5 Tips For The Perfect Weekend-Long Road Trip

Getting ready for a weekend warrior trip to Moab, UT!  Photo Credit: Susie Kellogg
Getting ready for a weekend warrior trip to Moab, UT! Photo Credit: Susie Kellogg

As a full-time traveling family, so many people want to know how they can do the same, it’s probably one of the top, if not the top, questions we are asked.

Obviously, you need a mobile job, one you can work from virtually anywhere in the world.  Barring that, you need to be either 1) independent wealthy or 2) have incredibly bomber saving skills since you were young.

So I started thinking, that perhaps extended, full-time travel may not be possible for most families, but the weekend road trip to epic spots in your state, or the surrounding states certainly is attainable!

I mean, how many of us have really traveled around our home states?  It’s probably more likely that we’ve left those destinations “for later” since they seem so accessible, right?  I mean, until last summer, we hadn’t done a tremendous amount of travel in the state of CO, and let me tell you, I could spend years road tripping around this state.

So, in an effort to encourage all of us to be, at the very least, weekend warriors in our own home states, I put together a list of travel trips specific to cooler weather.  Imagine if you allocated one weekend per month, or even two or three or four, for a road trip.  To me that sounds like one heck of a New Year’s Resolution!

Check/Maintain Your Vehicle

Before heading out on a road trip, the greatest precautionary step you can take is to ensure your vehicle is as ready as you are.  Check your tires, your oil, your mirrors, your lights, and be sure you’ve kept your vehicle at least minimally maintained.  Don’t forget other seemingly small things either, like the windshield wiper fluid.  Just the other day, two of our teens took off on a daytrip to Copper Mountain for some early season snowboarding and they didn’t check the windshield wiper fluid and in the mountains in late fall, you are going to have nasty roads and need that fluid.  They had to pull over a few times, before they hit an exit where they could buy some fluid, to wipe the windshield with snow!  Don’t forget the fluid!

Pack Appropriately

Sometimes, no matter how meticulously we prepare our vehicles, our cars break down.  It’s just a fact of life, you know? It’s always wise to pack extra blankets, snow boots, gloves and hats and even an extra coat or two, just in case the unthinkable happens miles away from help.   My in-laws were returning home from a trip from Sedona, AZ and left Va when it was warm and did not think to pack these things and of course, their Subaru tanked a few miles West of Cisco, UT.  If you know anything about the I70 corridor through Utah, you know there are no services for about 100 miles and little to no cell service.  They were extremely lucky in that they were able to call out for help.  They called a tow truck and my dear husband, who picked them up in Grand Junction, fixed their alternator and got them on their merry way.  Should this have happened in an area where they couldn’t call for help, they would have had to hunker down in their car and the blankets and extra coats and hats would have come in handy.  And if, God forbid, you ever have to walk to find help, cell service or whatever, those boots will be a gift to yourself!  A little extra packing, goes a long way to giving you peace of mind!

Cheap Gas

This is on everyone’s mind as the price of gas can make or break your vacation, be it a mini getaway or an extended retreat, finding the cheapest gas is the goal for all travelers!  I tell you, look no further Gas Buddy.  Gas Buddy is a realtime provider of fuel pricing information!  All you need to do is download the app and search the results for the cheapest gas in your location!  Thanks to the millions of people who visit GasBuddy and post real time gas prices, you can now route your trip according to where the lowest priced fuel is located!  Luckily, gas prices are down 7.6 cents from last week and a whopping 15.2 cents from last month!  How do I know?  I looked on Gas Buddy!!  (http://media.gasbuddy.com/)

Be Adaptable

Road trips are about having fun, right?  They aren’t a syllabus to be followed point by point, so be sure to relax and be laissez faire, road tripping is often more about the journey than it is the destination.  Be on the lookout for cool things to stop and do, like scenic overlooks or a wicked liquor store or a locals recommended restaurant, maybe even the perfect sledding hill.  Being adaptable and veering off your schedule is fun, exciting and spontaneous and, believe it or not, is where some of the best magic occurs!  Relaxing and going with the flow on vacation is a great prep for doing so in real life.  I can assure you, being chill while traveling has seriously taught me about what is important and life and what is not.


When it’s all said and done a road trip with the family is supposed to be unscripted and all about family bonding and fun.  But what’s more, is that unbeknownst to your kids, there is a plethora of education to be uncovered on a simple family road trip.  Involving the kids in the planning and handing over the GPS to them so they can discover some of the hidden gems along the way is priceless character building.  Maybe even include them on the budgeting so they will understand when you can’t hit the Go Karts and the indoor water park and eat out and everything else their little hearts may desire, Every. Single. Day.  Oftentimes, too, it’s the free adventures that are the best — the winter hike, the snowball fight, the cross country skiing, the hot chocolate around the fire telling stories.  Make your own memories with your families this winter that will stay with your kids for all eternity!

The best winter road trip involves winter sports like skiing and snowboarding!
The best winter road trip involves winter sports like skiing and snowboarding!


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