The road trip is a right of passage when you’re a teenager with a new license, a crappy car and personal freedom. Fast forward two decades, the road trip is a survival story with cranky kids, strollers and countless bathroom breaks.
Whether you’re by yourself, with your crew or your family, here’s some tips and suggestions for that six plus hour trip on the highway.
— Check your tire pressure before you leave and during. This is the most important guideline to follow. The correct tire pressure will give you peace of mind that you can prevent a flat and will improve your gas mileage.
— Clean your car out before you leave. Get rid of the coffee cups, receipts, used tissues, hamburger wrappers and extraneous items from your trunk. Less clutter will make you organized so you can fit more things in for important stuff like camping equipment and luggage.
— Pack like you’re flying. Just because you have a lot more room to bring your stuff doesn’t mean you should. It’s all about being mobile and compact when your going to and from the car. I’m gone for four nights — 2 pants, 2 shirts, 1 jacket, shoes and 4 pairs of socks, undies and t-shirts easily fits in an overnight bag with my dopp kit.
— Wear shoes and boots. It seems like a dumb suggestion, you want to avoid flip flops, crocs and other light footwear. You need something sturdy and supportive on your ankles for the constant gas and break use.
— Pick your music before hand. If you prefer to be your own DJ rather then letting the radio/Sirius dictate the mood, than find your old CD envelope and go nuts. You can use your phone’s Bluetooth to connect Spotify to the car’ stereo, but that will be a massive battery drain even if you’re charge and you might not always be in data range. Often the battery will drain faster than can charge.
— Bring two chargers. Most new cars have a cigarette lighter charger up front and in the back seat. Your passengers won’t have to fight for charging when you’re using the front to power the phone’s GPS and Google maps.
— Print out directions anyway. If you reply on the graces of Google maps for directions, the printouts are a backup in case your Samsung Galaxy Note explodes on you or you’re out of data range.
— Stop every two to three hours at a rest stop. Just like when you’re at your work desk, you need to stand and stretch.
— Go to the bathroom even when you don’t have to. You never know.
— Avoid drinking soda. While being the worst thing you put in your body, the carbonation and acids can irritate your stomach when you’re in a stressful situation like a traffic jam. Water or ice tea is the safest bet.
— Don’t ride the left lane. There’s no need to speed to make up for lost time. You won’t make much of a difference. Also, cops are ticketing more those riding the left. Relax in the right, enjoy the ride.
— Bring lots of change. While EZPass is readily available, you never know if you come to a toll that doesn’t accept it.
— Text friends/family when you stop. You just want to let know that you’re good in case of alien invasion.
— Be spontaneous. If you see a great landscape, pull off at a scenic overlook. Soak it in.