Golfing Vacations for Everyone
Golf appeals to a diversity of people. Because it does not require frequent feats of raw power and extreme endurance, it is a sport that nearly anyone—from the young to the very old—can play. With a little practice, you can hit the links and play a decent game. As well as welcoming a diversity of players, golf welcomes a diversity of approaches. Whether you’re looking to engage in competition or you’re looking to spend some time outside engaged in a relaxing but focused activity, golf is the sport for you.
In order to play a good game of golf, you need a good golf course. And finding a good golf course is not as simple as finding a good tennis court or basketball court. Good golf courses are the result of a good natural environment combined with expert design and landscaping. Most of us have to leave home to get to a great golf course. But, believe me, it’s worth the trip.
Phoenix, nicknamed the Valley of the Sun, is a prime golf destination year-round. Its flourishing golf scene is signaled by the fact that the area boasts over one hundred golf courses. You won’t see too many “I’d Rather Be Playing Golf” bumper stickers in Phoenix. If residents of Phoenix would rather be playing golf, they probably are.
If you are looking for a course that incorporates the area’s mountainous desert surroundings into the landscape design, Club West is just right for you. The verdant, gently rolling hills of this course contrast perfectly with the rather jagged, dry, precipitous desert mountains. If you are a photographer as well as a golfer, you’ll be in heaven. This course is very photogenic.
If you’d like to deepen your experience of the place even more, I suggest visiting the Heard Museum in order to learn about the Native Americans who called the Phoenix area home for many, many years before the arrival of Europeans.
If you want to play a quiet, focused game of golf away from the maddening crowd, this mountainous destination is a great call. Colorado Springs is also a great call if you’re looking to add 10% more power to your drive. Because of the thin mountain air, the ball goes 10% further than at your average sea-level course. When you hit that first drive, you’ll feel like you’re golfing on the moon. The initial satisfaction is really priceless.
A great place to experience your newfound superhuman golfing abilities is the Gleneagle Golf Club. This is also a great place to hold a wedding. If you’re planning a golfing wedding, there is no better gift to the bride and groom than the ability to drive golf balls with the power of pros.
If you’re looking to learn about the area while visiting, visit the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum. Located in the historic El Paso Country Courthouse, which was built in 1903, the museum documents the diversity of cultures that have thrived in Colorado Springs.
After a quality day on the links, you’ll likely be ready to spend some quality time indoors in an inviting hotel. At Extended Stay Hotels, you’ll find everything you need in your room to spend a relaxing and entertaining night in—a fully-equipped kitchen and free in-room Wi-Fi.
Pro-Football Vacations for Pro Fans
While the fall signifies undesirable things for many people—like returning to school, cooling weather and the end of the season of locally-grown fresh vegetables—it also signifies the start of a season that some love way more than any of the four calendar seasons: the professional football season.
Just like many children mark off the days leading up to Christmas one by one, entirely focused on that one approaching point in time, many football fans wait for the first day of the season with the most heartfelt and concentrated yearning. Fantasy teams are readied, and up-to-date team clothing is acquired—both in anticipation of that all-important day in early September: the first day of the NFL season. For the ultimate NFL fan—the fan who feels the need to go to where the action is—there are a number of great pro football destinations to visit.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame
For pro football pilgrims, there’s one undeniable mecca: the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Hall of Fame building itself, which has been made more and more grand and spacious over the years as the sport it celebrates has grown in popularity and prestige, looks from the outside rather like a church crowned by a half-football rather than a cross. It is a very exciting time for this gridiron cathedral.
Opened in September of 1962 (four years before the NFL and AFL joined together to present the first Super Bowl), the Hall is approaching its fiftieth anniversary. Like a couple celebrating its golden anniversary who make sure they are in top form for the celebration, the Hall has pulled out all the good stuff in anticipation of the increase in visitors during its special year. There are many meticulously arranged exhibits, complete with multimedia tools, displaying football gear and memorabilia and telling the hallowed, dramatic story of American professional football.
Every football fan has his/her team. If you don’t have a favorite, then you’re just an interested observer, not a fan. The word “fan” is—we must remember—short for “fanatic.” Just as football is about striving for excellence on the part of the players, it is about loyalty on the part of the fans.
Despite who their favorite team is, though, all fans feel a deference and appreciation for the achievement of the reigning Super Bowl champions. Just like we, as loyal Americans, feel respect and admiration for the office of the president, regardless of whether we voted for the current holder of the position or not, the Super Bowl champions get a nod of respectful recognition from all fans—even those who are loyal to their most arch of rivals. A New England Patriots fan will grudgingly allow that the 2011 New York Giants proved in the end to be the better team.
There’s never been a better time to visit the home of the Giants. MetLife Stadium, which opened in 2010, is one of the most modern-feeling (though not at the expense of the classic game), well-designed football stadiums in the country. The NFL expressed its approval of the stadium by announcing that it will be hosting Super Bowl XLVIII there in 2014. 2014’s Super Bowl will mark the first non-dome Super Bowl in a city that gets real winter weather.
A Super Hotel for a Super Fan
If you’re one of those football fans who never wants the action to stop, then you’ll probably want a hotel with a TV, a fully-equipped kitchen, and free in-room Wi-Fi so that you can watch highlights of your favorite team and enjoy a little tailgating food at the end of the day.
Arcade Museums: The Next Best Thing to a Time Machine
Those of us in our thirties and forties who spent our childhoods in video-game arcades may not think about those dimly-lit oases from the world of adults all that frequently anymore. But when we do, we think of them fondly—remembering a simpler time when all that mattered was the clink of quarters in our pocket and the ring that our favorite games made when we were winning.
There are fewer arcades now than there were when we were young, due to the popularity of vastly improved home-gaming systems, and those that are still around tend not to feature the classic games we nostalgically remember. Luckily, though, there is, on the East Coast, an arcade museum that features the legacy games that bathed us in their glow in the 70s, 80s and 90s. And on the West Coast, there is an arcade museum where our parents and grandparents can relive their youths (which is still kind of hard to imagine them ever having).
· The American Classic Arcade Museum
This museum housed in Laconia, New Hampshire’s Funspot, the Guinness-certified largest arcade on Earth, is dedicated to the history and preservation of a fast-fading feature of popular culture, but it is also dedicated to fun, fun, fun. An arcade museum is really a misnomer—even though the room does have display cases containing things like antique video-game catalogs and gamer magazines along its walls. The main exhibits at this “museum,” more than 250 classic video games, are there to be played—just like when we were young—not to be gazed upon and discussed.
And just like when we were young, the sounds of 80s hit makers, like Madonna, Pat Benatar and Van Halen, provide the gaming soundtrack—along with the charming bleeps, bonks and booms from games like Galaga, Double Dragon, Spy Hunter, Tetris, Pong Doubles and Punch-Out! The only thing that would make this pleasantly dim room (they put red gels over the florescent lights, just like a lot of the old arcades used to do) seem like more of a time machine is if the gamers were all wearing Hammer pants and the room was full of cigarette smoke.
This museum, at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, has games and mechanical attractions going all the way back to the late nineteenth century. Originally housed at San Francisco’s legendary Playland, which was demolished in 1972, the Musée Mécanique has many 1950s, 60s and 70s arcade games—such as 1973’s Upper Deck, a mechanical baseball game in which you hit an actual ball to make your little men physically run around the bases, and 1961’s Sharpshooter, a game in which you shoot hard plastic bullets at animal targets. It is the perfect place to bring back memories of childhood for members of the Baby Boomer Generation.
When you walk into the game-filled room, the first thing you encounter is Laughing Sal, a giant female dummy with a missing tooth and a very lifelike-sounding wheezy laugh. She is the iconic figure that greeted visitors in Playland from 1940-1972. Walking further into the room, you hear the sounds of the seagulls outside on the San Francisco Bay and antique player pianos playing songs that were popular in the early twentieth century. As the Musée Mécanique is evocative of old-time San Francisco, it is the perfect destination for Road Warriors, who are looking to relive their youths for an afternoon, or for history buffs, who are curious about the important history of popular amusement.
You’ll remember, if you’ll think back to your childhood, that play can be just as exhausting as work. After playing for the afternoon at the American Classic Arcade Museum or the Musée Mécanique, you’ll need a place to rest and relax. Luckily, there are affordable hotels with kitchens, laundry facilities, and free Wi-Fi within driving distance of San Francisco and Laconia.
To Buy or Not to Buy: Is the New PlayStation Vita Worth the Hype?
PlayStation has been a busy beaver in recent months, and with the recent release of its new PS Vita, markets around the US and Europe have finally gotten a chance to play with the new “revolutionary” handheld gaming console. This new gaming console is supposed to revolutionize the way that gamers play, especially while they travel across the country. If you are considering investing in a portable gaming option, then this might be the new toy for you.
The Advantages of the PlayStation Vita
The Japanese gaming markets made it apparent that this new console is preferable to the PlayStation 3, and it has even sold three times more than its larger, stationary counterpart. It still is still yet to be determined whether the PS Vita is going to outsell the Nintendo 3DS or the PSP, which have been selling very well in past months.
So what’s the big deal with the PlayStation Vita, and why should you invest in it? Why would this be considered the end-all for gamers to enjoy while they travel and while they enjoy their free time at home?
- All the Extras
Firstly, it will boast dual analog sticks. Add that on top of motion sensors and front and rear cameras, and you will not be lacking any element of the gaming and social media. Even social gaming is easier with various forums for individuals to chat about games and to form groups for team play. There are also apps for gamers to download to make the system even better.
- Advanced Internet Capabilities
Some critics are calling the Vita an “almost smartphone” for its handiness. For example, you can have 3G coverage added to your Vita that would give you Internet access wherever you go. In addition, the Vita also allows you to see who of your friends are playing nearby you through the GPS, and it allows you to find the cheat codes you need on the browser. The only thing this product can’t do is allow users to make phone calls, but you can console yourself with a movie from Netflix, if you so choose.
- A Variety of Games and Purchase Options
Sony also brought along some of the top franchises in the gaming industry to make the purchase even better. For example, you can play Marvel vs. Capcom 3, or you can also enjoy FIFA soccer. A bonus about this new gaming system is that you can either purchase your new games for Vita through a retail store or through the online store on Vita.
- Bigger and Better
It’s nice to have a gaming system that is handy and portable, but it is also nice to have a clear screen. If your son or daughter is using this gaming system while on the road, he or she will want to be able to see things clearly. That’s where the five-inch screen in the middle of the console comes in. Be aware: the Vita is not a small device; it weighs over half a pound. In addition, the system stands at 3.2 inches, and it boasts a 7.2-inch width.
This is definitely an impressive toy, and if you are considering purchasing one, you might want to spend a few hours fiddling with it until it’s mastered.
National Sports Bar Chains
With spring’s collegiate and pro sports underway and summer’s not far behind, many a road warrior is thinking about the limits of their portable devices and apps. After all, some games just demand the big screen, right? Enter the sports bar…
Over the next few months, we’ll profile sports bars across the country that you might want to check out for their specific features (atmosphere, food choices, celebrity spotting, etc.). But, for starters (we feel your need, fellow fans), we’ll review some national chain sports bars so that you have a good chance of finding one, no matter where your travels take you.
Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar
One favorite with locations across the country is Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar, where you can be sure to score good viewing, food and drink. While folks do rave about the wings—offered with a choice of 14 barbecue sauce flavors ranging from Jammin’ Jalapeno to Thai Curry—it’s the sports viewing itself that gets top billing here. Sure, every sports bar has multiple screens, but every Wild Wings location has literally dozens of flat screens and projector screens plus surround sound.
Champps,found in theEast, the Northern Plains, Texas and Colorado, takes a similar approach. The owners built their chain around the philosophy that bigger is better—from burgers to TV’s, party atmosphere (“bring a DJ and have a party every night”!) to “decadent desserts” and rotisseries. The chain prides itself on not being “your average sports bar,” especially in terms of its food and their “slightly irreverent attitude.”
Dave and Buster’s
Another sports bar chain you can find all over the country is Dave and Buster’s. The menu is filled with standards like Philly cheese steak sandwiches, pizza, burgers, steaks, salads and pasta, and the full bar serve beers, wines, and their signature TNTea in a souvenir glass. But what fans really love are the games—and we don’t just mean on the many big screen TV’s. Every Dave and Buster’s is filled with arcade games (old-time Pac-Man to Nascar), plus classics like pool tables, skeeball and shuffleboard. Check out their Eat-and-Play combo where you get a meal and a game card at reduced price.
Smokey Bones BBQ & Fire Grill
Located in the East and Midwest, Smokey Bones BBQ & Fire Grill is a good choice if you’re traveling with folks who aren’t as avid sports fans as yourself. You’ll find sports on the big screens for you and, despite its name, food to please those looking for more than just sports pub grub, such as an Oregon Pear and Spinach Salad and blackened grouper (selections do vary by location). The full bar offers some respectable California vintages and a beer list that includes a few IPAs and microbrews.
Soccer moms and t-ball dads don’t have to give up catching games on the big screens during vacations because there are also family-oriented sports bars—one such is Beef O'Brady's, with well over 200 locations spread throughout more than 20 states. The reasonably-priced food is basic sports bar fare—burgers and other sandwiches, wings, wraps, etc., plus salads, with kid-sized (and seasoned) selections, too.
Another sports bar chain, BJ’s Brewhouse, with its multiple screens for game viewing and its own “fine handcrafted beer,” is not only a treat for adults, but it is also a dedicated kid-friendly place. Their website even has a “kidslink” with trivia and games.
We go to chains for their predictability, right? Maybe that seems dull, but for some of us, it’s important to know that no matter where we are, we can walk into an establishment and be guaranteed our favorite Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on tap, or that exact same amazing plate of shoestring onion rings, or that there will always be one big screen tuned to international soccer.
Nature Guides for Folks on the Move
It’s a bird...it’s a plane...it’s a… Buteo jamaicensis (red-tailed hawk)! Yes, you, too, can impress your friends, dazzle your kids, or just plain add to your appreciation of new places by being able to identify just what you’re seeing. No longer do you need to lug around a collection of heavy nature guides in order to have detailed descriptions and full-color photos at your fingertips. Below are some producers of nature guides with alternative ideas.
Producer of nature guides since 1934, Audubon Society now offers online versions covering thousands of North American plants and creatures. Use their easy-access homepage to browse for free on your computer by topic (e.g., shells, wildflowers, birds, mammals, mushrooms) or search for specific species by their common names or their scientific designations (e.g., gray catbird or Dumetella carolinensis). In case you might want to print specific pages to carry with you, guides can also be downloaded. For in-the-field sightings, you can buy mobile apps. Especially useful is the advanced search tool, which allows you to narrow down what you’ve seen—whether tree, fish, or shell—by appearance (shape, colors, size), habitat and location, as well as other subject-specific features, such as wing shapes and songs for birds. You can also download guides for specific regions, such as “The Ultimate Florida Nature Guide.” Apps are available for iPhones, iPads, iPods, and (though with more limited offerings) devices running Android. Cost per app ranges from $10 to $15, with a multi-subject app (birds, mammals, wildflowers, and trees) costing about $30.
Another very popular guide series is produced by eNature, for both laptop and mobile devices, though the mobile apps are limited. Perhaps their biggest plus is that all eGuide content online is free. As their website notes, you can find wildlife information covering close to 6,000 species, including a couple of categories not presently offered in Audubon’s mobile apps: sky (stars, planets) and tracks, as well as guides to wildlife in 50 of the National Parks. The basic search process on this site is fairly similar to that on the Audubon site, but you can also do a what’s-in-my-neighborhood search simply by entering your zip code. Also of interest, especially to those with children, are the games, contests and flashcards on the site. Mobile apps are available only for the National Park guides and Chesapeake Bay, and only for iPhones and iPods.
For bird watching in particular, Peterson is the big name, and it too has moved into the mobile guide field. Newly launched in January 2011 is the iPhone and iPad app, Peterson Birds of North America. This app not only provides the kind of in-depth information and identification system for which the hard-copy Peterson guides are renowned, but it also includes such features as a birder’s notebook, which allows you to record (and identify now or later) what you’ve seen and where.
National Geographic, another highly respected name in nature study, has its own birding app, Handheld Birds (now out in version 2.0 for around $15 for iPhone and iPod Touch). Designed to be super user friendly, it has fully-interactive referencing, and it connects you with hundreds of range maps for different species, plus over 1,600 bird images and almost four hours worth of birdsongs to playback as part of your identification process (or just for listening enjoyment).
Gone are the days of having to schlep along a hefty field guide on your walks. No longer do you need to pass a field of gorgeous wildflowers and have no idea what they are. Now, with a laptop or mobile device, you can identify them on the spot. Or just snap a few pictures with your trusty phone. Then, a few hours later, as you relax in your hotel room and begin the ID game at your leisure.
Wish I'd Brought... 10 items to keep in your carry-on bag, Part 1
Part of the fun of a trip is the planning, but (a) things don’t always go as planned, and (b) some trips don't allow much time for preplanning. To cover both situations, here’s a list of ten easily-stowed but life-saving (or at least sanity-saving) must-haves to keep stashed in your carry-on.
1) Money. What almost a hundred years ago they called “mad money” (not to be confused with the investment show of the same name on CNBC) (nor the 2008 film), this is your emergency fund, I-didn’t-have-time-to-run-by-the-ATM stash. We suggest at least five ones and a ten (add a twenty if you’re flush)—enough to tip a skycap, buy a sandwich at the airport, pay a few turnpike tolls. And if you don’t mind a little extra weight, a roll of quarters ($10) is handy to have on hand for vending machines and laundry facilities.
2) A list of vital information and numbers including such things as prescription medications, doctors (with phone numbers), credit card emergency numbers, health insurance ID number and phone number. It’s also a good idea to have the list laminated since that spilled in-flight drink can really mess it up.
3) Just so that you can read the list, tuck it into the bag with your last pair of glasses—yes, the ones you can’t imagine how you ever thought were flattering. That way you have a backup emergency pair just in case. With them add a copy of your current vision correction prescription for eyeglasses and/or contact lenses (also laminated). If you have a prescription (not more than 12 months old), many shops can fit you out with replacement glasses or lenses within hours. LensCrafters is a good choice if one’s nearby since with their 90-day unconditional guarantee, if your quick replacement selection was all-too quickly selected, you can always exchange for a new pair.
4) Food. Who hasn’t had the experience of flight delays resulting in an arrival minutes before you’re due at a meeting or need to pick up your tickets to that long-awaited concert, with no time to grab a meal? Here’s where that Trader Joe’s Simply Almonds, Cashews & Cranberries Trek Mix, Kashi granola bar or GNC Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams packet you stashed away gives you the boost you need to keep on truckin’. Try to choose something high energy but healthy since you’re running on empty when you go to your emergency rations. And be sure to watch expiration dates—the healthiest foods don’t have a super-long shelf life.
5) And speaking of delays, you can only pace the airport gate to gate so many times. Having games and reading materials on your laptop or smart phone is a given for most seasoned travelers, but reception unfortunately isn’t. Keep some technology-free entertainment—a deck of cards, crossword puzzle book (and pen/pencil), small paperback novel you love to reread—among your emergency rations, so you always have a fall-back.
Okay, that’s the first five tuck-them-away travel musts. Now you’re sure to be solvent, safe, fed and entertained no matter what delays you face. Stay tuned for the next five.
Traveling with Junior Road Warriors
Some children seem born adventurers. But even the most eager travelers sometimes feel thrown out of their comfort zones, and some ordinarily happy children do struggle with change. With young road-warriors-in-training, making the experience smooth and fun (for everyone) may call for some ingenuity and planning. The key? Blending the old and the new.
Get each child their own small bag or backpack—either one specially selected for travel or, if familiarity is more important, one they already carry to daycare or school. Make sure that they get to help fill it with things important to them. You can even add something to it each night you’re traveling (a special snack, a small book or toy), so every day begins with the message that travel and surprise go together—and that travel is something to look forward to.
There are loads of books and websites (including some of our previous posts) filled with ideas for staying entertained while on the road. If you have a child who gets motion sickness, play look-out-the-window games—not anything like car bingo that requires reading or looking down. Sing-a-longs are also a good distraction for children who struggle with carsickness.
For hotels, airports, some planes and even some vehicles if you have Wi-Fi in the car, add to your laptop toolbar a few kids’ sites with videos and games featuring favorite characters (the more adventurous the better). Another good choice is a site that celebrates travel and adventure like National Geographic Kids with their new virtual playground Animal Jam. And, of course, smartphones have many free and inexpensive entertainment apps like Pocket Zoo aimed at young audiences, though it’s worth remembering that many pediatricians express concern about young children’s intense engagement with cell phones.
At the hotel
Staying in a hotel room, like those in Extended Stay Hotels, that have a full kitchen can help with the “everything is too strange” blues. If possible, take along a few specific-brand food favorites—peanut butter, mayo, a box of bunny-shaped mac-n-cheese, whatever the old reliable staples are in the child’s familiar culinary world. No matter how much another brand (even the same brand but with a different name or box) looks and tastes the same to you, to a tired child trying to adapt during a trip, different is different.
Easy access at the hotel to laundry facilities is also a major plus when traveling with kids who often simply have to have that Handy Manny shirt or the Dora the Explorer pj’s. And heaven forbid a spot of carsickness puts the blankie out of commission!
Throughout the trip, maintain some of the child’s customary routines and rituals. Beginning weeks before a major trip, you can even begin new ones or adapt old ones so that they can be repeated on the trip—little things like the order in which pj’s go on, teeth are brushed, story and snuggle time occur. Bring along favorite bedtime stories, CDs, and DVDs (which you can play in transit if you have a portable DVD player). Bedtime can be especially challenging in strange surroundings, so it’s ideal to bring a child’s own pillow and nightlight, especially the one from home, so the light cast is exactly the same. Giving a child their own tiny flashlight can also be a confidence booster (and fun to play with).
And finally, celebrate a child’s travel achievements with some kind of badge of honor they can proudly display, like rub on (and wash off) temporary tattoos of favorite characters or symbols. Easy to tuck into your bag, these visible reminders give your junior road warrior incentive to rise to the challenge and embrace the joys of travel—trying a new food, taking a turn sitting in the middle seat instead of at the window, entertaining a younger sibling or only once asking, “Are we there yet?”
Travel Tune Trivia Game
A quick Internet search will turn up lists of “best travel songs” by everyone and his brother, sister and long-lost cousin. But we’ve got something more specific in mind: a travel tune trivia game. Like, what are the best R & B tunes about a hotel? Classic rock numbers about air travel? Songs about specific states? Songs about modes of transportation? There are thousands of different themes. To get you started, we’ve assembled some categories—with a few contributions—just about guaranteed to start up conversations the next time you’re driving on cruise-control through the Mohave Desert or stuck in O’Hare nursing a beer at Wolfgang Puck’s.
States: James Taylor’s “Carolina on My Mind” and the Mamas & Papas’ “California Dreamin’.”
Cities: “NY, NY” by Frank Sinatra and “Ooh, Las Vegas” by Emmy Lou Harris. And here’s a two-fer: Tish Hinojosa “Taos to Tennessee.”
Geographic features and tourist sites: John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High.” And for a really long trip, how about the whole country? Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash.
Lodging: “Hotel California” by the Eagles.
Car: Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” and Chuck Berry’s “Riding Around In My Automobile.”
Airplane: “The Letter” by Joe Cocker and “Jet Airliner” by Steve Miller Band.
Boat: Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” and “It’s Been a Lovely Cruise” by Jimmy Buffet. And we think the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” can count.
Train:No contest. Has to be Arlo Guthrie’s “City of New Orleans” (which Johnny Cash named “the best train song” he’d ever heard). And here’s a travel mode three-fer: Joni Mitchell’s “Trains and Boats and Planes.”
TRAVEL MODE "TRAIN" BY GENRE:
Classic Rock: “Big Railroad Blues” by Grateful Dead.
Pop: “Last Train to Clarksville” by The Monkees.
Motown: “Midnight Train to Georgia”by Gladys Knight & the Pips (two-fer—state & genre)
Country: “Life’s Railway to Heaven” by Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson.
Blues and jazz: John Coltrane’s “Blue Train.”
Alternative: John Mayer’s “Stop This Train.”
Folk: “500 Miles” by Peter, Paul & Mary (add PPM’s “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” and you have another category: multiple travel songs by the same group/singer!)
Kids: “Conjunction Junction” from Schoolhouse Rock!
40’s - “Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe” by Judy Garland
50’s - “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley
60’s - “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett
70’s - “Ramblin’ Man” by the Allman Brothers
80’s - “Born in the U.S.A.” by Bruce Springsteen
90’s - “Please Come to Boston” by Jackopierce
Get the picture? Even writing about it can be addictive. You can play this travel tune trivia game alone, while in transit with a coworker, or while trapped in the car during your next family vacation. If you want to add a competitive edge to it, invent a point system: 1 point for just the title, 2 points for title and band/singer and 5 bonus points if for the songwriter. When everyone has to pass, the last person who had an entry is the winner. If the game is to continue, that person gets to name the next category. And when someone misses, well, you can pick the penalty he or she must pay.
Games for the Road
Lots of us loves a good road trip. Some people jump in their cars and drive a few hours to reach a favorite getaway. Others load up their minivans or Winnebago campers to head out for a long quest of sightseeing. The freedom to move about, to enjoy adventure and to relish the company of friends and family are all motivations in taking to the open road, and they are all quintessential themes of the American Dream. While not all road trips are created equally, they are part of a tradition that is as American as apple pie.
Today, traveling the open road has never been easier. With portable DVD players, iPods, and TomTom GPS systems, parents seldom hear the old question, “Are we there yet?” Modern gadgets have made long-distance travel much easier than it was twenty years ago. Still, undertaking a road trip should also incorporate fun that does not always require a power source.
If you are planning a road trip for your family, pack some games that will allow your children to have a complete experience. And there’s nothing that achieves this goal more than a board game or two. If you are wondering about what you should pack, the following three brands offer the best for car travel. Kids of all ages will love these games, no matter what road you take!
Of course, any board game used in the car should meet two key requirements. First, it must have some magnetic components that prevent pieces from getting lost in the car. Second, a game should be small enough for road travel
Zobmondo has one of the best travel games for the entire family. “Would You Rather?” is a game where players answer a question like: “Would you rather have four thumbs or five index fingers?” The answers are often hilarious, and it creates a great way for the whole family to bond. Travelers can purchase this pocket-sized game from Amazon.com for less than $12.
Go Games, made by Magnetic Poetry, offers both convenience and fun for families taking to the road. From Go Hangman to Go Checkers, kids and adults will enjoy any of these great games. Most significantly, all of them have magnetic pieces, so the chances of your children losing essential components are slim! These games all cost less than $10 and are available for purchase on the company’s site. You can also purchase them new on Amazon for around the same price. If you want to save a few dollars, though, consider searching for the gently used versions on Amazon.
Remember the days of sitting in the backseat and calling out license plates from different states? Now, your kids can enjoy the same thing with the U.S.A. License Plate Game by Melissa and Doug, a popular brand for the youngsters. While Melissa and Doug also sells other educational games and toys, the license plate game allows your children to plot your trip’s course and to match cars’ plates with their home states. Running around $19.99 on the company’s site, the game can also be purchased from Amazon for about $14 (not including shipping and handling).
All of these brands offer something for the entire family. No matter what brand you choose to take on your wanderings, your family will benefit from the experience of playing good old fashioned board games.