We are taking a short family vacation this year...heading to South Haven, Michigan later in August. It was appropriate that I received my Parent's Choice Newsletter today as it is full of ideas for traveling with kids.
One of the best, I thought, was the "you tell me" answer to the age-old question "Are we there yet?" When we went to Texas in April I taught my kids to read the mile-marker signs as a countdown (which only works going West unless you know the distance across a state going East). For 20 miles they yelled at every mile-marker "19 miles to Texas, 18 miles to Texas, 17 miles to Texas and on and on..." Hey, it was better than hearing "are we there yet" every 90 seconds! Anyway, the Parent's Choice people take it one step further and suggest giving the kids a map, review the components and then each time the inevitable question arises you give them clues about where you are and they then use the map to determine "how much farther." With the right kind of map my 8yo may get into this.
They also provide links to events in different regions of the US.
And, my personal favorite is a review of a book by the name of "Heidi's Alp", which is about travelling with kids by visiting places in children's books. The author lived in Europe so her travels dealt with such stories as "Heidi", "Pinocchio", "Babar" and "Madeline". The author of the review provides multiple links to places in North America that would make a wonderful literary tour. Some of the suggestions include the Mark Twain museum in Missouri, the many museums honoring Laura Ingalls Wilder. I thought that a literary tour of North America would be a wonderful experience, especially for the older child.