We get asked a lot how we come up with our action packed trip itineraries with our family. Good planning in advance and flexibility on the road are key. Once we set our key destinations, we really work backwards from there to hit some great spots. However, once the plans are made, we don’t stress if things don’t work out. When you get the flu while in NYC, guess what, you might lose a day of sight seeing. When your truck breaks down dry camping in Big Bend, guess what, you might miss out on that river float. However, there is no reason to let that ruin your adventure! We are planning a family trip for the summer, so we thought this was a great opportunity to share our process!
Step 1 – Chose that big destination!
Once you know where your big moment is going to be, that makes a huge difference. Currently, we are LOVING the national parks. Grand Canyon is on every travelers bucket list, and only Brian has been there. It is time for us all to see it. We have also learned that we ready to slow down the pace and spend more time at top destinations. So, we are starting with two pieces of information: Grand Canyon and more time in top spots.
Step 2 – Check the route for other adventures!
On the way from Houston to Grand Canyon, there are only about 4,209 amazing things to see! Well, we may be a exaggerating a little, but there are certainly lots of great options.
One really cool idea is to take two different routes: one on the way there, and a different one on the way back. The slowest route, which is about an hour longer, takes you right by two other national parks – Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains. It also takes us near two amazing state parks for swimming – Balmorhea, which we have never done, and Bottomless Lakes, which we absolutely love. So, we know that is route is definitely happening either on the way there or the way back!
The fastest route takes us right by Dallas, where Clay’s favorite restaurant, Eatzi’s will certainly force a stop for us. Then, it passes near the US’s second largest canyon in northern Texas at Palo Duro Canyon State Park! It goes so well with a Grand Canyon trip that we will definitely hit this spot.
Ultimately, we make the trip about more than one destination. It is not two days of non-stop driving to hit one big destination. We make lots of stops to see great things. Then, we find those places where we will return again and again!
Step #3 – Eat at great restaurants!
Even though we are traveling with the travel trailer, we find a way to eat at great restaurants on the way. Fast food is guaranteed to leave you feeling sluggish, which is the last thing you need on a long drive! But, how do we find good places and figure out parking?! First, check Trip Advisor! Pick your city, click restaurants, and sort by a metric that is important to you! We like to sort by local cuisine.
Then, you can click the map feature to see which restaurants are on your intended route. We never go more than a few miles off the route.
How do we do this while pulling a travel trailer? Here is your hack!! On your map, you can click the little “i” and switch to satellite view! This is a game changer. You can make sure that their parking lot will work for your rig! This has been amazing for us!
What are your travel hacks?!