Michael A. DiLorenzo created the “Adventures with Jonny” series to promote outdoor activities for children and parents. He is a father of one son (the inspiration for Jonny) and two daughters.
“Adventures with Jonny: Road Trip to the Parks!” focuses on family road trips to national parks. It includes guides, camping tips and road games to keep readers entertained.
DiLorenzo hopes parents will encourage children, already immersed in technology, to enjoy the outdoors. “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.”
For those planning to hit the road, DiLorenzo offers these tips:
• Games: There is ample entertainment for drivers and passengers in cars these days. But the goal is to bond with the family, so consider a fun, albeit off-color game such as “Road Kill Round-Up.” A point system might break down like this: two points for the first to spot a poor critter; three for whoever first correctly identifies the species; two points subtracted for a false road-kill call; three points subtracted for misidentifying the kind.
• Beware of dairy drinks (and other smelly snacks): A spill in the backseat can eventually create quite a stink during a summer road trip. Pack plenty of healthy snacks to save on pricey pit stops and avoid all the sugar and salt in junk food.
• Avoid 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, bumper-to-bumper traffic is something to avoid. A bit of consideration can save your family hours of gridlocked misery.
• Tech help: Various apps and websites can help drivers find the cheapest gas prices, food options, hotel rates and travel routes. Also, don’t forget a music mix that appeals to the entire family on one of these devices. (Leave work at home – forget about work-related calls, texts and emails.)
• Schedule pit stops: Being in a hurry should be left for the morning commute. Vacation should be different. When traveling across states and provinces, consider local culture. For example, barbecue in South Carolina is very different from Missouri’s version. Enjoy diners and unique attractions, and don’t be afraid to take notes.