Friday, June 17, 2011

Staycation or not: Finding age-appropriate activities that won't break the bank

Recently we had the challenge of planning a trip to visit my sister and her family, nine hours away. That is, nine hours of uninterrupted driving. Factor in a family, and you know it's a much longer journey than that.

Planning that kind of road trip poses unique challenges. What are good things for the kids to do to burn off energy? What is age-appropriate? What will let them have some fun without breaking the bank?

Here's what worked for me:

  • Local chamber/state travel websites. Often they included agritourism information, so if we wanted to stop at a u-pick stand or farm along the way, we could. (A great way to work in a snack or meal too, without having to hit fast food or make another peanut butter sandwich.)

  • Scout council websites. We were able to find several age-appropriate activities by checking out the scout council websites that covered our travel route, and searching for her age group. Ideas ranged from museums to horseback riding. I felt it was far more efficient than the tourism websites.

  • State/national park sites. I contacted one national park site by email to clarify about a program's approrpiateness, and I received a response within a few hours. They were extremely helpful, and enjoying our national and state parks, no matter how obscure, is a great reminder of God's creation!

  • Local parenting blogs. Often they have tips about great options (often free) and resources in the area (great parks, etc.)

  • On the road, don't overlook rest stops, which have green spaces. Bring along a ball or something to work off some energy.

What works for you with travel planning?

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