This post is by regular contributor Tricia Hogbin of Little Eco Footprints.
I used to dread long car trips but a change in attitude, a little planning, some snacks and a thermos of tea (just like my Gran used to pack) have helped me embrace the journey.
I’ve learnt to love family road trips.
Journeys often take us many hours more than they should, but what are a few hours in the scheme of things?
Instead of rushing to our destination we take the time to experience a few locations along the route and don’t let the anticipation of arrival undermine the pleasure of the journey. Taking time to stop regularly also means less grizzling – from parents and kids.
Here’s a few of my favourite ways to make the most of the journey:
1. Stop at farm gate stalls or a pick your own farm.
Do a little research before you leave and see if there are any pick-your own farms along your route. You can search for pick your own farms using PickYourOwn.org and there’s also Pickit.com.au for Australia.
2. Stay at a farm stay.
Instead of staying in a motel or racing to your destination in a single day – take a little detour and stay at a farm stay for a night. You’ll feel like you had a whole extra holiday. You can search for Australian farm stays using Stayz.
3. Stretch your legs in a national park or botanic garden
You’ll need to stop to stretch your legs – why not do it somewhere beautiful like a national park or botanic garden. Check out a map before you leave and see if there are any along the way.
4. Eat at a local café or restaurant.
Steer clear of the road-side fast food joints. They’re the same in every town and city, but if you detour to a nearby town and eat in a local café or restaurant you’ll get a feel for the place (and likely enjoy a tastier and healthier meal).
5. Pop into an antique store or museum.
I love small town antique stores and museums. They are a great place to chat to my daughter about the ‘olden days’ and sneak in a little history lesson.
6. Find a new to you playground.
Playgrounds are another good place to stop. We use playgroundfinder.com to identify playgrounds with toilets along our route and have found some amazing playgrounds that we otherwise wouldn’t have known existed.
7. Visit a library
On longer trips we visit a library – a great place to stop because they’re air conditioned, calm, free, and have power points to charge cameras, phones and laptops
Where do you stop when travelling? Do you speed through towns without a second glance or do you embrace adventure and explore new places?