stay different. stay real.

Planning a Road Trip and Involving the Kids

family friendly hotel great after a day in the car

My wife and I have always loved road trips, and when our kids were young we did an epic road trip from Victoria to the Okanagan – this was in the early 90s. We had recently emigrated from the U.K. and this was our first vacation in our new country. I remember lugging around this massive rented video camera; it took full-size VHS tapes and had to be hoisted on to your shoulder. It’s funny, I came across the tape the other day and we are considering getting it transferred to DVD. I remember that almost every other minute while taping I would utter the words, “Look at this view, it’s absolutely amazing” interspersed with “absolutely awesome.” It got very tired very quickly. My only excuse was that we had arrived in a country that far exceeded our expectations in terms of sheer beauty, and B.C. appeared to us like something out of a National Geographic magazine – something we only dreamed of ever seeing.

What made me think about writing about this trip here was the way we came up with the idea to go to the Okanagan and how we planned what we’d see and do on the journey. As a family, we created two Mind Maps, first to decide where we would go on our vacation, and second what we would do on the trip.

Take it from me, this is a fun way to get your children involved so they are excited and invested in the trip. You’ll be surprised at how it helps generate ideas and helps build the perfect vacation – one that every one can buy into.

Let me explain what I mean by a Mind Map and how to create one.

Okanagan Road Trip

A Mind Map consists of a central word or concept, around which you draw several ideas (as many as you like) that relate to it. Take a sheet of paper (the larger the better) and turn it sideways. Using coloured felt pens, draw a small picture (or write a phrase) representing the issue you are dealing with (in this case “where to vacation”). Draw several lines (or as many as you like) coming out from the title box using a different colour for each line. In our first simple vacation map we all listed places we’d like to go and then had additional lines showing pro’s and cons. We considered places like Mexico and Disneyland but in the end decided on a road trip to the Okanagan because we all wanted to see more of the country we had just moved to.

In this case, we used it to discover where we would go on our trip and then what we’d all like to do when we got there.

The key to Mind Mapping is not to think logically. Generate ideas with out assessing them, and if one idea generates another, don’t stop to analyze it, just put it on the map. The crazier the association the better – there are no rules to Mind Mapping. True innovations often come from the wildest places. For many people, making connections that aren’t linear is very difficult, but it is the secret to how the minds of the most creative people work. Expanding our ability to think in a non-linear fashion will open new doors to creativity and problem solving we never thought possible.

Our second Mind Map was the most exciting because we all got to put down things we wanted to see or do. I don’t have the original after all these years, but from memory it probably looked a lot like this.

IMG_6822 FullThis is a great way to have fun planning your next road trip while involving your children and getting them excited about all the things you can do on your trip.

After twenty years I can’t remember what hotels we stayed in, but I do know that if we did the trip again, we’d head to the Accent Inns hotels in Burnaby, Kamloops on our journey and stay at the Kelowna hotel as the perfect base for our many day trips, after all it does have a swimming pool which would be perfect after a hard day of enjoying ourselves!

Mike Wicks
Douglas, YAM and Salt Magazines