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  1. Default X-Country Family Trip - where do I start?

    My wife and I have been waiting for the right age to take our 3 girls on a cross country trip to see this beautiful country. I've just come to realize that time is slipping away (our oldest is 15 and the youngest is 8) so it's now or never. Problem is, I don't where to start planning. Questions I have are:

    - car/motels or RV (RVs seem to be quite expensive to rent)?
    - how much time (is 4 weeks or so a reasonable amount of time)?
    - what to see (there is so much, but i don't really know what's out there)?
    - where to stay (do i need to prebook motels, how is that even possible)?
    - can i bring my dog (well behaved black lab)?

    I'm sure there are a million other questions. Any advice is welcome.

    --stephen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by simmordino View Post
    - car/motels or RV (RVs seem to be quite expensive to rent)?
    Keep in mind that no matter what, there will always be a compromise when road tripping, whether that compromise is spending more money to rent an RV, or determining what to pack and what to leave behind when taking the car or truck. With RVs you will at least have a place to catch some sleep and you are at least guaranteed lodging. You also won't have to pack up and reload everything into the vehicle when you are ready to move, since it will already be in there.

    - how much time (is 4 weeks or so a reasonable amount of time)?
    That is a reasonable amount of time to take you to any place in the continental United States. We figure an average of 500-550 miles a day when traveling from one location to another, but chances are you won't want to do that much driving consistently day in and day out. Even if you did this many miles two days out of seven, that still gives you a round trip of over 4000 miles, and that can cover quite a bit of ground.

    - what to see (there is so much, but i don't really know what's out there)?
    This can be a personal thing, as each person may want to see something unique. Maybe one of the children has studied some area of the country that sounded interesting to them. Travel is a good way to take the ideas of history and geography and make them more concrete. The "midnight ride of Paul Revere" is an interesting historical tale; walking the same ground as our forefathers did in Boston and Philadelphia is quite another thing. Yellowstone National Park is interesting to read about in a geology class, but nothing compares with actually being there and experiencing the sights, smells, and sounds of the park.

    Perhaps you'd like more ideas along these lines? Checkout the National Park Service homepage.

    I also suggest starting with our Planning Pages to get some rough ideas.

    - where to stay (do i need to prebook motels, how is that even possible)?
    Generally you won't need to prebook motels, though that does depend on the area you will be staying in. I wouldn't go to the Grand Canyon during the peak months and expect to find a room without prebooking. Anyway, prebooking is simply a matter of contacting the place you wish to stay and reserving a room (or campsite) for however long you plan to be in the area.

    - can i bring my dog (well behaved black lab)?
    There are many lodging options for pets - if you choose the motel route, you will have to check with the individual location, but I am seeing more and more places that do allow pets in their facilities, since the idea is to cater to families to get the tourists in, and many families have a cat or a dog.

    I hope this has given you some ideas with which to start. The key is to make it interesting for everyone, yourself included. Don't be afraid to be a little selfish and go to a place that you've always wanted to go.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Tips for Planning the Ultimate Famly road trip

    Quote Originally Posted by simmordino View Post
    Problem is, I don't where to start planning.
    I wrote an article that might prove helpful to you on this subject.

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Great article, Mark

    I hadn't read it yet. And even I picked up a few good ideas!!

    Stephen, there have been many discussions and articles here at RTA that offer specific advice about traveling with pets. Hope they'll be of help.

    Buckle Up: "Ruff" Road Ahead
    Dog Days of Summer: Tips for Traveling with a Pet
    Roadtrips with Rover & Felix

    And there are some good books about pet travel, too.

    Here are a few discussions where we talked about this issue:
    Pet Advice
    More pet advice (although this is geared toward cats, there is some great advice here that could also help when traveling with dogs

    And if you want even more help, there are some websites devoted to this issue:
    Pet Travel
    Pets Welcome
    Dog Friendly
    Pet Friendly
    Pets On the Go
    Trips with Pets

    I've not spent much time at any of these websites so I can't vouch for them but I'm sure they all have some useful information in them.

    Hope this helps!

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