For Kids ONLY: Roadtrips…What’s the Big Idea ANYWAY?

“A road trip again?!?!!  Mom, I don’t want to sit in a car for a million hours ever again!!!”

Why does the road always look so endless?

Have you ever had this feeling when your parent announced what your next family vacation was going to be?  Trips don’t sound good right off the bat, but you have to give them a chance. Maybe it’s a one week winter break trip or a trip just for the weekend. Take it from me, I’m on a two year road trip!

Sometimes it seems its just your car and the road…nothing exciting to see except for sagebrush and gray rocks. Or is there more?

You’re right, sitting in the backseat of a car watching the grey road swish by isn’t that exciting.  Neither is counting how many out of state license plates you can find.  However, you can make it exciting. I’m not suggesting you bring or download loads of games to play or books to read.  I think you can have an awesome road trip if you make the trip into something you want it to be.

Lots and lots of days looking at the van.

Now, how can you possibly turn your parents’ trip into your trip???

Well, are you interested in animals?  Do you like swimming?  Do you like climbing mountains?  Or do you like learning new crafts or ancient myths and legends?  Whatever it is you like, this is what your road trip is going to be about.  

STEP 1: Choose your thing (cool local legends, animals, flowers, swimming holes, mountains, or crafting) and focus on this one thing everywhere your family stops.  

I really like climbing mountains and geology.  I like to look out the window and wonder, how did that big mountain get made?  I wonder how long it would take to climb that mountain? I’m really lucky to be traveling in Argentina, South America right now because this is where the Andes Mountains are!  The tallest peak in North and South America is in Argentina, and you can drive up close to it!

STEP 2: Ask your parent as many questions as you can to test their knowledge and learn all you can from them.  The more you know, the easier it is to learn more.

My husband knows a lot about climbing mountains because he has traveled to and hiked in New Zeland, Nepal, several European countries, and all over the United States.  He has a lot of experience about how to hike mountains.  I ask him how long it would to take climb a mountain or when would be the best time.  This helps me be curious about the mountains I see outside my window.

However, mountains are far apart and I don’t always get to see cool geology outside my window, so I have to do other things to keep my enthusiasm going.  

STEP 3: Make it your own, document it!

  1. I keep a journal and scrapbook where I write what I enjoyed when we visited a certain place. It’s like a memory that I can look back on later and know exactly how it felt to be there.  I can also draw pictures or glue in memorabilia (things I collected, like admission tickets or cool flowers)
  2. I take lots of pictures so that I can remember what an amazing place the world is.


  1. I write a blog to share experiences with my family and friends when I see something really cool!  It’s also a great way to show off your awesome pictures!

STEP 4: Keep the excitement going even when it’s over.

  1. I talk to people to ask them what cool mountains or geology they have seen.
  2. On this trip I am reading 3 different guide books to learn about what I have seen or what I should see.  This also helps me dream about other trips I want to take!

STEP 5: Ask yourself: Are you having a better road trip?  I hope so!!!

Now you know how to think like an explorer. Do you feel like this will help you have a better time on your next road trip? Seize the next family trip as an adventure!  Do you have any questions or wonderings about what it’s like to travel in a van? Ask me anything!

50 Replies to “For Kids ONLY: Roadtrips…What’s the Big Idea ANYWAY?”

  1. My Inner Child is excited and would like to get out of this cold weather and join you. But Snow here is cool too! It’s just starting to come down! Maybe we can build a snowman? 🙂 M

    1. Yes to the inner child, there is lots to learn from our tendencies as kids! We will soon be in windier and somewhat colder territory…it has been awesome to see the snow in Portland! I hope your home sweet home is fixed up and cozy in no time!

    2. you should build a iglol

      1. Hi Jesse- now there is an idea! There isn’t a ton of snow right now because it is the summer season currently. However, I have built a snow cave before at Mt. Rainier in the winter…it’s a lot of work!!! You need a steep hillside with at least 5 feet of hard snow. Try it out!

  2. This 82-year-old “child” stole a look at the pictures. (I think this comes close to being agism.) 🙂

    1. Glad you’re disobeying rules! Always good to break a couple of them!

  3. Samuel McAtee says: Reply

    this helps a lot!

  4. That so cool!!!!! I wish I could go there and have fun.

    1. Hi Jake! Thank you for posting your comment!

      You are lucky that we live in the Seattle area, it is very similar to what kids living in Argentina and Chile experience. LOTS of tall mountains, rivers, rain, and cool summers.

      It might take a lot of time, but I bet if you planned out a trip to South America, you could make it happen too!

  5. I love all the photos! It looks so nice and beautiful. Have fun in South America!

  6. Samuel McAtee says: Reply

    you guys look like you are having fun i wish i could see the sights and sounds that you guys are expierencing

  7. that trip looks fun, have you seen any cool wildlife

    1. Yes! We have seen many birds, sea birds and land birds. Seagulls, ducks, ibis, geese, woodpeckers, parakeets, rhea (ostrich type birds) and many condors! We have also seen a smaller deer, fish, beavers, muskrats, and penguins! Thank you for the great question! I’ll have to post pictures of them!

  8. No fair! I wish I was on a roadtrip!

    1. Perhaps you can convince your parents? There are LOTS of places to see in Washington!

  9. Samuel McAtee says: Reply

    I really like looking at the pictures you guys have taken it looks so cool!!!!

  10. have you seen any glaciers

    1. Yes we have seen many! Glaciar Exploradores, several glaciers on the Southern Icefield and Northern Icefield, Perito Moreno and many from the roadside! I hope to include pictures of them in future blog posts.

  11. Parker Holladay says: Reply

    What is the coolest thing you guys have done? Also is there any differences in South America than North America? You guys are so lucky!!!!!

    1. Hi Parker, thanks for your comment! You are right, we are definitely fortunate to be able to go on a trip like this!

      The coolest thing for me thus far has been hiking and seeing exotic animals…I hope to post a blog about this next!

      You asked a really great questions! There are MANY differences between North and South America, but there are also MANY similarities! Right now we have only traveled in Argentina and Chile. The geography here is quite similar (I was surprised by some of the forests-they feel exactly like ours in Seattle), there are LOTS of mountains, many rivers, deserts, plains, and farmland. A couple of the differences I feel most are in the culture. People are very easy going here, family time is very important, but it is also a very expensive country because in small cities people have a hard time finding jobs.

      I also like your question because this is one of the things I’m looking forward to discovering myself!

  12. That is so interesting I really like that picture of the rock. It is really fascinating!!

    1. Thanks Arthur! Geology is so cool! We met two travelers who are geologists. They work at finding oil locations under the ground. It was really neat to hear them explain how mountains form and why rocks look the way they do!

  13. That is so cool I wish I could go there! Also what animals did you see?

    1. Hi Jaxon, we have seen lots of animals. Stay tuned for our next blog posts, they will be about animals and glaciers!

  14. What kind of flower is that?

    1. Hi Caleb! That is a lupine flower. (I think this is the photo you commented on). These flowers help to rebuild the soil after a fire. As you can see, there are lupines of every color in Argentina! We have a lot of purple ones in Washington. The bees love them!

  15. sounds cool!This helps a lot.

  16. Wow that is such a great opportunity I wondering what you are doing next in the trip!!!

    1. Katie, you’re right this is an opportunity of a lifetime! Next we will begin traveling north up the Argentinian coast, we’ve reached “the end of the world/road” at Ushuaia. On the coast there are supposed to be penguins and elephant seals you can see there! I can’t wait! I hope they make an appearance for us!

  17. Liam Houghtom says: Reply

    everything looks so cool. Is it cold there?

    1. Hi Liam, yes some days when we are nearby glaciers or at high altitudes we are cold, but it is generally 60° and overcast. I’ve become very curious about weather since we started our trip. It’s not that straightforward! For example in Seattle, as with the Andes mountain range down here, the moist Pacific air rises up against the mountains and causes rainfall on the west side of the range. On the east side there are desert-like conditions and totally different flora! We are looking forward to journeying north towards the equator, it will be much hotter there! I think Peru will have the sweet spot for weather.

  18. sound fun!wish i could go there!

  19. Woah, you must be having tons of fun! Some of the places you’ve seen are absolutely stunning based on the photos posted here. I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

    1. Yes, we are being WOWed by the views, the birds, and the people! It’s really interesting to learn how other people live and what their traditions are. Everyday is a great learning opportunity for us!

  20. thanks so much for the info! looking at all the pictures is awesome! I would love to go on a road trip.

    1. Thank you Elspeth! Road trips are a great way to see other places. I prefer it much more than flying for vacation. Where would you like to go on your first road trip???

  21. These pictures look amazing! I hope you are having an amazing time! Although we do miss you here, Mrs. LaVielle! I absolutely love the pictures of the animals and wildflowers, they are beautiful and look professional! 🙂

    1. Awww, Thank you Abby! We are having a blast and are experiencing new things all the time! I will keep taking flower pictures…the animal ones are so hard to capture sometimes, but I’m learning a lot about photography!

  22. I bet waiting in that car felt about like 6 hours

  23. I really liked the one picture with all the ice. I hope you keep on taking picture (-=

  24. That looks like a cool trip. I wish I could be there when you saw that volcano that looked awesome. One Question, when you were on the trip did it seen like you were in the car forever. Hope you had a good time

    1. Teyton! Good to hear from you! I think you would get a big kick out if the volcano too! It’s wild to see smoke and think it yourself, there is lava bubbling inside!

      Yes, some days the driving seems like it takes forever. But, it is usually on days when the landscape doesn’t vary much…in the dry areas of deep forests. When I start getting bored, that’s a sign it’s time to get out of the car and explore on foot!

      1. Would you prefer exploring on foot or in your car? Did you encounter any animal that was viscous.

        1. That’s a good question. You get to see really neat things on foot, but you don’t always move quickly… I think on foot is better. it’s much easier to see wildlife!

          As for vicious animals, lizards and mosquitoes! I will definitely write more about animals we’ve seen!

  25. It’s cool that you get to travel to cool places. I like seeing all the pictures and I wish some day I can go to those places. Hope you have fun on the rest of your trip.

    1. Thank you Ashley! We are having a blast and we are so happy we get to share it with Hilltop kids! I hope you can come to visit South America as well. It is such a varied group of countries!

  26. WOW! I wish i could be there. Have you climbed any mountains recently? If you have, how long did it take? I wish i could be there and join in the fun. Keep it up.

    1. A trip like this is a big adventure! Yes, we have climbed several peaks, the hikes range from 20 mins to 9 hours of hiking in one day.

  27. Those are amazing picture looks like you guys are having fun!;)

    1. Thank you Kamden! We certainly are. I hope this inspires you to get outside and discover our Pacific Northwest woods!

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