There’s nothing more fun than an old-fashioned road trip. I love to hit the road and explore our country. Now, I’ve been a “road traveler” for some time and while I love air travel, I love road travel because that’s how you can really experience the country. So it’s time to pack 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 need to determine where you are going to go, and then plan your trip. Planning doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but you do need to know the route you’ll be driving and the points of interest along the way that you’ll want to stop and explore. Half the fun of a road trip is seeing the sites along the way. I like MapQuest my commute and have it as my main plan of attack for my road trip. GPS is very popular these days and I recommend it, but you can’t always rely on it when you hit construction zones or accidents on your journey. This is why it is essential that you have a real map with you for the areas you will be traveling to and to plan alternative routes if necessary.
2. Make your hotel reservations BEFORE you go. Part of the fun of road tripping is stopping where your heart desires, but there’s nothing worse than a “no room at the inn” experience on a road trip. You may not realize there’s a “Comic Book Trade Show,” “Strawberry Festival,” or convention in town while you’re visiting and no rooms are available. If you don’t make your reservations early, you not only 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 do not use it regularly? Many great deals can be found at some of the larger hotel chains that offer timeshares, and many of them even have washers and dryers. 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/night including tax at the Sheraton Desert Oasis Villas.
3. Do a complete tune-up on your car before you go or consider renting a car. A week before you hit the road, take your car in for a tune-up and ask your mechanic to make sure the fluids in the car are topped up, 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 get it done at a reputable place before your road trip. In addition, it can be more expensive when it is a forced situation. Also, be sure to pack a safety kit along the way in case of an emergency. For me, that kit includes my American Automobile Association membership card (Premier Membership). If you have a car that is out of warranty or has automatic roadside assistance then membership in the American Automobile Association is a must as it will save you a fortune in the unfortunate event that you break down and have to have your car towed. car. If you are concerned that your current vehicle is not “road trip worthy”, then you may want to 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 on 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 fun about that on a trip, but I’ve since learned that I prefer to pack my own food for the trip. Not only does it allow me to eat healthier, but it also saves money, especially if you are traveling with your family. Plus, if you plan ahead, you might find there’s a great scenic picnic stop on your travels, and packing a picnic is so much better than flying through the drive-through. If you make a stop, either for a picnic or to explore a cool sight along the way.
5. Bring good music or audible books with you! Music truly is 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 heard on that trip. I think of the Bahamas Harbor Island and the amazing walks on the beach at Pink Sands every time I hear Wilson Phillips music. It’s kind of 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 I’d like to read but somehow find 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 an anti-boredom bag for the kids. One thing I learned from producing for Emily Kaufman’s “The Travel Mom” TV series, is that if you’re traveling with kids, you want to make sure you have enough to keep them entertained during your road trip. She calls this the bag to destroy boredom. Don’t forget to pack children’s music that your kids like along with fun travel games that include magnetic board games. DVD players are an option for really long trips and whenever your child isn’t prone to car sickness. Of course, arcade games will keep your kids busy, but I encourage you to limit time with these toys, especially if you’re traveling through large scenic areas. It’s a great opportunity to bond as a family and the memory of your child’s trip will be lost if she gets lost in 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 enchanting miles on the “Road to Hana” on the island of Maui in Hawaii. I’ll never forget the guide saying, “Remember, Hana is not a destination, it’s 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 approximately 620 curves over 59 bridges, 46 of which are single lane. This enchanting road trip is a memorable journey that winds through lush tropical rain forest that is intertwined with waterfalls, black sand beaches, picturesque lava cliffs, fresh fruit stalls, and tropical hillsides. Jessica and I stopped at least ten times, including a picnic stop on that black sand beach. We take photos of waterfalls, delicious fruit stalls, and beautiful tropical flower gardens. you should try his road trip vacations 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 fuel, food, and restrooms to 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 don’t think they have to at the time). This will reduce the stops you make just for that purpose. Also, if you’re traveling with kids and just need to stop to go to the bathroom, I recommend stopping at a Starbucks. Parents can get coffee or iced tea, bathrooms are clean, and there aren’t many distractions for kids (like shopping for toys) 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’re on a road trip, you have to be smart on the streets. Don’t be the target of a crime by leaving your valuables in your car seat (DVD players, Game Boys, etc.) and don’t advertise that you’re on a road trip with pillows and blankets everywhere. When you park your car, hide your valuables and road trip conveniences. If you’re proactive about keeping your “I’m on a road trip” clues clearly hidden, any thieves or troublemakers should just walk by your car. Other street-wise considerations are to always park where there is good light and foot traffic and to make sure your windows are closed and doors are locked whenever you leave your car. You may also want to purchase items like “the Club” if you like that extra insurance for security. Finally, when you’re driving, watch your speed. Speeding gives you the opportunity to get a ticket and, more importantly, reduces 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 on 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’ll also want to avoid driving at night if you’re unfamiliar with your surroundings.
10 get one Go CityCard and save up to 55% on attractions and theme parks at your vacation destination. Last year, I took my 8-year-old niece, Alexis, and 10-year-old nephew, Tyler, to Los Angeles for spring break (using Southwest Airlines Reward Miles, of course) and we took a road trip 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 admission to Legoland, the Wild Animal Park, the San Diego Zoo and other attractions, including a whale watch in the Pacific Ocean, simply 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 the city you visit) and you can create your own experience, tailoring your activities based on what you like to do, while enjoying tremendous savings. . For example, with the Go to Los Angeles card, you can choose one, two, three, five or seven-day cards at a low, prepaid price to gain 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 are available in many cities and vacation destinations in the US, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, New York City, San Diego, San Francisco, Honolulu, Orlando, Miami, Seattle, Blue Ridge and including Toronto.
Final Tips: Don’t forget your cell phone and make sure you have a “hands free” when using it while driving. In many states, it is the law, but it is also very dangerous. Always use your cell phone “hands-free” when driving. Don’t forget to update your mobile software before you leave because you don’t want to be charged higher rates for roaming charges. Finally, it’s a very good idea to email a copy of your itinerary to other family members or friends in case of an emergency; this is an especially 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.