roller_coasterThe Dahlin family of Santa Clarita, California, is on a dream family vacation for roller coaster lovers: They are traveling the country visiting Six Flags amusement parks from California to Chicago.

It’s part of the Discover Coaster to Coaster Tour, sponsored by Discover, the official credit card of Six Flags. Kurt and Michelle Dahlin and their sons Kyle, 15, and Aaron, 12, started their tour July 8 at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.  They’ll finish it July 28 at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.

The partnership between Discover and Six Flags gives Discover card holders exclusive perks and benefits at Six Flags parks, including expedited entry at an exclusive cardmember-only entrance during the first two hours of park operation.

And as you might imagine, planning the trip more involved than your average family vacation road trip. Traveling mom Michelle Dahlin put together these three travel tips, based on what she learned while planning her family vacation and during the first half of the trip: 


Book All Hotels Through One Central Location

My first stop was checking out all the hotels in the cities we’d be staying in using By using my Discover card on this site I earned 5% Cashback Bonus by booking rooms through one of Discover’s partners, Turns out I’m getting an additional benefit because once I signed up online, from July – September I receive 5% Cashback Bonus on hotel purchases up to $300. 

During this booking process I was able to verify that the hotels we’d be staying at either had laundry service or coin-operated Laundromats on site. You see, you can’t get three weeks of clothes into a reasonable-sized suitcase that wouldn’t be too heavy to carry around. By taking a small bottle of laundry detergent and some dryer sheets, we only had to pack a week’s worth of clothes and our suitcases now have room for souvenirs.

Dahlin_Family_at_Six_Flags_Magic_MountainKeep Technology Charged to Keep Your Kids Happy 

With the hotels and packing taken care of, next came keeping our two teenage sons entertained on the trip. While I’d like for them to take in the scenery the whole way, I know that is unreasonable for kids in today’s technological world. With multiple handheld devices and not many outlets in each hotel room, I knew I had to find a way to keep those things charged. That’s why we brought a power strip. We’d be able to charge 5-6 different devices using one outlet and we’d never have to hear, “Are we there, yet?”

Now, you’re probably wondering how all that is working so far, right? Well, not too bad to tell you the truth. We are fortunate to be driving a Ford Flex Titanium because it not only has A/C adapter plugs, but it also has a USB input. With those features we can charge electronic devices as we’re driving! The boys have games and movies on their devices so there is always something to do if the scenery isn’t exciting. And, our hotels are working out fine so far, too. 

Plan For Time Zone Changes

I think the only problem I’ve run into so far is that when I planned our driving routes and arrival times, I forgot to account for the time zone changes. Normally that wouldn’t have been a problem, but we had made dinner reservations in Albuquerque for the night we arrived and I started stressing about mid-day when it seemed like we weren’t going to make it. If you are planning a cross-country trip, don’t forget about that!

The Dahlin family is blogging about their tour and tweeting about it with the @CoasterTour handle and #CoasterTour Twitter hash tag.