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Consider all of the trips you want to take and consider the ages of your kids. My Dad took us on similar trips when I was a kid. I one of my sisters was 8 years older than me. My dad planned well, but still, I was only 5 when we went to Texas and only 7 when we went out west. My sister misse our Florida trip because she had just graduated from highschool and was going to Ireland with her friend. Our kids were only 6 years apart so we were able to wait until our youngest was 8 before goint to Texas. Our oldest made the Canada trip and missed the repeat of our Florida trip, but she made the first Florida trip when they were little. It was a good plan for us putting Florida both first and last. Also, I've seen people with babys and toddlers in places like Yellowstone. Most people get there once in a lifetime. Its probably better to wait until your kids are between 9 and 16 for stuff like this. When they are little, take them to the beach or something.

Remember the 7 P's... Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.

Plan low haning fruit on the deadhead. We passed the Gateway Arch returning from our Northwest trip. I tentatively scheduled us to check it out on the way back from our Southwest trip. We had a little more time and when I polled the troups it was unanimuous and we did it.

Try ont to arive a camp in the dark. It is MUCH easier to pitch camp in the daylight.

Enjoy your planning.

Stick to your plan. If you have spent plenty of relaxing hours carefully considering how you will budget your time and work everything into your trip that you want to see. Once you are on the road, enjoy it. You will be a little tired and disoriented with the travel and you are unlikely to make a better decision on the road than you did when you planned your tip. If you have doubts about whether or not you should take the time to do something on your itinerary, just remember. "When in doubt, stick to your plan".

If you come across an opportunity or some low hanging fruit, then go for it. We visited the Sod house near the badlands, just because it was there near the entrance and because we knew it would only take an hour. We actually lucked into seeing a Space Shuttle launch on our first Florida trip which had suffered repeated last minute delays for weeks. It happened that we were in St. Augustine the day it finaly went off. We managed to watch it from a park 12 miles from the space center and then get back to St. Augustine and see everything we wanted to see.

Avoid needing to buy stuff on your trip. You can waste a lot of precious time that way.

Make your own list and keep updating it. You can start with our list posted here on this website and modify it to fit your needs. Keep it in a computre file and update it after every trip to include additional things.

Out west and in other remote areas, there are interstate highways where you many not see an exit for 50 or 100 miles and some of them won't have a gas station. Don't expect to find an exit every 2 or 3 miles with 4 gas stations and 3 fast food resturants like you do on the east coast. Also, don't expect to find places open 24/7 like on the east coast.

Plan ahead when and where you will do your laundry.

Plan ahead when and where you will go mass or church.

Don't move everything into your tent. The only things that should be in your tent are your mats and sleeping bags and pillows and the cloths you want to put on in the morning. Sooner or later, you are going to get soaked, and the less stuff there is in your tent when that happens, the better.

When you leave camp for the day to see what you to see, prepair it for rain no matter what the forecast. You do NOT want to come back to a wet bed. At tent will cool down fast enough when you open get back and unzip the windows. If you have an air matress, pile sleeping bags and pillows on top of it in case water does make it into the tent.

When you get to a campsite, look it over and plan where you will put your tent or tents. High ground is better. Don't pitch your tent in a hole. Make sure the campfire is not too close to the tent or sparks and hot ashes will land on it. It probable won't cause a fire, but tiny bits of hot ash can burn holes in your tent which will leak.

Consider partking your vehicle so that it serves as a screen for privacy or to block the wind.

 Send questions or comments to rog@familycampguy.com

 Copyright 2014 Roger Smith