There is nothing more fun than an old fashioned road trip. I love to hit the road and explore our country. Now, I have been a “road traveler” for some time and while I love air travel, I love road trips because this is how you can really experience the country. So it’s time to whip up your favorite tunes and snacks and plan your open road trip adventure with these ten easy road trip tips.
1. Plan your trip. First, you must determine where you are going to go and then plan your trip. Planning doesn’t have to be time consuming, but you do need to know the route you are going to drive and the points of interest along the way that you will want to stop and explore. Half the fun of a road trip is seeing the sites along the way. I like MapQuest my trip and have it as my main plan of attack for my road trip. GPS is very popular these days and I recommend them, but you can’t always rely on them when you hit construction zones or accidents on your trip. This is why it is essential that you have a real map with you of the areas you will be traveling to and that you plan alternative routes if necessary.
2. Make your hotel reservations BEFORE you go. Part of the fun when traveling on the road is stopping where your heart desires, but there is nothing worse than the “no place at the inn” experience on a road trip. You may not realize that there is a “Comic Book Trade Fair”, a “Strawberry Festival” or a convention in town while you are visiting and there are no rooms available. If you don’t make your reservations in advance, not only do you risk having to sleep in your car, but you also can’t manage your road trip budget effectively. If you’re traveling with your family or a group of friends, consider staying in an all-suite hotel or even renting a timeshare – a great option for families traveling by road. Did you know that 90 percent of people who own a timeshare don’t use it on a regular basis? Many great deals can be found at some of the larger hotel chains that offer timeshares and many of them even have a washer and dryer. For my road trip to Scottsdale, I booked a fantastic one-bedroom suite with a kitchenette at a timeshare property directly through the hotel for just $ 100 a night, tax included, at the Sheraton Desert Oasis Villas.
3. Tune up your car before you go or consider renting a car. One week before your road trip, take your car in for tune-up and ask your mechanic to make sure your car fluids are full, the air pressure in your tires is the best for driving on the road, and Any other necessary concerns regarding your vehicles are addressed. If you need to fix something, it’s best to do it somewhere you can trust before your road trip. In addition, it can be more expensive when it is a must-have situation. Also, be sure to pack road safety equipment in case of emergency. For me, that kit includes my American Automobile Association membership card (Premier Membership). If you have a car that is no longer under warranty or has automatic roadside assistance, then an American Automobile Association membership is a must as it will save you a fortune in the unfortunate event that you have a breakdown and have to tow your car. If you are concerned that your current vehicle is not “road trip worthy,” then you may consider renting a vehicle for your road trip. I did this for my trip to Arizona as I found a great deal on a rental car and had peace of mind from my road trip.
4. Pack your own food and plan a picnic. I used to be addicted to stopping at fast food places on a road trip. There was something I found fun about a trip, but I’ve since learned that I prefer to pack my own food for my trip. Not only does it keep me eating healthier, but it also saves me money, especially if you travel with your family. Also, if you plan ahead, you may find that there is a great stop for a scenic picnic on your travels and packing a picnic is much better than flying the drive-through. If you make a stop, either for a picnic or to explore a cool sight along the way.
5. Bring great music or audio books! Music is truly the soundtrack to our lives and every road trip needs a soundtrack. I think of my trip to Seattle every time I hear a Phil Collins song from “No Jacket Required” because that was the main music I was listening to on that trip. I think of the island in the Bahamas harbor and the incredible walks on the Pink Sands beach every time I listen to music by Wilson Phillips. It’s like having a theme song for every vacation, but listening to the music even today will evoke fun memories of wonderful travels. I also love catching up on books that I would like to read, but are somehow easier to listen to. That’s where audio books come in and you can download them to your mp3 player, iPhone, or other PDA device. !
6. Don’t forget to pack a bag to eliminate boredom for children. One thing I have learned from Emily Kaufman’s production of the TV series “The Travel Mom” is that if you are traveling with children, you need to make sure you have enough to entertain them during your road trip. She calls this the bag of boredom. Don’t forget to bring some kid-friendly music your kids like along with fun travel games including magnetic board games. DVD players are an option for really long trips and as long as your child isn’t prone to car sickness. Of course, electronic games will keep your children busy, but I encourage you to limit your time with these toys, especially if you are traveling through large scenic areas. It’s a great opportunity to bond as a family, and the memories of your child’s journey will be lost if lost on a Game Boy.
7. Remember, a road trip is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. One of my all-time favorite road trips was the day my niece, Jessica, and I drove 52 lovely miles on the “Road to Hana” on the island of Maui in Hawaii. I will never forget that the guide said, “Remember, Hana is not a destination, it is a journey.” Hana is about 52 miles from Kahului, however a typical trip to Hana takes at least three hours as the road is very winding with roughly 620 curves over 59 bridges, 46 of which have only one lane. This enchanting road trip is a memorable journey that winds through a lush tropical rain forest that is surrounded by waterfalls, black sand beaches, scenic lava cliffs, fresh fruit stands, and tropical hillsides. Jessica and I stopped at least ten times, including a picnic stop on that black sand beach. We took photos next to waterfalls, delicious fruit stands, and beautiful tropical flower gardens. You should try your road trip the same way we did our Road to Hana – enjoy your road trip as a journey, not a destination.
8. Take advantage of every stop. I like to plan my stops for gas, food, and restrooms so that I can use my time efficiently and not waste time making three stops instead of one. Probably the most important thing is that every time you stop, make sure everyone in the car uses the bathroom (even if they think they don’t have to at the time). This will reduce the stops you make just for that purpose. Also, if you are traveling with kids and you just need to make a stop to go to the bathroom, I recommend stopping at a Starbucks. Parents can have iced coffee or tea, restrooms are clean, and there aren’t many distractions for kids (like toys to buy) that a truck stop or gas station might have. Use the Starbucks store locator on their website to help you plan your stops before you go. Be a “good egg” and make a purchase at Starbucks while you’re there.
9. Avoid trouble. When you are on a road trip, you must be cautious on the streets. Don’t become a target of a crime by leaving your valuables in your car seat (DVD players, Game Boys, etc.) and don’t advertise that you are on a road trip with pillows and blankets everywhere. When you park your car, hide your valuables and road trip comforts. If you’re proactive in keeping your “I’m on a road trip” clues clearly hidden, any thieves or troublemakers should walk past your car. Another smart consideration on the street is to always park where there is good light and foot traffic, and make sure the windows are up and the doors locked every time you get out of the car. You can also buy items like “the Club” if you like that extra insurance for security. Finally, when you drive, watch your speed. Speeding gives you the opportunity to get a ticket and, more importantly, decreases your time to react if the need arises. If you are the driver, you are responsible for your passengers. When you see signs that say, “Speed limits apply by photo,” believe them. Other good driving tips include avoiding rush hour, especially in larger cities, and whenever possible, taking turns driving with other people in the car. You will also want to avoid driving at night if you are unfamiliar with your surroundings.
10. Get a Go to the city card and save up to 55% on attractions and theme parks at your vacation destination. Last year, I flew my 8-year-old niece, Alexis, and my 10-year-old nephew, Tyler, to Los Angeles for their spring break (using Southwest Airlines Reward Miles, of course) and we took a road trip down . to San Diego. That’s when I discovered the Go City Card to save money in San Diego. With this card, I saved hundreds of dollars on tickets to Legoland, the wildlife park, the San Diego Zoo, and other attractions, including a whale watching in the Pacific Ocean, just by purchasing a Go San Diego card.
Instead of paying individually for each local attraction, you pay one price for up to 40 attractions (depending on which city you visit) and can create your own experience, tailoring your activities based on what you like to do, while enjoying tremendous savings. . For example, with the Go Los Angeles Card, you can choose one, two, three, five or seven-day cards at a low price and prepaid to get access to 40 included attractions. This saves up to 55% compared to buying tickets directly at Universal Studios Hollywood, LEGOLAND California, Knott’s Berry Farm, Paramount Studios, Queen Mary and many more attractions. Go to city cards They are available in many cities and vacation destinations in the US, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Honolulu, Orlando, Miami, Seattle, Blue Ridge, and even Toronto.
Final tips: Don’t forget your cell phone and make sure you have “hands free” when using it while driving. In many states, it is the law, but it is also dangerous. Always use your cell phone “hands-free” when driving. Don’t forget to update the software on your mobile phone before you leave because you don’t want to be charged higher rates for roaming charges. Finally, it is a good idea to email a copy of your itinerary to other family members or friends in case of an emergency; this is especially a good idea for women traveling together. Now, drive safe and have fun!
You can get more details on my website at Best-Travel-Deals-Tips.com.