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There’s still time for a road trip

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Posted: Friday, July 20, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:22 am, Fri Jul 20, 2012.

One of the most stand-out memories from my childhood is traveling by car every other year to my father's home state of Minnesota.

On the off years, the family looked forward to day trips to Yosemite (I grew up in Merced County, so that was a natural), the ocean and to Great America amusement park. Both were a short car ride away and relatively inexpensive.

My mind starting recalling these fond memories when a unique press release advertising an inflatable booster car seat known as the BubbleBum came across my desk.

While the invention might be something to giggle about, I probably would have appreciated it somewhere between Cheyenne and Minneapolis back when I was 10!

Nonetheless, here are some great tips from BubbleBum to get your family thinking about affordable trips to squeeze in right before the kids head back to school -- even if it is in less than two weeks:

  • Take a trip to a nearby lake, ocean, river or pool. Bring along a load of swimming gear, snacks and toys to make it feel like you are taking a vacation.
  • Travel across the state line and experience something new there. Perhaps visit a national park or a cool museum. Book a night at a hotel or just make it a daylong trip if your home isn’t far away.
  • Go camping. Family camping trips are a great way to bond with one another. Include your kids in pitching the tent, canoeing and building a fire. Go fishing together, swim in the lake, and tell stories around a campfire. This will build memories for years to come. You can always bring another family along, too.
  • Book a night at a water-park or hotel with a pool (especially if you don't have one in your own backyard). This can feel like a fun vacation for kids even if it is short. Parents can relax poolside, or cool down after a long week at work, while the children enjoy their time as well.
  • Visit somewhere local like a nearby zoo, theme park or mini golf park. Do it as a family and it will become a fun getaway that doesn’t take much time and energy.
  • Geocaching is an ever-growing activity that more and more families are participating in. Take your clan on a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game, where participants try to locate hidden containers using GPS-enabled devices. For younger children, make your own treasure hunt with clues in your backyard.
  • Go see a relative (with kids) that you haven’t in a while. Think through a list of family that you haven’t had the time to visit. Then schedule aside a day to road trip and see them, or meet them halfway. Let the kids play together while you enjoy catching up.
  • Take a hike! Doing outdoor activities as a family can build a lasting bond. Use the activity to build your children up with encouragement by how well they are doing. Other ideas include roller skating, biking or exploring a nearby lake.

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