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How Road Trips Work


Tips for a Great Road Trip

Here are a few tips to make your road trip the best it can be.

Choose the right people. As Huck observed in Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer Abroad": "I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them, than to travel with them." The wrong people can make the bluest sky gray, but the right traveling companions can find fun in surprising places -- and help you out of sticky situations. They can also help you ...

Plan where you're going. This entails more than packing some maps and a decent GPS (both good ideas). Before you hit the road each day, check state and local Web sites to find out which roads are closed and which ones have traffic backed up from Walla Walla to Weeki Wachee. After all ...

Accidents will happen. Pack a roadside safety kit with flares, triangles, jumper cables and first-aid supplies. Get your car serviced, top off your fluids and make sure your tires are inflated and in good shape. Consider joining an auto club. One way or another, you should …

Be prepared. It's the Boy Scout motto; it's also the law of the road. Carry some traveling cash for places that lack ATMs or don't take plastic. When traversing the desert, have several jugs of water in your trunk and be sure someone knows where you are. Keep some useful odds and ends around, such as duct tape, cable ties, bungee cords, a basic tool kit, flashlights, toilet paper, paper towels and hand wipes. Most of these items are small enough that you can still …

Pack portably. For security and convenience, carry your stuff with you when possible. This includes food and drinks, so …

Bring a cooler. Pack drinks and sandwiches. Having your own supplies will save you a lot of money, and will help you to …

Eat healthy. On vacation, we're often tempted to cram our pieholes full of junk food and fizzy drinks, but after a few days this will take a toll. You'll feel logy, and your car will be ripe with the smells of excess. Speaking of smells …

Shower and wear clean clothes. Less B.O. = a happy car and travelers more willing to …

Be spontaneous. Room for spontaneity is one of the great advantages of road tripping. Thanks to your excellent planning beforehand, you have the flexibility to relax a bit on the road trip itself and let inspiration guide you. Take in some side trips, or skip the cooler food occasionally to dive into some food tourism.

With careful planning, the right companions and a spirit of adventure, you'll be able to handle anything that comes your way -- and have a blast doing it. Until next time, keep the sunny side up, and the greasy side down.


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