If you are an adult of a certain age, you probably have bad road trip memories from your childhood: it was ALWAYS burning hot weather, the air conditioning NEVER worked, your brother was poking you, and you drove for HOURS without a single pitstop. At least that’s what we recall.
I believe the COVID pandemic is bringing us the summer of road trip revival, and I’m here to tell you there is a different way of making that trip enjoyable for everyone. I’ve crisscrossed the west from Spokane to Los Angeles, up and down the Pacific Coast, out to Montana, down to Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona, so I have some road trip experience.
Here are some of my tried-and-true ideas:
- Get the whole family involved in planning the route. Pull up a map on your computer and play with different ways to get from A to B.
- If your children get excited about a funny placename along the way – say, Humptulips, Washington, or Boring, Oregon – make a stop because why not?
- Start early in the morning – pack the night before, then load any sleepyheads into their car seats and head out super early. Plan for the first stop to be for breakfast.
- Have each child pack their own small bag with toys and trinkets.
- Talk to older children about phone and computer use before you head out. Agree on electronic free stretches, perhaps where there is a great view over a mountain pass.
- Phone apps like Krayon – which has color sheets you can fill out on a tablet or a phone (less mess!) and Star Walk, which identifies constellations at night, and Peak Visor which can name any mountain you can see – are fun to play with on a road trip.
- Pull over. Stop at the pretty lake. Stop to watch the horses run. Stop the first time you can see the ocean. Stretch your legs. Let your children play on the playground. It may add 20 minutes to your travel time, but who cares?
- We live in a part of the country where a GPS doesn’t always have service, so get a paper map and show everyone how to use it. It could come in handy.
- Take really good care of your car. Change the oil, pump the tires, top off all the fluids, do all the things your dad always told you to do.
- Be prepared. Bring drinking water. Bring non-messy snacks that your family likes. Get a small cooler to hold the sandwich lunch.
- Carry a simple emergency kit with first aid stuff like band aides and anti-bacterial lotion, extra sunscreen, a good pair of scissors, and throw in some toilet paper, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, extra masks, and Ziplock bags.
- If you travel with your pet make sure you have plenty of the pet’s usual food, extra leashes, collars and harnesses, and a comfy bed to sleep in when you arrive at your destination.
Off you go – have fun and don’t forget to write a card or two when you get there.
We love road trips here at Local Treasures with Pia – please let us know if you have a good destination, big or small, in the Inland Northwest and we will check it out. Send emails to CorpComm@AvistaCorp.com.