With our families and friends scattering all across the country many of us are hitting the road. Especially with the holidays coming up. So how are you going to have a successful trip without pulling out your hair? If you follow the tips below you will get to your destination safe and happy.
Auto-check up : A few days before you leave give your car a once over. Make sure that your tires are in good shape and have enough air in them. This is a good opportunity to get that overdue oil change. The only thing worse than having to take time away from your vacation by spending time at a mechanic, is breaking down on your way to your destination.
If you are traveling with young kids this is the perfect opportunity to make sure that all the car seats and boosters are installed properly. There are several great guides online to help you out if you have questions. Most local fire departments will also be able to check on your installation as well.
Be flexible with your travel time and dates : Having some flexibility in when you depart on your road trip will make your ride way more pleasant. While it's a myth that the Wednesday before thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year (there are several days scattered over the summer that are statistically busier), being flexible with your arrival and departure will be a miracle for lowering your stress level. Doing Tuesday through a Saturday over Thanksgiving for example will give you plenty of time for friends, family, food and football but with slightly clearer freeways.
You should also take into account trying to avoid rush hours in major metropolitan areas along your route.
Pack snacks: Frankly speaking rest stop snacks are way overpriced. But the owners know that most drivers will rather pay the extra fees for the convenience instead of getting off the highway and searching for drinks, snacks and meals.
Before every road trip I stop at market grab some fresh fruit, bananas are not only tasty but filling and a good source of energy. Fill up a small cooler with cold water and soda. I also make sure I have done empty calories as well. A big bag of chips or some candy is good for the morale of the driver and passengers.
If your trip is long enough you will eventually have to stop for meals. Make it a destination on your trip. If you are driving through a part of the country that has a fast food place that is not local to you, consider this an opportunity to try new things.
Prepare entertainment: This one can get tricky. Everyone has different tastes in music and an hour or two of Dannish heavy metal might be heaven for one person it may cause a mutiny among the other passengers. But then again listening to the soundtrack of the latest kids movie over and over again could cause many drivers to pull their hair out. This is why you need to compromise and make sure if you are traveling with kids they have headphones on their devices and make sure those devices are fully charged. If you are going solo, the world is your oyster. The complete discography of some obscure new wave band you were into in high school? Why not. A podcast or good audiobook. Whatever can occupy your mind.
Don't push yourself: You need to know you own limits for driving. Don't be a hero. If it is getting late and you still have a lot of driving ahead of you, find a hotel/motel and spend the night. You’ll be refreshed after some time off the road. While not recommended, in an emergency you can pull into a rest area off the highway. They are usually open 24 hours, if you need a place to use the restroom. You could sleep in your vehicle or find a quiet corner inside.
If prepared for as much as possible, road trips can be fun and become part of a holiday tradition. But if you are winging it, be ready to rack up extra expenses and frustration along the way.