Eight years ago, Night Buddies author Sands Hetherington wrote about his adventures traveling with his son, John. In an article for The Good Men Project, Sands said, “So what’s my advice to any of you fathers out there? Hop in the car. Don’t forget maps and a GPS. Let your son or daughter hop into the passenger seat next to you. Go! Go somewhere, anywhere, and make the kind of memories you’ll fall asleep dreaming about when you’re a much older man.”

The arrival of summer heralds family road trip season. Half the fun of vacation is dreaming about the adventure together. Invite your children to participate in the planning and create activities to do along the way. Trips can be good opportunities to introduce journaling. Buy each member of the traveling party a spiral notebook (adults, too),  then have ten to fifteen minutes of writing time each evening to journal about something that happened that day. Younger children can draw something and make a list of things they saw. You might consider giving the family a writing prompt:

  • I smelled something interesting today.
  • The thing that surprised me most today was . . .
  • I didn’t expect that to happen!
  • Did you know that . . .
  • I tried a new food today.
  • If I had to use one color to describe today, it would be . . .
  • Something I miss about home is . . .
  • I learned something new today.
  • On our next trip, I want to visit . . .
  • Tomorrow, I hope we get to . . .

To give your journal a twist, write add-on stories. Rather than each person keeping a journal, share one notebook. Ask someone to write one or two sentences about the day’s adventures, then pass the journal to the next person to add some thoughts. Continue to pass the journal until everyone has contributed. During long stretches in the car, read journal entries aloud.

Enjoy the journey! Your travel journals will help you relive your adventures.