Over the years we have done many road trips, to visit family, to go camping or simply to see and appreciate this amazing country we live in. It has taken many years of trial and error to hit on a road trip plan that works for our family. Here are our top 5 tips for how to survive the family road trip.
Pack your own food for meals and snacks. Eating out can take a toll on the pocket book and also on your health. When we can’t pack our own food we like to stop at Safeway, their deli is a great place to find fresh and healthy choices.
Download some new movies, TV shows, books and music to your mobile devices before hitting the road. Keeping everyone occupied is of utmost importance!!! It is just as important to keep older children and adults busy as it is to keep young children busy!! Don’t forget to bring chargers and charge cords so that you can enjoy your diversions for the entire road trip!
Stop!!! Make sure to make many stops along the way. Everyone will appreciate the time to stretch their legs, use the washroom and perhaps grab a snack. Incorporating pit stops actually makes the trip seem shorter rather than longer because it breaks up those long monotonous hours. Every road trip has some interesting attractions along the way so plan to stop and enjoy them.
Bring along some blankets and pillows. It is inevitable that people will fall asleep on a road trip, at least this is the case in our family! Make a nap more enjoyable by planning ahead.
Engage in conversation. You are all stuck in a vehicle for many hours, this is a perfect time to chat! Our family has come up with some wonderful ideas during long road trips and we have solved some problems as well. A road trip can be the perfect time to engage in quality conversation no matter what age your children are!
We have spent a lot of time with our children this summer camping, hanging out in airports, staying in hotels and visiting many attractions. It is, in many ways, much more enjoyable to travel with older children, ours are 16 and 20. However we have also discovered that some things never change. Here are 5 interesting facts about traveling with older children.
They will still want you to carry their “stuff”. No matter how old they get it seems they need you to hold on to their belongings. Water bottles, sunscreen, sunglasses you name it they will want you to carry it! I haven’t carried a diaper bag in many, many years but it almost felt like that was what I was lugging around with me on vacation this year!!
They still like to play! Apparently you never get too old to play. Our 20 year old son likes to splash around in the pool and chase his sister just as much as he liked to do it when he was 10! Our 16 year old daughter likes to be chased just as much as when she was 6! It is a wonderful thing to see your children play, no matter how old they are!!!
They will still complain. When they get tired, when they get hungry, when they get hot; you can be sure that you will hear about it! Usually this means that it is time to take a break, whether that means heading back to the hotel, sitting on a bench in the shade or grabbing something to eat.
They will follow you around like little ducklings. We were certain that given the ages of our children they would want to explore some things on their own. We couldn’t have been more wrong! On a couple of occasions I would turn around and bump right into my son!!
They still like to hang around with mom and dad! This was the most wonderful revelation to us on our vacation. Our children still want to spend time with us! I guess we must have done something right as parents!
We have been lucky to have this summer with our children and to spend so much family time together. Our son is applying to universities across the country and may only be at home for another year and our daughter is chomping at the bit to get a part time job! It might be the last summer vacation that we have together so we are taking the time to soak in every moment. Traveling with older children is a blessing!
Camping is a part of our life. We can’t imagine an existence without some form of camping. Over the years we have written and revised our camping list many times. The current list is about two pages long but there are four useful things to bring camping that we never leave home without.
iPad – Yes an iPad is definitely a source of entertainment when we are camping, we can listen to music, perhaps watch a movie or read a book. However, the best reason for bringing an iPad camping is for the use of the app “Simply Noise”. Simply Noise is an app that plays white noise and is perfect in muffling the sound of the guy in the next site who has had on too many to drink or the kids who are allowed to ride their bikes till sun rise! We turn on “Simply Noise” when we are ready for bed and always experience a great night’s sleep.
Sun Shelter – Obviously this is great to throw some shade on a hot summer day but it is also very useful on a rainy day. A sun shelter also makes a fantastic rain shelter instead of using a tarp. Bonus … no trees needed, no ropes needed; just put up the shelter and you are done. Pick a shelter that can be easily moved; you can put it over the picnic table during the day and if it is raining at night it can be moved closer to the campfire.
Battery Charger – So, maybe you already bring one of these camping with you but we just recently started taking ours. We find it useful to charge our cell phones and also to charge our iPads (so that we can continue to enjoy our “Simply Noise”). If we are camping without the kids it is very important that we are able to remain connected. It might not be something that we take on a weekend trip but it does come in handy on long excursions.
Box of Latex Gloves – Latex gloves are always in one of our outdoor storage compartments. They came in handy when we had to relocate a bat that had found it’s way into our water bucket! Latex gloves are particularly useful when Dave has to empty the sewer into the sani station (you would be surprised at how many guys do NOT wear gloves when doing this chore!!).
Las Vegas isn’t just a city of gambling, drinking and loose inhibitions. We have discovered that Vegas also offers many family friendly attractions. Here is a list of 10 things to do in Vegas besides gambling. However, if you are going to take in any of these attractions it would be wise to check out a bundle price (usually three attractions for a discounted price) as most of the entrance fees can be pretty steep.
The High Roller – The High Roller is a massive observation wheel located on the Las Vegas Strip that allows you to have a 360 degree view of the city and surrounding mountains. This observation wheel hits a height of 510 feet during a leisurely 30 minute ride that allows you plenty of time to see the city and take
many beautiful pictures. The High Roller is open from 11:30 am – 2:00 am so you can see the sights in either the day or the night. Admission is cheaper during the day (most people want to see the Las Vegas lights) but the view is pretty spectacular during the day as well. https://www.caesars.com/linq/high-roller#.VcmFr7cmZKo
Grand Canyon – Okay so this one speaks for itself!! One of the
seven natural wonders of the world the Grand Canyon will take your breath away and perhaps leave you in a state of shock at just how amazing it is!! There are several options to see the Grand Canyon if you are in Las Vegas. Many tour companies offer tours that will take you to the West Rim of the Canyon (where the Skywalk is located). We went with a company called Pink Jeep Tours and I can’t say enough good things about them. There are also tour companies that will take you to the South Rim but this is a longer drive and therefore makes for a longer day. If you are adventurous you can also rent a car and take yourself to the Grand Canyon. All I can say is if you ever get a chance go and see the Grand Canyon (West Rim or South Rim), you won’t be sorry that you did!! https://www.pinkjeeptourslasvegas.com/grand-canyon-skywalk/#book-west-rim-grand-canyon-tour
Automobile Collection at the Link Hotel – This is pretty cool if you are into history or into cars. The Link hotel has a museum of collectible cars (one of a kinds and rarities) most of which are
actually for sale. You can wander around at a leisurely pace and take photographs of all the vehicles. There is an entrance fee of around 12 dollars per person which was pretty reasonable considering some of the cars that were on display. A couple of the vehicles were owned by famous people or are still owned by famous people. There is a car there that was the last vehicle that JFK rode in safely before his death and a car that was owned by Marilyn Monroe. http://www.autocollections.com/
The Hoover Dam – A wonder of engineering the Hoover Dam
is really spectacular. We were taken to the dam as part of our Grand Canyon tour so that we could take some pictures and take in the grandeur of the facility. There is a visitor center at the dam and tours are available as well. This is an amazing feat of human engineering and really shouldn’t be missed.
The Moving Statues at the Forum Shops/Caesar’s Palace– This is an animatronic show within the Forum Mall at Caesar’s Palace. It takes place at the Atlantis fountain in the food court and occurs every hour on the hour. The moving statues are pretty cool and best of all it is FREE!!
The Rainstorm inside the Miracle Mile Shops – This is another mall attraction. Every top of the hour and every half hour on the weekends a rainstorm will occur at the pond in the Miracle Mile Shops. It is neat to see and if you are doing some shopping anyway it is worth having a look. Again, this attraction is FREE!
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum – You can spend a couple of hours hanging out with the celebrities here at Madame Tussauds.Take your picture with someone famous and tell all your friends that you met them in Vegas! There is also a 4D theater within the museum that shows a Marvel superhero short film. The wax museum is located just outside the Venetian Hotel. https://www.madametussauds.com/lasvegas/
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay – Mandalay Bay houses an aquarium with many different species of marine life. You can get up close and personal with the sharks through a viewing tunnel and a simulated shipwreck, the sharks will swim over your head and under your feet! This aquarium is also home to a 30 foot Komodo Dragon which is pretty impressive to see. Also spend some time at the open tank where you can touch rays and horseshoe crabs. This isn’t a huge aquarium so take your time and take lots of pictures. The entrance fee for adults is 18 dollars, children (5-12) 12 dollars and children 4 and under are free. http://mandalaybay.com/shark-reef/aquarium/
The Fountains at the Bellagio – These fountains are world famous and really should not be missed. The water and light show is choreographed to music, is complimentary and is really quite mesmerizing. Be sure to get to the fountains a little early so that you are able to find a good viewing location. The show times are numerous and vary from weekdays to weekends, check this link for a current schedule and description of the fountains. https://www.bellagio.com/attractions/fountains-of-bellagio.aspx
Ferrari Showroom at the Wynn – This is the only authorized Ferrari dealer within Nevada. It will cost you 10 dollars per person to enter the dealership but once inside you will see some of the most luxurious and expensive vehicles in the world. Only 30 people are allowed within the dealership at a time so there might be a lineup, depending on what time of year you are visiting. http://www.penskewynnferrari.com/
Shopping, Shopping, Shopping – This is a bonus attraction! From the luxury shops on the Las Vegas strip to the outlet malls located off the strip, Vegas has some of the best shopping in the world! If you enjoy the shopping experience then Vegas is the place for you!
As you can see, there are at least 10 things to do in Vegas besides gambling! But this is just scratching the surface, we couldn’t take it all in! I guess we will have to come back!!
We are currently on a family vacation in Las Vegas! Every summer Dave’s company has a large convention in a major city in the USA and the kids and I tag along, it’s a great way for us to see some pretty awesome cities! We have been fortunate enough to visit Orlando, San Francisco, San Diego and Toronto (which is the only Canadian city that the conference has been held in).
Dave and I had an opportunity to visit Vegas together in September of last year. Dave surprised me with tickets to a Kings of Leon concert (my favorite band of all time) for my birthday. We had a really fun weekend and shot some video of our adventures in Vegas. Here is a link to our YouTube channel if you want to watch the video for yourselves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3tVEepa_p0.
While we are on vacation we will continue to post new blogs each week day, in between touring the city! Now it’s off to Vegas baby!!