Road Trip Roulette – A Budget Friendly Family Vacation

road trip tips
Road Trip Roulette will add a fun twist to your next family vacation. It's a chance for the entire family to get involved in making the decisions on road trip destinations, where to eat and what to do. Here's how it works…

  1. The only thing you must plan for this road trip is how long you will be gone, and the daily budget and distance parameters.
  2. Begin your trip by letting one family member pull a directional sign out of a hat (North, Northwest, Northeast, South, Southwest, Southeast, East or West). Pull out of your driveway and head in that direction for the day. This family member is in charge of making the vacation decisions for the day including the road trip destination, activities, meals and lodging. Of course, they have to stick to the daily budget and distance parameters set by the driver!
  3. Now, the fun part…give your children all sorts of travel books where they can look up fun things to see or do along your route. If you have a smart phone, you might try the “Around Me” app to discover nearby restaurants. As you come to these road trip destinations, stop and enjoy if the person in charge wants to! You may drive just a couple of hours or you might drive a long way…it all depends on the family member in charge!
  4. Wake up and allow another family member to choose a new directional sign out of the hat and proceed as you did the day before. Remember, there's always the possibility that you'll choose a directional sign that has you backtracking or has you going in an impossible direction…like into the ocean! If this happens, just choose again.
  5. Continue this road trip for as many days as you like. It might be wise to allow each family member to plan a day! Don't forget to allow a day or two for the return trip depending on how far you are from home, and this is a great day to let the driver make all the decisions.

Here's a scenario of what Road Trip Roulette could look like if you live in Houston, Texas: Day 1, Susie picks to drive West, so she decides to end up in San Antonio after a stop in New Braunfels to go tubing in the Guadalupe river and enjoy bbq at Rudy's. Once in San Antonio, Susie wants to go to the River Walk and eat at a Mexican restaurant before calling it a night at a cheap last minute hotel she discovered using a fun new app called “Hotel Tonight.” Day 2, it's Billy's turn, and he chooses to drive South which means a day of fun in the sun in Corpus Christi and seafood for dinner! Imagine the possibilities, imagine the fun and imagine how happy everyone will be to take charge for a day!

Road Trip Roulette is…

  • Educational
  • Fun
  • Spur-of-the-Moment
  • Stress Free


One more road trip tip…don't forget to pack a variety of clothing, so you're prepared for all sorts of fun adventures.

Please leave a comment to share any tips you have for planning budget friendly road trips.


Image courtesy of: digitalart /

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Courtney~Mommy LaDy Club
12 years ago

This is so creative…I love it! We have all of the kids grown now, but this would have worked well. Great post!

Crazed in the Kitchen
12 years ago

This is such a great idea! My kids are a bit young for it now, but I can’t wait to try it in a few years when they do better on long car trips. What a cool way to explore!

Amber Edwards
12 years ago

If I could trust myself to not get lost, this would be SO much fun!!! We’ll have to do this when the Husband has some time off of work, so he can be the driver and make sure we get home ok. lol.

12 years ago

Wow!!! What a creative idea. Would you be interested in guest posting at my travel blog? Maybe swapping posts? Please contact me through my blog if you are interested. 🙂

Tweeting this idea now!!!

Pamela R
12 years ago

How fun—in my neck of the woods we could end up in Lake Erie, Finger Lakes, Niagera Falls, or one of the many great State parks

Tara @
12 years ago

How fun! Definitely sharing this post! Tried to find the app, On Your Way, but couldn’t find it on my iPhone.

Jessica Bailey
12 years ago

What a great article! I am always trying to figure out more things to do when we go on little family road trips! My 3 toddlers and my husband and I love to learn new things and to practice what we already know! Thanks so much for publishing!

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