CD pack full of music. Bag full of sandwiches, chips and cookies. Cooler full of Mountain Dew and a thermos full of coffee. Ahhh, nothing beats a good road trip … and I’m nostalgic for my road trip days of past.
Yes, my road trip days have dwindled since relocating to the Bel Paese and although I did just visit Reggio Calabria, I’m looking forward to heading to Texas this summer and hitting the roads again.
But like all good vacations, even a weekend road trip needs to be planned.
Here are five Tips to Pulling Off a Perfect Road Trip.
1. Divide and Conquer
A few years ago my cousin, my sister, her son and I took a Spring Break road trip from southeast Texas to southern Florida to meet up with some of our other cousins. While any of the three of us could have easily planned the trip, we split up the responsibilities. My cousin found the music, my sister ordered us groovy “Cousins Gone Wild” t-shirts, I navigated and drove and we all brought snacks. It was perfect.
2. Start Clean and Stay Fresh
Clean your car and have a mechanic check your fluids before you hit the road. If you are a messy bunch, and let’s face it, most of us are on road trips, then carry wipes so you can easily freshen the car when you make a pit stop. Also keep a plastic bag nearby to store your trash between stops.
3. Check Maps, Documents and Chargers
With everyone and their grandmother owning a GPS these days, a paper map might not be high on your list of priorities. But just for kicks, and in case your GPS flakes out on you like they sometimes do, print directions, the address or phone number of your intended destinations.
Also, ensure your license and insurance cards are up-to-date and in your car and be sure to carry your GPS and car-compatible cell phone chargers.
4. Agree on Your Degree of Flexibility
Some people like to travel without boundaries, preferring to stop only when they are tired or hungry. Others like to know where they are going put their pillow when the sun goes down. Be sure you and your fellow road trippers agree on your degree of flexibility.
Keep in mind that heavy traffic or road construction can cause delays and even the best laid plans can get offtrack. Ensuring you and your crew are on the same page-or at least reading from the same book-will help relieve any road trip stress that could creep up.
5. Beat Your Budget
Road trips are a great bonding experience and offer a fun alternative to flying, but given the rise and fall of the national gas prices, along with hotel rates and eating out, they can still cost a pretty penny. Check out MapQuest Gas Prices for the cheapest places to fill up and-even if you don’t want to book a hotel in advance-look online for less expensive alternatives to staying in a metro area.
Do you like a good ole’ fashioned American road trip? What other road trip tips can you offer?
Until next time … Buon Viaggio!