Summer road trip planner is a great time of year to plan a big trip, be it solo, with a partner, or as a family. The warmer temperatures and more carefree attitude that the season brings make it ideal for vacationing, especially road travel—spontaneous or planned.
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The average summer road-trip is nearly 300 miles in one direction, with plenty of people venturing much farther than that. That can be a lot of ground to cover. So how can you make it more pleasant for everyone involved?
Here are some tips for making it a smooth ride.
Bring the essentials
There are certain tools and technologies that make road travel more stress-free today than ever before. Don’t deny yourself the convenience of a GPS device, or at least your smartphone’s navigation app. (Remember to bring the charger, of course.) If paper maps are more your thing, be sure to bring the proper ones and also account for any detours. Don’t forget to bring an extra tank of gas, spare tire, car keys, pillows, blankets, and a camera to make the trip more comfortable and to avoid any metaphorical potholes, like locking your keys in the car or running on empty.
Plan for points of interest
Do a little research into the areas that you’ll be driving through and determine what are the hot spots, including restaurants, museums, historical sites, shopping centers, and cultural sections. Be sure to write down the business days and hours of every point of interest so you’re not disappointed by a “closed” sign upon arrival. And include rest stops along the way so you always know where the nearest one is located.
This especially goes for the driver who must remain alert at all times. Have a water bottle accessible to each person, and store a few extra gallons in the trunk. If you need a little coffee or soda to stay awake while driving for a few hours, then certainly allow yourself that extra pick-me-up. But water—and plenty of it—is really the best option when it comes to staying sharp.
Stock up on snacks
Bring a cooler filled with healthy snacks so you don’t have to pull over at some seedy gas station every time hunger pangs hit. Good options for stocking include almonds, veggie sticks, apples, bananas, unsalted peanuts, whole-grain cereal, and cheese wedges. Passengers can enjoy hummus, peanut butter, guacamole, and other dips, but drivers should only nibble on easy-to-grab stuff.
Have a car sick strategy
Motion sickness can be a miserable side effect of car travel. Quell the stomachs of queasy passengers with ginger snaps, ginger chews, or lemon slices. Tell anyone who isn’t feeling well to open his or her window, and consider letting that person drive or sit in the front seat, depending upon the age of course. Make sure nobody who’s prone to car sickness buckles upon an empty stomach. A small, low-fat snack beforehand is a good idea.
Roll out the entertainment
Movies and television often make long road trip planner look like a pleasant montage never-ending laughs and merriment. But we all know that can be far from the truth. Keep everyone happy and entertained by bringing audiobooks, podcasts, mixed CDs, or MP3 playlists that cater to the group. And don’t underestimate the appeal of games for all ages, like “20 Questions” or “Name That Tune.”
Be prepared for emergency stops
Whether or not you plan to be spending any nights roadside, look up a few hotels or motels for emergency stops if needed. You’ll want to know of a few clean and safe options along your route just in case you need to pull over and rest for a few hours or the evening.
Know who’s driving
Before hitting the road, make an hourly schedule of who will drive what distances. Drivers need to know in advance when they’re expected to be behind the wheel so they can be refreshed and ready.
Prep the vehicle
Do a final check to make sure your insurance and registration are in a convenient place inside the car itself. You don’t want to risk being pulled over without those necessary documents within arm’s reach. Check your headlights and have the tires inspected and the oil and air conditioning checked so you know the vehicle is in tip-top shape before departing. Then do a quick clean of your car with a vacuum and dust the dashboard while removing any leftover trash that’s cluttering the interior. Then, you’re ready to hit the road!
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