BY ARINA COLEMAN
Believe it or not, the classic American road trip is not a thing of the past. More and more Americans than ever are taking to the road for a family visit or a vacation. Many Americans would rather drive than fly. The lure of the road is an undeniable one and seems to be embedded in our makeup.
If you’re planning a road trip sometime in the future, here are some road trip tips to help you get the most from your experience.
- Check your vehicle
It’s always a good idea to have your mechanic check your car over for a few basic things. Things would include the car’s fluid levels, tires, brakes, and anything else that might be a problem. Also important is for the spare tire to be correctly inflated. Make sure you carry extra wiper fluid with you and have jumper cables on hand.
If you’re worried about whether your car is up to the long trip, you might have to rethink your vacation plans. One option is to pick a destination where there’s plenty on offer and places to visit in the area.
Book an auto transport service with a company that specializes in shipping cars cross country. Fly to your vacation destination, and you’ll have suitable transport you can use to get around when you get there.
- Have a loose plan
When you’re driving long distances, it’s challenging to avoid long delays. They are, unfortunately, almost inevitable. Road works and traffic congestion are all part and parcel of traveling on the road. There might also be some states or areas you want to avoid.
Once you’ve decided which routes and interstates you want to take, research rest stops and gas station options.
- Clean your car before and during your trip
Of course, it’s going to be tempting to leave candy wrappers, take-away boxes, and other paraphernalia under your seat. Dog hair on the back seat is also not going to be a problem, surely? Let’s tell you, after a few days, you may find such flotsam and jetsam rather annoying.
An accumulation of junk and other minor detritus will soon drive you mad when you’re spending most of the day in the car.
Spend time cleaning your car, outside but mostly inside. Make it your mission to keep the chaos to a minimum.
- Get off the highways
If you’re heading out for a road trip, there’s little point in hitting the roads to see the country if you don’t spend some of your time exploring the back roads. William Least Heat-Moon named these back roads “blue highways.”
If you haven’t got the time to read his book, you can always take advantage of a feature introduced by Google Maps. There’s an “avoid highways” checkbox on Google Maps that provides alternative routing for anyone looking to avoid highways.
- Anticipate the trouble spots
You’re likely to be grinding out long miles on your road trip. It’s also not hard to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. A couple of examples include driving the long bridges to Key West on a Friday afternoon of the Memorial Day weekend or trying to cross the Hudson River during rush hour. Do some research, and you should be able to avoid them.
- Preload your phone with some entertainment
Listening to local radio as you drive along is not as enjoyable as it once was. If you’ve got long hours of driving ahead of you, you’ll need something else to keep you and your passengers entertained. Tap into your collection of music using a streaming site such as Spotify or Pandora. Alternatively, listen to your favorite audiobook or podcast.
- Think about the division of labor
If you’re traveling as a group or family, it’s a good idea to divvy up things that need to be done during the trip. There will be someone good at navigating, someone who’s great at planning meals. Divvying up the tasks means things will get done efficiently and to the satisfaction of all.
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- Join a roadside rescue service
If road trips are a common occurrence, there will come a time when you find yourself stranded on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere. Having an 800-number you can call that immediately ties you into approved local tow services and mechanics will save lots of hassle.
- Take your documents with you
Traveling without current documentation such as license, registration, or insurance could bring a world of hurt, should you get pulled over for any reason. If you’ve got any outstanding traffic or parking tickets, it might be a good idea to clear them up before you travel.
Follow these road-tripping tips, and your journey will be memorable in a good way. Here’s wishing you many enjoyable miles on the road.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence promotes few commercial links)