Life as a Mom

Tips on Traveling Across the Country #roadtrips #roadtrippin #writing #amwriting

Sally-Carrera-82336“People didn’t drive on the road to make good time. They drove on the road to have a good time.” ~Sally, Cars

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.

giphySo 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.

giphyPLAN YOUR ROUTE ~ I know this seems sort of like a “duh” thing to suggest, but instead of just looking to see which route you take, or just blindly following your GPS, plan out your stops.

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.

tumblr_m1k6c30xyj1rn7j4fo1_500MAINTAIN 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.

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4 thoughts on “Tips on Traveling Across the Country #roadtrips #roadtrippin #writing #amwriting

  1. This was fun to read, Angela. I’m a map girl, too—and we carry a cooler filled with drinks and snacks and stuff to make sandwiches for the first day or two. Something else to consider is renting a car or minivan instead of putting all that wear and tear on your own car. Depending on where you live and the time of year, you can often get a heck of a deal. For example, I’m renting a minivan for under $200 a week—unlimited mileage, all the latest bells and whistles—and no fear of breaking down in my fourteen-year-old car!

    1. I haven’t actually looked into renting car, but I will now. I’m usually gone around 4 weeks, so I’d have to weigh that cost. I’m hoping to get an RV in the next few years to make it even easier. We shall see on that. LOL.

  2. We agree that having maps are helpful. However, our GPS routed use around a two hour backup on a trip through Pennsylvania once. We used the maps to verify we wouldn’t end up in the middle of a field. We actually crossed over the expressway twice and saw folks sitting outside their cars.

  3. I hate to fly, too. Mine is a similar combination of reasons, control-freak (me) and claustrophobia. Can’t get out of one of those tin cans if I wanted to. And, if it sat on the tarmac for hours I’d have a breakdown. Ugh. I love road trips, but since I also have anxiety, driving makes my hair stand on end. When my husband drives, I read the AAA map and guide him. I love those AAA guide maps. They show every little rest area and off-beat landmarks. We stopped at many of them during our road trips from Florida to Illinois to see family.

    Did you make it home yet? Did you take a different route home? We always packed our meals, too. Loved stopping at the rest areas with my heart dog, Piezon and then later with our sweet boy, Max. Since we didn’t have kids, a dog became fun to travel with. 😀

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