Are you planning a road trip this summer? Maybe while your kids are at camp? (See the previous post, “How to Find a Great Summer Camp”). We (my husband and I) have been on two long road trips (Atlanta to Canada and Atlanta to Denver). In this post I’ll pass along the advice that these experiences taught us.
Have the car serviced before you leave. It may seem like an obvious detail, but it could be easily overlooked as you are busy with other preparations. The last thing you want on a road trip is car trouble.
Purchase AAA, if you are not already a member. If you do find yourself with vehicle difficulty, this will assist to ensure that you are able to resolve the issue with minimal hassle. If nothing else it may help to put your mind at ease so you can focus on other aspects of your drive.
Do not trust only one source of directions. En route to Quebec City, Canada we were directed by a GPS to drive in/on the water! We recommend (in addition to a GPS or two) that you buy a map and print hard copy directions from MapQuest and/or Google Maps.
Research rest stops. Road trips become quickly uncomfortable when you can’t find an acceptable restroom. I am very picky about bathrooms, and while driving from South Dakota to Denver to St. Louis I was concerned about where we’d find the next rest stop.
Plan a timeline, including accommodations. As a similar continuation of the previously thought, it was preferable for us to create a timeline for our trip and book hotels in advance–this way we weren’t driving around cities looking for “vacancy” signs in neighborhoods we were unfamiliar with.
That’s what worked for us. Other road travelers have slightly differing advice. Ed Hewitt’s tips in The SmarterTravel include:
It’s also worth considering not overplanning your travels. Unexpected weather or road condition delays could mean you are trying to change hotel reservations at the last minute with a cell phone unable to connect to the internet in that location.
Take the scenic routes but do your research! Consider the factor of car sickness on winding roads. Additionally, you might not be headed for scenery so much as outlet malls when opting for the alternative route….
Where will your summer travels be taking you, and how are you preparing?