Stay at least 2 nights in one place

I must confess that this is probably the tip that we have violated the most. In our quest to cover a lot of ground in a 3 1/2 week time period, we have far too often zipped through a particular place, just touching upon its highlights. In all fairness though, some places--especially those that are mostly scenic drives or short hikes, can be given justice to in a single day.

However, many places have just so much to see and do that you really need a couple of days to experience all it has to offer. Also, at any destination where you plan to do an activity that's going to take more than a few hours, such as a long hike or bike ride, or boating, you really need that full day to make it worthwhile.

Besides, staying put for two nights is a great way to prevent trip fatigue from setting in.

Amyflossy on February 13, 2012

Thanks for putting your information on this site! I refer to it regularly, if for no other reason than to remind myself that their are people like us out there. Most people that hear of our road trips with two teenagers seem to think that we are nuts and start a list of all the things we could have bought if we didn't spend so much "doing things." I am nervous this year though. Our youngest child is 16 and I have the grand-daddy of trips planned. We are traveling 7900 miles from Washington to Florida and back in 30 days. That is roughly 263 miles per day and you deemed your similar trip "too aggressive." Since we only have a few summers left, there is just nothing that I want to cut out, as we might not have enough time to get back. Any words of wisdom for those embarking on an aggressive trip?

Herb on February 13, 2012

Hi Amyflossy,

Thanks for the kind words. It's good to hear that there are kindred spirits trying to see the country with teenagers. While Lolo did characterize our 2001 trip as being a bit "aggressive", I still don't think that we would have changed much, given the same time constraints.

That trip had a few "character building" episodes that certainly did increase the stress level a bit. For one, I was not feeling 100%, and actually had a bit of a low grade fever for much of the trip. Also, you might recall that after we got up at 5:00 AM at Olympic National Park to see the tidal pool ranger talk, Lolo went for a run on the beach, only to be "shot putted" by a rock from one of our sons. It cut open her forehead down to the skull, and her front tooth broke off at the root exposing a nerve. After a quick stop to get a Saturday root canal, we went to Deception Pass. Lolo drove, since I still wasn't feeling well, and we managed to get a sidewall blowout on a Sunday night in a deserted campground.

Anyway, I think the primary problem was never staying 2 nights in any place until we reached Olympic. For the previous 10 days we were averaging 6+ hours of driving without ever really getting a chance to recharge.

If you have two capable drivers, it would certainly help a lot, and scheduling a 2 night stopover after 3-4 days would help as well.

Finally, if you can work without reservations for a least a few of the stops it would help as well. For me at least there is a great psychological benefit to knowing that the timing is somewhat flexible, or that I'm running a bit ahead of schedule. Even if I driving the same miles, it is less stressful when you know that a flat tire or other on the road mishap won't necessarily cause you to lose that highly coveted reservation. This almost happened to us when the brake lines blew out after Death Valley and Lone Pine on the way to our first day of a week in Yosemite.

Sounds like you have a great trip planned. I definitely agree that"doing things" will always trump "buying more stuff". Just be sure to take lots of photos and videos since without them your precious travels with vanish over time.

If you visit any of the same places we did, please be sure to leave a comment with any current travel advice.

Have a great trip!!


kri8ivone on March 11, 2013

Hey Guys!! I am so glad I found your site!! Amy, we are planning another roadtrip this summer with a 12 yr. boy and a 14 yr old girl - Washington state to Midlothian, Virginia; up to Augusta, Maine and then back home. I wouldn't change a thing!!! Two years ago, we decided to drive to Chicago, follow Route 66 to California and back (we were gone about a month) and while it didn't go as planned - AC went out in Amarillo (115 degrees) and then caused the engine to freeze in Cowaling, CA..we drove through Death Valley at 125 AC...leather seats!!!!! But we also had a blast by stopping for ice scream, taking the water from the cooler and having ice water fights :) We had to cut out part of the California portion due to budget being spent on car repairs, but wouldn't have changed a thing. We asked our kids what should this years vacation be, even gave the option of flying to Hawaii or going on a cruise...they WANT a roadtrip!!! Basically, don't worry about what others say, you know that you will have a bond and memories that can never be forgotten with your children. Happy travels!!

Lafula on June 5, 2013

I love that I found this site. We owned a trailer since 1993 right before our first child turned one but mostly traveled to one location for weekend trips or stays of a week or two the most. The furthest we traveled was 12 hrs away from home in WNY. We traded for an RV and in 2009 when our kids were 16, 14, and 13 went on our first cross country adventure all the way to Washington state and back. During the trip the teenagers behaved like teenagers and there was quite a bit of complaining, also we had plenty of learning opportunities in this new experience. After that trip I did not think the teenagers would accompany us in any more trips. Since then we have gone in 3 more cross country trips and the teenagers actually signed themselves up for it. After coming back from our 2009 trip and the whole experience sinking in they realized how awesome it was! Since we are mixing in some cruising and visiting the mother lands as the children call it, we are not planning another big one until 2015, but I cannot wait! I am having a lot of fun reading through your site and using the information you have provided in my planning. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

AReich on March 5, 2016

I LOVE YOUR SITE!!!! IT'S A GEM!!! I happen to stumble across your site in my infinite hours of "researching" for our upcoming cross county road trip, Florida to Yellowstone, this Spring. I have found a wealth of information and your site has given me more confidence than I thought I could muster, travelling with 2 kiddos, 8 and 9. We recently bought a Class C (6 months ago and have only taken local weekend trips) but we are setting out for our grand 8 week adventure soon and I still have a few questions. We'd love to spend an extra night or two here and there but we won't be towing a car along. So my question is, how'd you guys do it? When you wanted to just explore a local area? Besides biking to nearby places, did you unhook and go? Did you rent a car? Have you ever thought, "Wish we had another form of transportation?" Also, did you boondock often or did you always overnight in a park? We've never gone without hookups and it causes me anxiety just thinking about not being able to shower or even drink water because we're dry. I know I should just relax and go with the flow but I am the mom and the "trip planner" and feel its up to me to have these answers and all my ducks in a row. We have a "proposed" itinerary, a few must sees and everything else we are just flying by the seat of our pants, but there are those few gnawing details that I can't get over. We wont be able to make this length of trip again for at least 2 or 3 years so I don't want to kick myself later for not having thought about it before hand. Thanks for such a phenomenal resource, I keep telling my husband, "...and then you know what LOLO did.....?"

Lolo on March 6, 2016

Thank you so so much for your very kind words about our website! I can definitely empathize with your anxiety over your first big trip and feeling like you are responsible for the entire family's happiness. I was the same way, and our early trips were only 3 or 4 weeks long. Now to your questions. For the first 14 years of our travels we did not tow a vehicle -- now we do, and I have to admit, it does make exploring much easier. However, we made due pretty well before. We love to bike, so we often used them to get around. Also, our motorhome is only 26 1/2 feet long, so we were actually able to fit in parking places with our back end hanging over a walkway a bit. Herb really didn't like driving it in big cities, but otherwise, we pretty much took it wherever we wanted to go. The West Coast and Canada are much more RV friendly than the East Coast, I think. Secondly, we had no problem dry camping for a couple of days. Usually, there was enough water for 3 or 4 days of quick showers and dish washing. The best advice I can give is to be flexible and have a good sense of humor, because things will go wrong -- they just become good stories later. If you have any questions when you get more into the details, don't hesitate to write and ask. You can use our Contact form to get in touch directly. Thanks again and happy travels!