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Road Trips

February 08, 2011

Chicago-to-Yellowstone National Park Family Road-Trip Advice: Announcing Our Next Travel Q&A Flight-Voucher Winner!

By awayblog

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PERFECT PIT STOP: Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills region of South Dakota (Stefano Salvetti/Photodisc/Getty)

"We are planning an extended family road trip in June from Chicago IL to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 6 children ages 11-2yrs. What is the most scenic route and how do we plan for it?" reader Sue M. of Springfield, IL, stepped up to the plate and offered her own detailed insights to the above query from one of our readers. And to thank her for her efforts, Sue is the winner of a free Delta Airlines flight voucher ($1,000-plus value!), the third of four that we’re awarding this year for the best reader-submitted advice on the Travel Q&A. Here is Sue’s answer :

"This is a great trip! I would take a route north and go through South Dakota and make a stop at Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills. Custer State Park is a must see! Don't miss Sylvan Lake and the Needles. Lots of easy hikes with great payoff! You only add about 75 miles by going the Northern Route and it is well worth it, because the southern route through Iowa and Nebraska offers little for sightseeing. Then you can go on through Yellowstone and down into Jackson Hole. Rapid City is about 13 hours from Chicago, so if you leave early you can do that in one day, and then it's an easy 7 1/2 hours onto Yellowstone. The kids will love Yellowstone and June is a great time to beat the crowds that come in July and August. The earlier in June that you are able to go, the fewer people and the more animals you will see! Jackson's Hole is only 2 hours south of Yellowstone and you will drive right through the Grand Tetons by going this way!"

For your chance to win our next airfare giveaway, share your best travel advice with your fellow travelers today! For more information about this giveaway, check out our contest-detail page here.

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Related Topics: News · Family Vacation · Road Trips · Travel Tips

July 29, 2010

Free Itineraries from Lonely Planet: How to Get Your Kicks on Route 66

By Guest Blogger

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Route 66 (Jeremy Woodhouse)

Snaking across the nation's belly, this fragile ribbon of concrete was the USA's original road trip, connecting Chicago with Los Angeles in 1926. Neon signs, motor courts, pie-filled diners, and drive-in theaters sprouted along the way. Many remain, and tracing Route 66 today is a time-warped journey through small town America.

Nostalgia and kitsch are your constant companions on the old thoroughfare. Nicknamed the "Mother Road" and "Main Street USA," Route 66 became popular during the Depression, when Dust Bowl migrants drove west in beat-up jalopies. After WWII, middle-class motorists hit the road for fun in their Chevys. Eventually bypassed by interstates, Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985. Driving it nowadays means seeking out blue-line highways and gravel frontage roads.

Continue reading "Free Itineraries from Lonely Planet: How to Get Your Kicks on Route 66" »

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Related Topics: Road Trips · US Travel

July 16, 2010

Trash and Treasure: Unclaimed Baggage Center

By Lacy Morris

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Suitcase(Gary S. Chapman_Photographers Choice_Getty)
(Gary S. Chapman)

After tiresome circling on the baggage claim carousal, a generous waiting period, and what we hope is a decent search for the owner, a good amount of unclaimed baggage ends up in Scottsboro, Alabama. Aside from an old freight depot, a historic flea market, and Payne's Soda Shop, the Unclaimed Baggage Center is the town's biggest draw. Founded in 1970 by a husband and wife team, the store quickly became their main source of income after they set out buying loads of unclaimed baggage and sorting out the trash from the treasure. The store now takes up an entire city block and houses everything from diamonds to socks. Some of the oddest items to come through their doors include a 40.95-carat emerald stone, a live rattlesnake, a guidance system for an F16 fighter jet, Egyptian artifacts found in an old Gucci suitcase, and a Barbie stuffed with $500. Read about more wonderful oddities like the Unclaimed Baggage Center in our Top Ten US Roadside Attractions article.



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July 09, 2010

Hit the Road With the Smithsonian's American Art Road Trip

Click on the image to see the full collage; image credits below the jump.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum just put out a cool summer road-trip package on Flickr, in which it’s encouraging travelers to contribute vacation snaps that map to 22 iconic canvasses from the museum’s collection. Landmarks include Niagara Falls, as painted by George Inness in 1885, and San Francisco Bay, depicted in a 1934 oil by Ray Strong. Just goes to show, the classics are timeless for a reason. Enjoy our tribute to the program above, with images from the library of travel photography. Enjoy, and happy travels this summer!

Continue reading "Hit the Road With the Smithsonian's American Art Road Trip " »

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · Road Trips · Travel Photography · Travel Websites

May 27, 2010

Tips for Taking a Road Trip

Road tripping
Classic Road Trip: Monument Valley (Jeremy Woodhouse/Photodisc/Getty)

With summer comes the triumphant return of the Great American Road Trip. From all-in-the-family everything-and-the-kitchen-sink cross-country journeys to connect-the-dot national park jaunts to an extended weekend to the nearest beach, the love of the open road never really goes out of style. But the hassles of the road can make things a bit more trying.

In an effort to help alleviate the road-weariness, experts at the Ford Motor Company have culled together some great travel tips to make the pesky details less a hassle.

Continue reading "Tips for Taking a Road Trip" »

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Related Topics: Cheap Trip Ideas · Cheap Vacation Ideas · Family Vacation · Road Trips · Travel Tips

February 24, 2010

Sites We Like:


I met Scott Dunn and his wife, Jill Richards, on a press trip to Phoenix, Arizona, last November. Scott, a mellow, no-nonsense Tennessean, was the PR guy for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau; his West Coast wife was a photographer for the Arizona Republic. At the time they were planning a 12-month road trip hiatus to celebrate their first year of marriage, a dream that you can now follow at 12LegsTravel after they packed their few possessions, two mutts, and a handful of Scott's favorite books into their truck on New Year's Eve 2009. Enjoy stunning vistas of the American Southwest—more states to come as they head toward Mississippi and Louisiana, where Jill worked as a photojournalist after Katrina—as well as Scott's finely crafted insights about life out on the open road. And I'm not just shilling for a couple whose company I happened to enjoy over several days in and around Phoenix. In an online world saturated with travel opinions, information, and self-reflective narratives, shines an intimate light on what it means to travel through landscapes you cherish with the people (and animals) you love. Join them for the adventure.

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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road · National Parks · Outdoor Adventures · Road Trips · Travel Websites

September 24, 2009

Top Five Tips From a Five-Month Family Road Trip

By Guest Blogger

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A family of five stuck together in an RV for five months?  Most people shake their heads and have one question: "Why on earth would you want to do that?" When the economy started to falter, my husband's real-estate development company began to follow suit. Hard as it might be to believe, a feeling of excitement is what I felt, followed by a sharp stab of guilt. I quickly realized that the excitement was really just a feeling of overwhelming opportunity. With change, good or bad, comes opportunity if you look for it. Time is a precious commodity and we found ourselves in a rare moment where we actually had time, and we knew it may never come again. The moment seemed even more perfect because of the ages of our three children (11, 8, and 6). After eager thoughts of moving to another country were shot down by my husband, we arrived at a shared enthusiasm for hitting the road to explore all that this great country has to offer. An RV was our chosen method of travel. We created a website to help communicate about the experience at

After five months in an RV with a family of five, here are five tips that I'm sure can help any family road trip.

Continue reading "Top Five Tips From a Five-Month Family Road Trip " »

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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road · Family Vacation · Outdoor Adventures · Road Trips · Travel Tips

September 22, 2009

Ideas for Fall Travel

By Karen Chen

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FallCountryRoadTuckerCo,WV-Fall foliage on a country road (courtesy, West Virginia Tourism)

Happy first day of fall! Here at we lament the fact that summer often gets all the attention, what with its abundance of festivals, concerts, fairs, summer holidays and vacations—and that little thing called warm weather.  But fall has its own seasonal perks. Along with the spectacular reds, yellows, and oranges that color the landscape each fall, you can look forward to apple picking, pumpkin festivals, Oktoberfest homages to beer, and even hot-air balloon festivals.  Cooler temps also provide a respite from the heat in areas of the South and Southwest, as well as a break from the crowds that flock to popular vacation spots during the summer months. So throw on a jacket and head for trails, forests, farms, and small towns to enjoy the best the season has to offer.  To get you inspired, check out some of's resources for autumn travel.

- Fall Foliage Guide: Find tons of fall travel ideas by region, and a state-by-state guide for prime leaf-peeping times.

- Top Ten Rail-Trails for Fall Foliage: We teamed up with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to pinpoint ten perfect rail-trails for experiencing fall’s changing colors.

- Top Ten Autumn Escapes: Fall's Best Forests: Where better to absorb the stunning beauty of fall's foliage than in our national forests?

- Top Fall Hikes: Hiking Expert Karen Berger shares her picks for the best fall hikes in the country.

- Scenic Drives Guide: Scope the autumn scene from the comfort of your car. Get the best roadside views on these itineraries for drives around the country and all over the world.

- Fall Foliage Photo Gallery and Screensaver: Discover some extra motivation to get out and witness the colors of the season.

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · Road Trips · Top 10 Lists · Trip Ideas

March 02, 2009

California Coast: Lost in Beauty

COASTING THROUGH: View of the California coast at MacKerricher State Park (Stockbyte)

There's no denying the spectacular scenery of Big Sur on the central Californian coast, the way the serpentine road hugs the cliffs as you're practically swallowed up by the expanse of the Pacific. But I'm surprised more families don't venture north of San Francisco on Highway 1 to Mendocino and onward to the Avenue of the Giants and the Lost Coast, where the lightly-traveled and rugged shoreline is backed by dozens of peaks. Just outside the town of Weott, Avenue of the Giants is that special place you've seen on postcards where you drive through the trunks of massive redwood trees, some reaching mind-boggling heights of 350 feet. Then it's on to the Victorian houses of Eureka, the gateway to the Lost Coast, the only stretch of California shoreline that doesn't have a major highway near the beach. Stay at the affordable Bayview Motel, which starts at $91 a night and overlooks Humboldt Bay. 

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Related Topics: California Travel · Family Vacation · Road Trips · Trip Ideas

April 24, 2008

Trip of a Lifetime: Biking the Pan-American Highway with Ten-Year-Old Twins

By Guest Blogger

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In our line of work, we get to hear about some amazing travel adventures, and this week's guest blogger, Nancy Sathre-Vogel, is about to undertake one of the most incredible and admirable yet: a 20,000-mile, 30-month bike journey down the Pan-American Highway with her husband and ten-year-old twins. Follow the family's preparations and journey at

"Hey, Davy! Get your math book, would ya?" I asked my ten-year-old son as I sat beneath a towering cardón cactus somewhere in Baja California, Mexico. Rummaging through one of my bike panniers, Davy retrieved his math book from its storage place next to our cooking skillet before joining me on our tarp for his lesson on fractions.

His education may not be a traditional one but, we believe, it's the best thing going.  Davy and his twin brother, Daryl, spent their entire third grade year (in 2006-07) bicycling 9,300 miles around the U.S. and Mexico, learning from the best teacher there is, Mother Nature herself. And now they are getting ready to head back out to spend Grades 5, 6, and 7 on the road.

My family (including our boys, my husband, me, and our dog) will begin pedaling from the northern terminus of the Pan-American Highway in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, on June 8, and we'll keep our bike tires pointed south for the next 30 months or so until we arrive at the southernmost point on the same road in southern Argentina. If all goes to plan, our boys will become the new Guinness World Record holders as the youngest people to cycle the Pan-American Highway.

Continue reading "Trip of a Lifetime: Biking the Pan-American Highway with Ten-Year-Old Twins" »

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Related Topics: Family Vacation · Outdoor Adventures · Road Trips

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