. but appreciate if you can give me your advice how I can have great time with my first family road trip of 45 days covering our great nation.


15 June 2009

Hello Ratna --

Many thanks for your note -- and I hope I can help you have a great trip!

You have a very ambitious expedition ahead of you -- my main advice at this point is to make sure you give yourself enough time to really absorb and enjoy the many places you will see, without worrying too much about trying to "see it all.". The USA is huge -- 3000 miles across, 1500 miles top to bottom.

(Plus there's Canada to consider -- the Canadian Rockies should definitely be on your itininerary as well. )

I have been traveling around the USA for 30+ years, and I still haven't seen everything I want to see -- and considering you are traveling with your family, what I'd like to say first is remember to enjoy the time you have to spend in these wonderful places, and try to resist the state of mind where you race around feeling you have to see "everything" -- that way madness lies, as the Bard had it in King Lear, or so I believe…

Now, on to the positives -- first, I hope you get your hands on my book, which has more than enough great places for you to see and enjoy. Once you've had a study of Road Trip USA, please feel free to write me again -- especially about such vital topics as "where should I spend the 4th of July!?"

In the meantime I also have some other "family road trip advice", which I hope will help -- here it is:

1) Break the trip up into manageable, sane segments, rather than try to cover 600 miles at once. It’s hard for most kids to sit still for long periods of time, so stop every 90 minutes or so to get out, stretch, have an ice cream, take a swim break or see an historic marker. It makes each day special and different.

2) Let everyone make decisions, including the kids, otherwise people will get frustrated. (Dads in the driver’s seat in particular need to learn this lesson.)

3) Use the child locks. (My brother had a proclivity toward opening the back door during family road trips, spending a lot of time in the gutter before there were such things as child locks to protect him from himself ...)

4) Have everyone use the Internet to research the trip. This lets family members learn about the destinations along the way and helps in planning itineraries. There might be sites, events or activities that the kids are excited about seeing, such as a minor league baseball game scheduled for the day you plan to pass through a destination. You can make these types of events themes for the day, or set them as a treat at the end of a day.

(It’s not quite bribery, but it is effective.)

5) Use a GPS system, and let the kids program and control it. They’ll then be more aware of where they are and what’s coming up, plus it helps them to remember the places along the way. You can then download the route and map and have it as a memento (or a very cool school project!) after the trip.

So, hope some of this helps, and hope you enjoy my book.

Keep in touch, please, and Happy Travels!

-- Jamie Jensen

1 July 2009

Hi Jamie,

We're having a great time on our road trip. Currently I'm writing to you from Little America, Flagstaff and soon heading to Grand Canyon.

We have split our 45 day trip into 2 manageable parts and plan to cover couple of trails in your book (route 66 and canadian rockies)

Thank you for all your help and advice and a great great book



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