Top 10 tips for a fun, distraction-free family vacation!

 Old-time, The Brady Bunch-style of family vacations are no longer a reqular event in our society.  The Brady Bunch would gather all the kids and Alice and head out to explore the good US of A.  I love their Grand Canon Trip.  These were the days before electronics.  Airplanes and cruise ships have allowed us to go explore islands (don't get me wrong here this is FUN). These modes of transportation  also give us way too many option to not spend time together as a family. I think if you want high quality family time you need to plan a vacation on the road, in your car!

TwitterMoms and Alamo are asking us to give our top 10 checklist for a fun, distraction-free family vacation. These blog post are going to be on the new TwitterMoms Travel Channel.
American Map United States Road Atlas 2010 Large Scale (American Map Road Atlas) 
Tips for a good Ole' US of A road trip:

1) Get out the USA Atlas.  Sit down with your family and talk about places to visit in the USA.  Don't use your computer to "google" sites.  Just sit down open up the atlas and see where the imagination and knowledge of those at the table lead you. Did a particular place pop out as a place of interest? Make that your vacation destination.

2) Now get out the calendars and set your date.  This needs to be done in writing! Put the block of time on the family calendar so everyone can see it.  This is the date you are all going to stick too.  This is an important time to teach your family that the time you set aside together is important and precious.  No other plans are going to get in the way.

3) Over the next few months, before you go on your vacation, set a weekly time to get together and plan the trip.  This is the time to get online to check out Geocaching.  You can plan your trip and plan what stops you want to make there and back.  Geocaching is a great way to take you to fun stops and explore nature with your family.  You will want to purchase a hand held GPS for this trip. 
Here are two that I recommend:
Garmin eTrex Venture HC GPS ReceiverApisphere Geomate Jr Handheld GPS Geocacher
4) During your family meetings, talk about what everyone wants to get out of this vacation.  Discuss electronics.  I think that this trip would be a perfect time to put away electronic and give them a vacation from your hands and face.  If cell phones go on the trip, keep them powered off.  Set 1 hour a day that they can have their phones on to text friends.  Other than that put the phones to rest.  Don't take these on your trip: DS, laptops, mp3 players, travel DVD players,etc.  Give the electronics a vacation and leave them at home.

5) Let everyone take ownership of this vacation.  Let them divide into teams.  Car snack food team, Car entertainment team, photographer, journalist, etc.  This will give everyone a chance to participate and make this the best family vacation, ever! Don't forget to let your teens drive!  The picture at the top of the page are when my twin teens were tiny! They are now old enough to drive.  Give them the responsibility to take the family on a trip! They need and want it (even if they try and deny it)!

6) This is stretching it for some but plan places to sleep in tiny towns.  Don't go to the mega hotels with mega amenities.  Take on a small town motel with small beds and tiny tv's.  The focus needs to be on the family.  Large hotels will have too many distractions.

7) Hire someone to take care of your pets/house while you are gone.  This can cause a lot of stress for the family.  No one wants the pets left behind.  Get someone you trust to house sit or check daily on the pets.  Have them send a phone photo of the pets once a day.  That way all can be reassured the pets are fine.  Just think how fun it will be to turn on your phone after a fun day and see pics of your animals having fun at home.  Don't forget to bring the pets back a souvenir.

8) Go shopping in your home for books, magazine, cross word puzzles, pens, pencils, crayons, coloring books,etc  Search for little balls, toys, stickers, tattoos, etc. Make a few travel bags of these goodies.  Pull out something ever so many miles.  These old things sitting around your  home will now become new things! This is a huge hit with my crowd!

9) Buy a travel bingo car kit.  This is all fun! Make sure everyone will have their own board!  This will get everyone playing for fun prizes.  Make a Travel Bingo bag before the trip. Include this game and have everyone find  "prizes" in your house for the winners.  This could be a stick a gum, left over Easter candy, tattoos, glow stick,etc.  Fun to win!

10) Take time each day to get at least one group photo.  At the end of the day give everyone a dated piece of paper.  Have them write a few things about their day.  Put all of these in a little box.  Bring these back out in a few months, after your vacation!  These will be a reminder of the fun, distraction-free family vacation you had together.  I guarantee that they will want to do it again!!

Check out other Top 10 tips!

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Thanks to TwitterMoms and Alamo for the contest.  To enter go to TwitterMoms!


  1. I like the idea of having teams for different aspects of the trip. Great way to get everyone involved. Thanks for the idea.

  2. these are great tips. My kids are grown, but we still travel to family get togethers a few times per year. Although not really vacations to new places, these travel times are also good family together times. Some of the best times my kids have had together have been traveling in the car! We also have enjoyed listening to books on CD's occasionally. Once, we read a book aloud together, taking turns.
    Thanks for these ideas. Very useful!

  3. The Brady Video is so funny!! Thanks for posting.


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