When we were planning our road trip from Southern California to Washington, we fondly reflected on road trips from our past, but also feared endless hours of crying and screaming from our 2 1/2 year old Ethan. That fear motivated us to plan ahead. In the process we found several great travel planning sites that helped us think through all aspects of the trip, from car activities to snacks to good places to take a break. Here are a few of the sites we found useful:
www.momsminivan.com - activities, games and trips for traveling with kids.
www.travelingwithkids.com - internet store specializing in travel products for kids - their best feature is that the activities are categorized by age. They also have an articles section with lots of great tips.
www.aaa.com - AAA members can easily create a multiple day itinerary online using Trip Tik (under "Travel by Car"). Get detailed maps with stops along the way including hotels, gas, restaurants and more. If you are planning far enough in advance, you can request a bound copy.
www.randmcnally.com - online itinerary planning, like AAA Trip Tik
www.roadfood.com - find authentic local restaurants and avoid generic fast food and chains while traveling
www.citysearch.com - online guides for larger cities
City Websites Search google for your destination city or for cities along the way to find a list of parks (many city websites have pictures of the parks as well as info about bathrooms, playgrounds, etc.)
Mom's/Parent's (i.e. MOMS Club) group websites. They can give you a locals view of kid-friendly parks and activities. While planning a trip to San Francisco we came across a great site that had detailed pictures and information of all of the parks in the city.
Share your favorite family travel resources in the comments below. The first person who comments will receive a free ticket to the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. Be sure to identify yourself in the comments so we know where to send the ticket.