Every year our family heads from Hong Kong to the US for a two week road trip. How do we pick the state? We watch an episode of Man Vs. Food, get hungry and decide that’s where we want to eat.
2012 was an epic Texas BBQ adventure. 2013 was the year of Colorado for the reason below:
Our US road trips seem to inspire more holiday envy than anything else. Partly because of pictures of the food but for mainly because people are wary to do such a big trip with young kids. All I can say is – go for it! Jetlag & Mayhem is packed with tips from flying longhaul with kids to packing lists. If you played it safe with each trip, you’d never go anywhere. And you’d never get to eat things like this:
How do we pick our route?
This year was slightly complicated by the fact that our friends were joining us midway from San Francisco for a long weekend in Denver. I poured over guidebooks, devoured Colorado websites and then finally put it to the good people of the Tripadvisor forums ‘i have two weeks, two young kids, where should I go?’ Lo and behold, a few kind people mapped out a route for me.
I put a few tweaks to it (I’m lucky to have a neighbour from Colorado) and started planning our hotels and activities. If you’re a travel dork like me, you might want to have it all detailed in a handy spreadsheet.
How do I book hotels?
- When travelling with young kids, it’s difficult to be spontaneous so I booked 99% of my nights, knowing that I could cancel if I needed to. Although it can be cheaper to use a booking engine, if you book direct with the hotel, you can get a cancellable rate.
- Use Tripadvisor to read reviews and find a suitable hotel
- For stays of more than one night, book a ‘suites’ hotel like Embassy Suites and Residence Inn by Marriott. For less than the price of an expensive hotel room, you can give yourself more space with a separate living area where the kids can sleep and a kitchenette.
- If you want an apartment or house, check out airbnb. We booked through airbnb in Denver and stayed in a huge 5 bed house which was cheaper than two hotel rooms.
- Sign up to all your hotel loyalty schemes!
What activities do we do?
- You don’t need me to tell you that the internet is full of city guides and forums. Your local library will have guidebooks and friends are a fountain of knowledge.
- Visit the Visitor’s Centre! Ask the local people where to go, pick up a map and some discount coupons for activities.
- In the foyer of your hotel will be a selection of maps and leaflets with what’s on.
How far should we drive each day?
- That’s up to you. On our Colorado trip we drove 2-3 hours every other day. The kids were fine and it allowed us to make the most of our trip.
- Book a comfortable car. Negotiate a discount and make sure you get your loyalty points. Here are my tips on hiring a car in the US