Planning a Family-Friendly American Roadtrip

Planning a Family-Friendly American Roadtrip - Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, San Francisco with kids

In a few days we will be embarking on our big American Roadtrip adventure that we have been planning for several months. We are very excited (and currently a little overwhelmed)! Our dream holiday, and one I have been planning in my mind for several years, is finally a reality and all the times I imagined it I never actually considered the practicalities of five children on long car journeys, staying in different hotels every night.

The Itinerary

We are flying into Los Angeles Airport, and we will be travelling to Las Vegas, St George, Salt Lake, Reno, San Francisco, Yosemite, and back to Las Angeles via the Californian coast road. We chose to fly into Los Angeles because of the price and the flight times. A 10 hour direct flight is about all we were prepared to do with the children. At the time of booking, Sam was about 3 months old so it was difficult to imagine what it would be like to fly with a 10 month old. He is still really placid so I think we are going to be ok. On the way home he *might* be walking. Hopefully that won’t come with a full personality change though! When researching hotels, I decided to take it one day at a time. Each day I made one hotel booking. I used Expedia to find the hotels, sorted by price (lowest first!) and went down the list, comparing each one with Trip Advisor reviews. I would book the lowest priced room that had the most acceptable reviews.

Finding Activities

We are lucky enough to have family and friends who live in America so we asked on Facebook for suggestions for things to do. We had a good response, and were able to plan several days through their recommendations.

I also read blogs, and I bought a California guide book which I am planning on taking with me. It has been a great source of inspiration, and although it wasn’t really geared towards families it has helped familiarise myself with the areas we will be visiting.

It hasn’t been easy to find family activities that weren’t too expensive ($25 x 6 really adds up!) but I have found some things that we are all very excited about and I can’t wait to share them with you over the next few weeks.


Ok, ok, I’m organised, but I’m not that organised. We have six days to go! Max has already packed his bags – pants, pyjamas and a banana. Of course I removed the banana while he wasn’t looking but his cases have been sitting by the door for a week.

We can only fit 4 bags in our hire car, so we will have one bag for the things we don’t need very often. We are also taking the bare minimum – 2 pairs of shoes each, and everyone will pack jeans, t-shirts and hoodies because the weather will be different from one day to the next depending on where we are. A lot of the hotels we will be split into two rooms so we will pack in two’s based on who will be sharing rooms. I was hoping for a boys room, and a girls room… as if I would get away with that!!

The Long Roads Ahead

Travelling with kids nowadays is made easier with smart phones and tablets, I think we would all agree? We tried to break up the long drives with stop-offs and activities, but on some parts of the route there will be 5-7 hours of driving with nothing interesting to see or do. We love that the kids can download movies from Amazon and Netflix to watch on the go. Max loves the Toca Boca games from the App Store.

Probably the most important thing is snacks. All the snacks. I have bought enough baby friendly snacks for Sam on the flight, but we will definitely be buying our road trip snacks in America. It’s all part of the experience.

Visiting Family

But to top it all off – the most exciting thing about this holiday by far is the fact that I will be able to see my brothers and sister (and their families) who live in America and spend some quality time with them.

It is so sad for me that my children have not seen their cousins for 8 years. This is the picture I have from when they last met – those children are now aged between 14 and 8 (and there have been 11 more cousins born since then too!) Sadly they were too young to remember each other. I’m excited for them to spend some time together and get to know each other because family is so important. Hopefully we will find an opportunity in the near future to spend some time with their Danish cousins, too.

I hope you’ll stick around for the updates over the next few weeks, I have put a lot of planning into making this holiday fun for all ages. It’s going to be a good one!

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7 thoughts on “Planning a Family-Friendly American Roadtrip

  1. Oh how fun! I live in America but I live on the East coast and have always wanted to visit the west coast.. I can’t wait to see all of your photos. #ExplorerKids

  2. This sounds fantastic! I have never been to the states before but I love everything about it – hoping to follow this and see your adventures. #ExplorerKids

  3. I’m so excited for you! We are off to Italy this Easter and still I haven’t planned anything yet! No joke! I’m starting to feel the pain. It’s great that you have family over there and that you are making the trip count. Family IS so important and its so great that the kids are able to have that chance to connect. I look forward to reading all about your trip soon.

    Thank you very much for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids

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