Who here doesn’t love a good road trip? With the holidays creeping up on us a little too quickly (well hello Halloween!) A lot of people are scheduling their vacations around this time of year to visit distant friends and family. However not everyone likes to travel by air, much less pay the price for airfare. If you’re like me then taking to the open roads is more of your style. The husband, fur babies and myself just drove to Las Vegas from Colorado to visit family.
Yes, we’re in Vegas right now. I’m writing this as I watch our little furry loves. Arya decided it would be a good idea to mess around with my mother-in-law’s 15 year old Australian Shepherd. The old furball went to bite Arya so Trixie went postal on her. Needless to say that after cleaning 2 bloody mouths it was made clear we couldn’t leave the 3 of them alone together. If I’m being totally honest I’m okay with staying back while everyone goes to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 50th birthday. I’m nursing a migraine and trying to stay hydrated by drinking water like a fish. (Fish don’t drink water though…?)
Getting back on track…
When you’re taking a road trip instead of going by plane you need to be prepared for your journey. I put together a list of 10 tips for your next road trip to hopefully make it as fun for you as it has been for us!
Pack extra water
Not only will this save you money when traveling so you don’t buy from gas stations, water has many purposes. Stay hydrated, keep pets hydrated, and if you end up stranded you will be okay. Use the water for rinsing and washing yourself or spills. Plus if your engine overheats you can cool it off!
Buy your snacks before you go
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what sort of snacks you’re going to be craving before a road trip. You’ll end up saving yourself some money and time if you buy the family size chips and separate it into ziploc baggies. That way you have individual serving sizes so you won’t be trying to find a way to close an open bag. Gas stations should be for restroom breaks, gas, and possibly filling up with more ice and water. I love trail mix so buying and making it I get to choose what goes into the mix, and how much I want to bring. The cost per serving by creating your own little snack packs is cheaper than buying junk at gas stations.
Bring extra underwear
…and socks! Be ready for the unexpected that may happen during your trip. If you get delayed a day you can always wear yesterday’s jeans but you’ll want to have clean drawers. Not only is it comfortable it’s also sanitary. Delays tend to happen and you can’t always avoid it. So stay clean by packing extras.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes for the trip. Depending on what you’re traveling in it could be a bit cramped. I like to wear flip flops and bring socks in case my feet get cold in the car. Leg room is a little cramped in our car when we add a bag for trash so I kick off my shoes and sometimes cross my legs. No one wants to sit in a car for 5 hours wearing a 3-piece suit. Wear loose shirts with jeans or yoga pants! Who cares what others think about your attire as long as YOU are comfortable.
Bring your best jams!
The radio will likely cut to white noise if you’re travelling between cities and towns. We didn’t even bother looking for a new radio station. We hooked up an iPod and rocked out to our favorite music. Fortunately I like all music so listening to husband’s iPod was fun for both of us. Sing-a-longs are optional but great fun. We sang Bohemian Rhapsody twice on the way out here!
Bring your best conversation
Eventually the music may get old during the trip and there is nothing I hate more than driving in silence. Unless I am rocking out to tunes then I expect some conversation. If you can’t figure out what to talk about bring along magazines or a newspaper to read aloud to the driver. It’s a great way to get the conversation going. Husband and I discussed our hiking goals on this road trip. We talked about how we’re going to plan a vacation based around hiking after his deployment. It was a simple conversation but it kept us both engaged.
Obviously if you’re driving in shifts and sleeping on your off-shift then don’t expect your passenger to be chatty Cathy, let them sleep and listen to some music that will keep you stimulated.
Sitting in the car for extended periods of time you’re going to feel stiff and sluggish when you get out. Doing some simple stretches before and after a long ride will help keep your muscles from getting too stiff. I have a couple of favorite stretches that I do before and after driving that helps me from feeling too funky.
Bring a first aid kit
Cuts and scrapes are a way of life so bring a first aid kit to be safe. It should include band aids, aloe vera, alcohol wipes and gauze. If you have important medications include those as well as your over the counter motrins. We actually packed 2 first aid kits just to be extra careful because me and the dogs are not very graceful.
Have a backup plan
The night before we left for Las Vegas I asked the husband if he checked google maps for the best route. He had input the information into the Garmin GPS we have, but when checking google maps it gave a different route. Turns out that the route the Garmin wanted to take us had roads that were closed due to weather in the northern mountains. If we didn’t check google docs we would have gone an extra 4 hours out of our way.
Personally I like to have a GPS system, written directions as a screenshot on my phone, and paper directions. Some areas you may not have signal on your phone, satellite might be acting wonky, but a piece of paper will always be a piece of paper. Call me paranoid but better safe than sorry!
No matter what happens make sure that you remember to have fun! Things go wrong — that’s just a part of life. Doesn’t matter how much you plan you cannot stop the unknown from happening. You can stop yourself from being negative though! If you run out of gas think of it as quality time together as you walk to the nearest gas station. If you get behind a day in your travels take that extra time to sight see in the area you are. Find something fun to do like try new food, go to a park or a free museum. There was a dinosaur museum on our way to Vegas and I almost wanted to go there. Just remember to have a good time and don’t let anything damper your trip.
I could probably go on and on with all sorts of little tips and tricks that we do but I won’t! Keeping it simple is something that I’m trying to do a little more of in my life. There’s so much more to experience from driving vs. flying. Make sure you take in the sights and get lots of pictures. Perhaps a scrapbook project in the future with all those pictures?
What are some of your favorite tips for when you’re on the road? Do you agree or disagree with any of my list? I would love to read any and all comments below!
**Have your tires, the engine, and the oil checked before your trip.**