Our Best Learned Road Trip Travel Tips
Road Trip Travel Tips. Are you making plans and gearing up for a summer road trip? Or, for that matter, any other time of the year? Truth be told, road trips are by far my most favorite way to travel, followed by train travel which runs a close second. There’s just something really special about a road trip and the flexibility traveling by car offers.
“Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.” Confucious
Covid & Travel
Recently, I read through a few of our older posts and I was reminded of how much the world of travel has changed in just a short 3 years. And, just how rapidly everything changed. I had long forgotten that in 2020, US citizens were banned from traveling to EU countries because of the slow response to Covid. Lockdowns around the world were the theme of the day and Covid pretty much brought the travel industry to a screeching halt, especially international travel.
What to do? When the world of airline and international travel all but comes to a full stop, and the thought of staying in a hotel weighs heavily, what’s a weary traveler to do? Road trip! During the pandemic years, the rise of RV rentals/purchases skyrocketed. So much so that a whole new era of renting RV’s from private parties took leaps and bounds.
- “As so many try to keep their distance and avoid crowds during the coronavirus pandemic, peer-to-peer RV rental company RVshare said last week bookings had increased 650%.” CNET.com
We’ve Learned the Hard Way
We’ve taken on a number of long distance (and short distance) road trips, so we’ve gotten pretty good at knowing what to take and what to leave home. There’s something about packing a car that messes with your brain and you start to think you can pack everything but the kitchen sink in the trunk of your car, simply because you can. It’s not a good idea. Trust me. We’ve learned the hard way.
We’ve driven across the United States on four separate occasions, each time taking a different route. It’s a long haul, but we’d do it again in a heartbeat. To date we’ve made it to 48 out of the 50 states. We drove Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois, to Barstow, California. We made the trip in 9 days which was not nearly long enough, so we’d love to drive it again.
Well if you ever plan to motor west
Just take my way that’s the highway that’s the best
Get your kicks on Route 66
Well it winds from Chicago to L.A.
More than 2000 miles all the way
Get your kicks on Route 66
Written in 1946 – Bobby Troup
The Eastern Seaboard
You may remember in the summer of 2022 we drove 3,500 miles from our home base to Prince Edward Island, to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and home again. It was an extraordinary road trip. We’ve driven up and down the eastern seaboard and have plans to do so again, and we’ve driven to western and eastern Canada.
Road Trip Travel Tips
So what have we learned putting in all of those miles? A lot. When we do fly, which we are planning to do so once again this year, we travel light. We each take one bag and a backpack. Everything gets carried on, and no wheels on our bags. The cobblestones of Portugal cured us of wheels.
The same philosophy applies to long/short distance road trips. Travel light. The big difference is your car needs a few things as well. Here’s a few of our best learned road trip travel tips. Some, I’m sure are obvious, but it’s always good to be reminded as you think about getting behind the wheel. And, as always it’s better to be safe than sorry because you never know what you’ll find out there on the road.
Road Trip Travel Tips – Car
If you have a service such as AAA, it’s a good idea to take your car for a courtesy service check, before hitting the road. Or, make an appointment with your favorite mechanic. Better safe than sorry, especially if you’re gearing up for a long distance trip.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Benjamin Franklin
Here’s a list of what’s in our car when we take on a long road trip, a few of which are always in the trunk.
- A small tool bag with a screw driver, pliers, tire pressure gauge, scissors, gloves, flares, duct tape and rags.
- Jumper cables
- Registration, insurance and emergency road service contact
- Device chargers
- A personal hygiene pack
- Small first aide kit
- Coins and small bills for toll roads
A few added random tips.
- We rarely let our fuel gauge drop below the 1/4 mark.
- Keep a picture, in your phone, of your car’s license plate.
- If you’re driving and you’re being followed by an unmarked car flagging you to pull over, don’t do it. Call 911, give them your location and tell them what you see.
- Refill your prescriptions and know how to get refills on the road. i.e. CVS, Costco.
- Send your planned route/itinerary to a loved one.
Road Trip Travel Tips – Fun!
What we enjoy best about a road trip is the flexibility. It’s a different world when traveling by car. When you’re in an airplane, yes, the views can be spectacular, but you can’t see the close up. You miss so much and you can’t pull over and get an order of fries and a soda, or a milkshake, or a box of doughnuts just because you really want some. Or, drive thru Starbucks more often than maybe you should. Hmm… see a theme here about our road trips?
Embrace the Open Road
When you travel by car, you can stop any time you want to read an historic road marker, or take a little side trip to a point of interest, or, and best of all, if you find yourself in a place that just really captures your heart, you can stay an extra day or two.
More Random Tips
When we take an extended road trip, such as driving Route 66, we often don’t book accommodations ahead of time (unless it’s high season) so we have the flexibility of stopping when/where we want. And, sometimes we find the best hotel rates with same day reservations. Speaking of reservations, any credit card in your wallet should be associated with a hotel chain. We’ve enjoyed many a comped stay with our hotel points.
The travel industry is finding its way back. More and more people are flying internationally (or domestic), they’re booking cruises again, and they’re heading back out on the open road. With the loosened Covid mandates, travel is definitely on the rise. So, what do you think? Ready to take on a road trip?
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” Anita Desai
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