Have you ever looked though your grandparents old photo albums and noticed that they have a lot of road trip pictures?
Maybe that was just mine, however, it seems to be that back in the 30s, 40s, and even 50s, people took a lot of road trips. It was the thing to do. Whether for a weekend or a couple of weeks, people would get in their automobiles and see the country, taking countless pictures along the way.
In this ever-growing world of needing everything fast, taking long family road trips seems to be a fading norm. Each time I drive back to my hometown, I’m asked I don’t know how many times, “Why don’t you just fly?”
Bottom line: I don’t like to fly. Period. With a combination of being a control freak and being afraid of heights, I will take traveling by car any day. No matter how long the drive. I actually don’t mind driving. I love seeing the sights and even though it’s tiring and, yes, takes longer, there is just something about seeing this country from the ground instead of the small window of an airplane.
So why is it that people don’t take road trips anymore? Is it just because of the time? Or is it that they really don’t want to deal with the whole stress of it? Well, let me just say, there is lots of ways around that and having just recently taken another 1600 mile trip across several states, I thought I’d share some of my best tips!
HAVE GOOD MAPS ~ Perhaps I’m old-school in this day and age of GPS systems, but I think everyone should, not only know how to read a map, but have them on hand just incase.
Several years ago, my dad gave me a travel guide from AAA. It’s a huge book of maps with each state, all arranged in alphabetical order. The book is quite large, so the maps are really easy to read and they show a lot more towns and cities than any other map I’ve seen.
Maps are essential for any trip, whether it’s across the country or across the state. Have a map for every state you are planning to drive through before you leave.
Sure, there are helpful apps you can get to help you find food, bathrooms and gas, but having an idea so you’re not fumbling around with your phone while going 70mph down the road is always better.
So before you leave, really look at your route and calculate the miles between each cities and towns you think will be rest stops. This will help you make sure you aren’t going to wind up out of gas or searching in a panic for rest areas.
PLAN AND PACK FOR THE TRIP ~ Packing a cooler and box full of snacks not only helps you save money, but it keeps you from eating unhealthy fast food. Filling your body with junk food will make you susceptible to falling asleep, getting heart burn, or having a very uncomfortable trip. Packing fruit, crackers, and bottled water will keep you hydrated, focused, and alert.
When we travel, we actually don’t spend any money on food. For breakfast, I pack granola bars, cereal, and an array of diced fruit. For lunch, we eat sandwiches with carrot sticks or chips, and with dinner, I usually pack a huge container of spaghetti since we are usually in a hotel room with a microwave by then.
HAVE AN ARRAY OF LISTENING PLEASURE ~ Not only do I have a multitude of CD’s to listen to, but I also have purchased books on CD. I have actually found I prefer to listen to the books over the music. My favorite ones are the Harry Potter books.
MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE ~ Before your trip make sure your vehicle’s maintenance is up to date. You don’t want to take off for a long drive when your vehicle needs an oil or transmission fluid change. Fill the window cleaner, and fill your tires with air if they need it.
PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES ~ Before you leave, make sure your car is packed for emergencies. Have a tote bag packed with a flashlight, batteries, flares, and a blanket. Make sure you have a jack and that your spare tire is in good working condition.