National Lampoon's Nebraska Vacation
July 22, 2013 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Some friends are road-tripping from Seattle, WA to visit family for a couple weeks in Lincoln, NE starting next weekend, and trying to save money where possible. I'd like to give them a gift of a meal or something else they can use along the way or during their stay in Nebraska. They are 2 adults, 2 kids around 10 (give or take) and an 18-month-old. I need to be able to buy it in Seattle or buy it online and print it out. Budget $40-50, but that can stretch for the right need. Click here for snowflakiness:

They offered to take me along, as the initial plan for a massive family get-together has fallen apart and so they would like more people around. But that was too last-minute, and it's a long trip to a hot hot place, so I declined. We joked that they could take a lifesize cardboard cutout of me to include me in pictures and such, and while one can indeed have such a thing made, it's a bit wasteful ($80-90 is what I found), even though I can afford it. Their expenses are budgeted for, so if I help them with an expected expense, it would be pure gravy. Something silly would be appropriate as the 4 of them (who have passed the age of reason) are goofballs.

Some ideas may be obvious to you, but don't hesitate to post anyway; I'm neither a family man, nor a roadtripper, never been to Nebraska, and am drawing a blank besides "dinner...somewhere?" Besides a restaurant, I suppose a gas-card would be an option, since they're looking at about $600 worth of gas for the whole trip.

Also, I'm not looking for things to do in the car; they roadtrip a lot and have that stuff down to a science.

Thank you.
posted by Sunburnt to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Best answer: Okay, I do road trips. How about a bunch of "road food" gift cards?

You'll want a Chipotle gift card. Chipotle is an excellent choice for a road meal and kids LOVE it!

Dairy Queen gift cards are great, and they are scattered across this great land of ours in some pretty odd places.

Cracker Barrel is another option, since it's decent food and the store is fun.

A handful of change to throw in the backseat when driving by an attraction they don't want to stop at?

Check your local supermarket gift card section. They'll have cards for some of these places.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:39 PM on July 22, 2013

Best answer: Oh man, if I were road-tripping, a gas card (or pre-paid Visa type card) would be great but I think only the adults would really appreciate the value of it.

Do you know their route? What about a list of quirky attractions along the way? Roadtrippers lets you plan a route and find all kinds of stops like food or amusement parks or offbeat stops. I'd suggest some sort of water park since it's summer. You might be able to find the water park's website and get tickets ahead.

But flexibility might be nice so a Visa gift card and a list of suggestions from Roadtrippers?
posted by Beti at 1:41 PM on July 22, 2013

Best answer: No ifs, ands, or buts in the way of Lincoln, Nebraska (I was born there) food options: get 'em a Runza gift card!

But if you're willing to wade through some documentation issues, and can somehow document (say in a one page letter, as nominator) services they (or more likely the resident kin they still have in Lincoln, whom they are visiting) might have done the Cornhusker State, somehow, somewhere, somewhen, to the satisfaction of the current Governor, you might get one or more of 'em (or based on the Governor's residency requirement, which is sometimes waived, but, psssst! don't tell anybody!) officially commissioned an Admiral of the Nebraska Navy.
posted by paulsc at 2:06 PM on July 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

Seconding Runza and Dairy Queen -- and both are cheap enough you could probably cover gift cards to both!

One more idea: buy their admission to the Omaha Zoo (looks like you can buy them online in advance) if they're willing to make the hour drive from Lincoln. It's a great zoo!
posted by pril at 7:09 PM on July 22, 2013

Denny's gift card, I think they're everywhere.

A roll of quarters, a bunch of pre-1982 copper pennies, and a folder for the elongated pennies they can crank out at tourist traps.

Travel boardgames with metal boards and magnetic pieces.

A nice half-gallon cooler, pre-sweetened drink mixes, & disposable cups - they can load up at the hotel before starting out each day.
posted by codswallop at 10:12 PM on July 22, 2013

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