This Is The Road Trip Season
Everywhere you turn Road Trip is what you hear. Everyone is planning one for a solo trip or a trip with the family. For either one, the best laid plans will see you through the whole trip. No mishaps or problems on the road, that’s a no-no. Smooth sailing is what you want and with detailed planning and preparation you’re sure to have a great trip from start to finish.
Here are our tips for making it a trip to remember.
1. Choose a destination that meets everyone’s approval
This sounds like an easy one to solve, but many trips are derailed before they get started because everyone can not agree on a destination to meet everyone’s interest. The best approach is to make a list of destinations and activities available at each location. A destination with opportunities to meet everyone’s interest is the best choice for not only agreement, but fun and satisfaction when you arrive. Choose a place with both outdoor activities, which are the best for social distancing.
2. Check with the destination as part of your planning.
Contact them via telephone or website for updates on any limitations, closing and changes in schedules and amenities. The number of families choosing to take road trips is much higher this summer than ever before. Parks, campsites and hiking trails are more crowded than normal and you may have to wait for hours to enter. Ask if you can make a reservation to ensure you manage your time wisely and keep frustrations to a minimum.
3. Use apps
There are many, so check them out.
– Roadtripper helps you plan your trip with available maps and live traffic updates help with rerouting and avoiding high traffic. A great feature for saving money are the deals listed on the app.
– Google Maps continues to be a great source for directions and alternate routing.
– Load the CDC TravelWell app for updates on health concerns in areas where you’re traveling.
– Gas Buddy – Find the closest fuel station and the best deals on the go.
4. Collaborate with friends
Call on any of your previous travel buddies or friends who love to hit the road for an adventure. They are the best to help you plan and prepare for your trip. Ask about recent trips and tips for places to go and things to do.
5. Contact AAA
They offer the best assistance with planing your route. They offer a large supply of information both online and in their office. A representative can help with routing information and tips for preparing your car for the road.
6. Research hospitality centers along your route.
Whether a short or long trip, there is always the need for toilet and rest breaks. Remember to wear a mask and wash you hands. The CDC protocols for staying healthy will certainly apply when you stop and encounter others.
7. Restaurants and food stops
Road trips and food are a traditional combinations. And, precise planning for your stops is more important now because of the limited number of places open and the social distancing protocols which may or may not be followed properly. Fast food places are more likely to be open for drive thru, however you may experience longer lines and slower service. Dine-in restaurants that you may have researched on a travel blog or tourism site, may no longer be in business, not open or experiencing slower service. Consider the amount of time stopping for food may add to your trip.
This road trip is the perfect time to pack a family picnic with items which are easy to eat in the car. Keep the driver in mind so he/she has a snack as well. If you plan to stop for a picnic at one of the rest areas, come prepared to cover the table with a cloth, handi-wipes (with 60% + alcohol) for hands and hard surfaces.
If you choose to dine-in remember social distancing and plan to have a mask, hand washing and hand sanitizers.
7. Map out gas stops
Gas stations are generally not hard to find along our road trips. The Gas Buddy app is an excellent app to load for fuel stops where you’ll find discounts and prices of fuel. Gas stations location along interstate exits are usually more pricey than those location further from the interstate. Consider the social distancing protocols – you’re handling the gas pump and touch pad for credit card use are all very high-traffic surfaces and sanitizing them between customers is highly unlikely.
8. Schedule a car check
Plan for a tune up, oil change and be sure to check all: fluids, tires, battery, lights, both front and back, and bring along tools to assist with road repairs if needed (Tools to change tires, cables for battery, etc.) Your local car supply stores will have travel kits which include everything you’ll need for minor road side repairs.
9. Bringing a pet
Pack for their needs – water and food bowls, treats, toys, and bed. If you are staying at an accommodation which allows pets, double check your reservations and their pet policies before leaving. Because of the more stringent cleaning procedures, places which once accommodates pets may have alter their policies around pets. Be prepared to pay a pet fee and bring along any documentations they may be required such as rabies vaccinations, tick and flea medicine, etc.) For things to do with your fur baby, visit the website Bring Fido, you’ll find everything from places to stay to fun things to do.
10. Create a great playlist for the road.
Nothing brings the group together more than a solid and shared playlist. Add songs that everyone would love. Let the driver make a final decision on any songs that will play while they are driving. For long trips, include great sing-along songs.
11. Make the journey special
A road trip is all about making the journey part of the destination. Plan to stop at scenic area for photos and include time to stop when something interest appears along the way. Those unexpected “finds” along the way will make great memories. Don’t just pass them by, make them part of the fun.
12. Responsible travel
Travel today has changed drastically. Not only in limited options of places to go and things to do, but also how we must choose to travel. Responsible travel is my new description of how we must make decisions about to travel or not, where we travel and how we return home. We must keep in mind several things about our choice to travel:
– Am I ill or is anyone in my group not feeling well. If the answer is yes, we should not travel until everyone is well.
– What is the health condition in the area I am planning to visit? The places we travel to are the homes of the people who live there. Today travel must include thinking of the people who live there and considering any illness we may bring into their community. There are always members of the city who are consider to be in the most vulnerable group for severity of COVID-19.
– And, lastly what will I take back to my community, to my home. When we check on the health conditions and levels of illness in the communities we visit, the question must be asked, how healthy and safe will I be able to stay and not bring illness back to my community.
Social distancing and following protocols is not the most fun thing to do, but it is the most responsible way to proceed with travel. Follow the guidelines so we all stay health to enjoy many road trips.