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Published June 28, 2012, 11:30 PM

Five Things Friday: 5 tips for taking road trips with children

FARGO – A family road trip to a natural outdoor destination can be a gift children will cherish for life, said author and father of three Michael DiLorenzo.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

Editor’s note: “5 Things Friday” is a weekly feature in SheSays that will run on – you guessed it – Fridays. It will focus on quick tips, ideas, activities and more – all in bunches of five. If you have a “5 Things Friday” suggestion, contact us at shesays@forumcomm.com.

FARGO – A family road trip to a natural outdoor destination can be a gift children will cherish for life, said author and father of three Michael DiLorenzo.

“This is a shared experience and one that will be talked about during family gatherings for years to come,” he said. “For busy parents, this is a time to savor their children’s youth.”

It’s also a chance to get children outside and away from their computers, said DiLorenzo, who wrote “Adventures with Jonny: Road Trip to the Parks!”

DiLorenzo created the “Adventures with Jonny” series to entertain and educate children and parents about the activities available in the great outdoors.

“There are parks in every state,” he said. “If you don’t have the time or money to go cross country, pick a park closer to home.”

To help make family road trips an enjoyable experience, DiLorenzo offers the following five tips for the road:

GAMES ON THE GO

While there is ample technological entertainment for both drivers and riders in cars these days, if your goal is to spend time bonding with the family, opt for games that encourage kids to look out the window. DiLorenzo suggests what he calls “a fun, albeit off-color game” called “Road Kill Round-Up.” Points are awarded for the first person to spot an animal and the first person to correctly identify the species. Points are subtracted for a false road-kill call or for misidentifying the animal.

BEWARE OF DAIRY DRINKS AND OTHER SMELLY SNACKS

A backseat spill can eventually create quite a stink during a summer road trip, so avoid dairy drinks or other snacks that could smell if spilled. Do pack plenty of healthy snacks to save on pricey pit stops and avoid the sugar and salt in junk food.

AVOID BIG-CITY RUSH HOURS

When traveling through metropolitan areas, consider the busiest traffic periods. Whether you plan to stop and check out the city or simply zip through it, a bit of pre-planning can save your family hours stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, DiLorenzo said.

TECH HELP

Various apps and websites can help drivers find the cheapest gas prices, food options, hotel rates and travel routes. But remember to leave work at home and ignore work-related calls, texts and emails while on vacation.

SCHEDULE PIT STOPS

When traveling across states and provinces, consider local culture. Enjoy diners and unique attractions, and don’t be afraid to take notes, DiLorenzo said.

“The greatest family memories are created in shared adventure,” he said. “Outdoor recreation is filled with these memories just looking for a family to bring them home.”

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