Rules for that big family trip
Highland Park High School graduates Brad Herzog and wife Amy (left) of Pacific Grove, Calif., talk to Beth Engleman of Glenview about the couple's upcoming six-week cross country trip to promote traveling by recreational vehicle. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Herzog Family RV “Road Trip” tips
R – RESEARCH
Start at GoRVing.com to view options for types of RVs, where to go and what to do.
O – ORGANIZE TO MAXIMIZE
Planning well actually allows for spontaneity.
A – APPRECIATE THE JOURNEY
The big windshield of an RV is like a movie of America unfolding before your eyes.
D – DINE IN
Save money, eat healthy. Dining out should be an option, not an obligation.
T – TIME IT WELL
Pay attention to time of year, time of day when planning a visit.
R – RELAX
Take advantage of the comforts of home – kitchen, beds, TVs, bathroom.
I – INTELLECTUALIZE
RV trips, when done right, can be education disguised as entertainment.
P – PACE YOURSELF
You’re in control of the pace. So remember: It’s the journey, not the destination.
Blenderiffic Avocado Soup
The Herzogs save money by making their own meals including this summer soup recipe.
1 Seedless Cucumber (chopped)
1-2 Avocados (mashed)
quarter cup Plain Low-fat Greek Yogurt
2 Tbs Fresh Mint (chopped)
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) Salt
Several sprigs of Fresh Mint (for garnish)
In a blender combine cucumber, avocado, yogurt and chopped mint until soup is a light green color.
Place in refrigerator for a few hours.
Serve soup chilled and garnish with a few sprigs of mint.`
Updated: October 29, 2012 11:56AM
When it comes to taking road trips, Brad and Amy Herzog are gold medal champions.
The Highland Park natives and parents of two have spent the last 16 summers driving across country in an RV. For Brad, hitting the road has become both a vacation and a vocation as the award-winning author has penned three travel memoirs that cover his journeys through small-town America. I recently had a chance to meet up with the Herzogs and asked them to share their best tips and tricks for hitting the road with kids.
“It sounds somewhat paradoxical,” said Brad, “but I think the more carefully you plan a trip, the more opportunity you have for spontaneity.” To free up your schedule, Brad recommends doing as much advance research as possible. That way you’ll know which places to “hit” and which places to “skip.” When it comes to planning with your kids, consider their interests and hobbies. For example, Cooperstown is the perfect spot for a baseball fan and Dinosaur, Colo. is ideal for a paleontologist-in-training. When planning, the Herzogs also recommend creating a trip-long scavenger hunt, which will require your kids to find location-specific objects (moon rock at Kennedy Space Center, polar bear at the Sacramento Zoo, etc.) at every stop.
“The freedom to change your mind and travel on your own terms is the key to any road trip,” said Brad. “There have been several times when we planned to travel far one day, but then came upon a random small town festival and decided to spend the afternoon there instead.” Another tip? “Don’t let bad weather deter you. You can’t control the weather, but you can control where you point yourself.”
Pack for Comfort
When it comes to packing, the Herzog’s mantra is “go for comfort.” Amy always makes sure her kids have their favorite blankets, games, movies and books. Being on the road for six weeks can be an eternity to a young child, so bringing the comforts of home can make a huge difference. To add an element of surprise, the Herzogs always pack some extra “goodies” such as new movies, books or games.
Skip the Tourist Traps
To cut down on costs, the Herzogs recommend skipping the tourist traps such as overpriced gift shops, restaurants and concession stands. Alternatively, they make a point of taking plenty of pictures, which can later be used as special keepsakes for their boys.
They Herzogs also travel with a blender so they can make breakfast smoothies and summer soups inexpensively and with ease.
Make Memories that Last
Whether you’re hiking through the Grand Tetons or walking through George Washington’s home, your kids are gaining important life experiences. To add greater meaning, keep a family journal of your adventures or play a daily round of “Peaks and Pits” where each player names the best and worst thing of the day. You can also get creative by writing a family blog, making a comic book of your travels or creating a trivia game based on facts learned throughout the trip. The Herzogs recommend watching videos of old TV shows that deal with exploration such as “Star Trek Voyager” or “From the Earth to the Moon.” They also try to incorporate classic literature into their travels such as reading aloud “Tom Sawyer,” as they work their way through Hannibal, Mo. (Mark Twain’s hometown). For more information and travel tips, visit www.Bradherzog.com and be sure to read Brad’s family’s travel blog at www.GoRVing.com.