By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
For children, moves are huge exciting adventures. Maybe a little bit scary, but ultimately an opportunity to experience something new. And we, as adults, can learn from that. Moving for most people is pretty stressful. You work hard for months finding a new place, packing everything you own, and preparing the house you're leaving to be left. When the big day comes to load up the truck and start out on your road trip to your new home, you're probably pretty worn down, stressed out and feeling like taking a long nap more than driving for several hours to unpack everything all over again.
But wait. You're missing the trees for the forest here. The moment you close up that truck to the moment it arrives (a few days later) at your new house: You are free. And even better, you're already packed up for a road trip with your family. Instead of seeing this as the last long trek of your moving ordeal, look at it as a vacation. A reward you give yourself and your kids for completing the difficult half of the move. And, you can do it easily without breaking the bank.
Today, we're here to share some tips on turning your long-distance move trip into a low-cost family vacation.
Picnic at Historical Markers
One of the easiest ways to add a little relaxation and fun to a necessary road trip is to have a picnic. At the "low, low cost" of a few sandwiches and sodas, you and the family can settle somewhere sunny with picnic tables and have a lovely afternoon. Our nation's highway system is absolutely covered in appealing little places to stop, have lunch, and let your kids run around for a while.
Our favorite are historical markers. Interesting places where something historical happened once. They often have a big sign, perhaps a statue, and a few tables next to a manicured grassy area for play. Some even have a playground or a small free museum nearby to make an afternoon of it.
Visit Small Town Tourist Attractions
But if you want to make this an inexpensive adventure your children will never forget, do a little searching for small-town tourist attractions. Take your children to a local fair for cotton candy and Ferris wheel rides at an enjoyably minimal cost. There are also hundreds of strange and delightful local attractions. Enormous balls of string, fun tours of local caves, petting zoos, and small-town water parks.
Your children can have so much fun discovering the joys of small-town America that they forget this road trip has a purpose other than vacationing. And, no matter how old and mature you are now, you're always allowed to enjoy riding Ferris wheels and petting llamas in the company of children.
Book a Charmingly Affordable Hotel
Of course, if you take time to play on the road trip, no doubt you will also need to find somewhere to sleep for a night or two along the way. And this doesn't have to be expensive either. Road tripping gives you the opportunity to stop in small towns hotels. You may notice these are more likely to have fresh fruit in the lobby, be brightly lit and well-cleaned, and maintain a higher quality at lower costs than city hotels. In other words, charmingly affordable.
You can often find a two-queen room with all the usual amenities for less than $75 a night. Or, with some creative searching in vacation rental platforms like Airbnb or VRBO, you just might find an inexpensive gem, a little cottage or nearby apartment for much less than the local hotel rates.
Tour Museums and Theme Parks
And if you really have time and a little extra moving budget to have fun, then you might commit to a full day of amazing times in a bigger attraction. You can surely find a children's interactive science museum where your kids can make enormous bubbles or crawl around inside an atomic model for the price of a family day pass.
You can even take your kids to a real theme park, just stay away from name brands, Medium-small cities often have a local theme park that is just as fun but less commercialized and costly than the big-name parks. If you know how to find one, your kids could have the time of their life riding roller coasters and playing games, making this move the best thing that's happened all year.
The road trip required for long-distance moving doesn't have to be a white-knuckled drive while your children fuss about being stuck in the car. Instead of stressing out, make a holiday of it! Stop at parks. Have picnics or go into restaurants. Book cozy small-town lodgings and find the cool lesser-known museums and theme parks to explore. And whatever you do, remember to kick your feet up at some point and relax before you get back behind the wheel.
This long-distance move could be the vacation you need before arriving at a new house to unpack and rebuild your family life somewhere new.
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