shutterstock_107832203Ah, the road trip. Cheaper than flying, a great way to see the country, a family bonding experience … or an “are we there yet?”, “we’re out of gas in the middle of nowhere,” “Joey hit me!” debacle.

Yes, Americans have been loading their kids up in the family car and hitting the road since before seat belts were required. It’s no secret these highway journeys go better for some families than others. Our advice? Make your road trip a cross-country dining adventure.

Dining your way down the road is great for many reasons. For one thing, it gives you an excuse to stop the car and take a little break to stretch your legs. It allows you to stop and take in some of the sights instead of just watching them whiz by the car window. Best of all? A dining-centered road trip is an unparalleled opportunity to try many different local flavors in one trip – educational for the kids and for you.

We’re not talking about fast food, gas station snacks or coolers full of PB&J here. Take a moment

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to look at your map and plan the places you’d like to stop for meals, then check out Restaurant.com to see what’s in the area. If you don’t have time to plan ahead, just click “deals near me” on the mobile app and all the restaurants in your area will appear. Using a certificate will make a sit-down-meal along the way affordable, and our site will help you locate great restaurants in unfamiliar cities.

Can’t picture a dining drive? Let us help:

It’s 6 a.m., it’s early and the family is ready to head down Route 66. Dad conquers the first part of the trip with some cups of coffee the kids sleep peacefully (for now.) But three hours in, the kids start to unfold from sleepy angels to hungry little devils.

Time for breakfast! How about a stop at El Tesoro Café in Santa Fe, NM? We suggest the french
toast and cheesy potatoes! Take 30 minutes to walk up Canyon Road, the city’s famed gallery-lined hill, to burn some calories and wear the kids out before hopping back in the car. They can settle back into their crumb-free seats – another bonus to dining outside your vehicle.

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Or, say your tour of Route 66 took you through St. Louis instead. Stop and pick up take out – tangy wings and satisfying sandwiches from The Original Crusoe’s in St. Louis, MO, and take the kids to the park with a view of the Arch. They can stretch and run around for a bit and you can enjoy the fact that you saved some money with your Restaurant.com gift certificates (and aren’t subsisting on corn nuts!)

With deals available in all 50 states, and certificates that can be used any time (including pancakes and midnight or a late “time to stop for gas” lunch), Restaurant.com gives you the luxury to eat your way down the highway without breaking your budget!
What road trip suggestions do you have? Tell us in the comments section below!