Five Steps to Planning a Historical Road Trip
May 7, 2016
1. Pick a Theme
When it comes to planning a road trip, why not plan it around a historical theme? The United States is full of great options. Some examples are: The Lewis and Clark Trail, The Oregon Trail, Civil War Battlefields or California Missions. Not everything you plan to see has to closely align with the historical theme you choose of course, but if you plan the majority of stops and visits around a theme it will give your journey particular purpose.
2. Choose Your Points of Interest
Use travel sites like Tripadvisor and others, as well as travel blogs to select your points of interest. Lots of people have gone before you to do the exact thing you are setting out to do. Benefit from the experience of others. Don't reinvent the wheel. When choosing points of interest, make a note of opening days and hours. You want to make sure you don't show up to see something special only to discover that it's closed that day.
3. Choose Your Route
Once you have chosen your points of interest, plot them on a map. Personally, I like to use a real paper map. I just like the way I can view a large portion at once. You can purchase a large paper map from Amazon or your local bookstore. Printing a map from the internet is also an option. You can also plot points on a map electronically. The purpose is to be able to see a natural route to take. Most road trips will take you in a loop. But sometimes, a one-way route will make more sense (especially in the case of routes like The Lewis and Clark Trail or The Oregon Trail). In that case, consider flying into one airport and out of another. You can rent a car for one direction only. Use a site like Google Maps to figure driving times between points of interest. This will help you figure out what ground can be covered each day.
4. Prepare with Educational Resources
Enhance your travel experience and get the most out of what you'll be seeing by preparing ahead of time. You and your family will be able to absorb so much more. Find non-fiction, historical fiction, memories, documentaries, and movies on the subject and immerse yourselves. Even listening to books on Audible while you're traveling can help pass the time in the car and add to the experience of your trip.
5. Add in Some Fun and Rest Time
Lastly, it's important to plan some down time on your trip. Depending on the age of your children and everyone's stamina, you'll want to plan in some time to relax. For young children, I would recommend having down time each day, for older children maybe every other day or every third day would work well. A friend of mine who recently traveled through DC and Pennsylvania with her teenagers, planned two fun/relaxation days in the middle of a 10 day journey. The kids enjoyed a day at a big water park in the middle of trips to Gettysburg and Museums on the Mall.