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VOL. 129 | NO. 249 | Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Lance Wiedower

Gifts for Family Travelers


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It’s Christmas season, and that means it’s gift time. And with the big day a couple of days away, if you’re still looking for ideas for presents, you might be in trouble. While these gifts for family travelers aren’t really the type one “opens,” per se, they might be appreciated more than the latest gadget.

A car that is already cleaned and serviced before the night before a road trip. There is nothing like going out to load the car, remembering that I need to check the tires and discovering one of them is five pounds light and two others are one pound under. And I don’t have an air compressor.

So maybe a good gift for me actually might be an air compressor.

A little bit of help, please. Speaking of the night before a trip, someone to pack my suitcase would be nice. And the bags for the kids. But I only have one kid, so maybe a kid who doesn’t want to take so much stuff. Or is that my wife with all the stuff? Wow, now I’m really confused.

Speaking of that beautiful, patient, always caring person in my life, getting her to start packing before I want to go to bed the night before our trip. Just once. Is it really too much to ask? Oh, and maybe packing less stuff so I can keep more of what I want to pack in the suitcase to meet weight requirements.

Practical stuff we would never buy ourselves. A great gift for family travelers this season might actually be a few extra packs of underwear and socks that grandma gives and we quietly sigh and roll our eyes. Yes, mom, I’m talking about those “awesome” stocking stuffers of yours. Twenty new pairs of socks and underwear are helpful when you only have three days between trips … no need to cram in all those extra loads of laundry.

Five extra hours in every day. And how about a vacation from the vacation to prepare for work? As a full-time freelance writer, my wife gets zero vacation days. If we travel for a week, she has to make up the work before and after the trip. We were on the road the majority of the weekends last summer and for stretches in September and October. She is just now starting to feel like she is caught up.

OK, now you know I’m kidding. So maybe the real gift for us might just be to live life like the average American family. You know the routine: go to work, come home and get a fast-food dinner because everyone is too busy, watch TV, go to bed, rinse, repeat and then spend a week at the beach in the summer. I’m all about that week at the beach, but honestly, I’d go insane if I didn’t have our other fun family travel adventures.

This column is an excerpt from this week’s post on tripsbylance.com.

Managing editor Lance Wiedower’s column appears every other Tuesday in The Daily News and The Memphis News. For more travel inspiration, read his blog at tripsbylance.com or follow him on Twitter at @tripsbylance.

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