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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More Great Links
- Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. "Alaska's Scenic Byways: Seward Highway." (July 15, 2011) http://www.dot.state.ak.us/stwdplng/scenic/byways-seward.shtml
- Bergman, Becca. "America's Top 10 Road Trips." Yahoo Travel. (July 15, 2011) http://travel.yahoo.com/p-interests-34348817
- Blue Ridge Parkway Association. "Blue Ridge Parkway." (July 14, 2011) http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/
- Callard, Abby. "Great Road Trips in American Literature." Smithsonian. 2011. (July 15, 2011) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Great-Road-Trips-in-American-Literature.html?device=other&c=y
- Droz, Robert. "U.S. Highways." (July 16, 2011) http://www.us-highways.com/
- Frommer's. "The Pacific Coast Highway in 1 Week." The New York Times. (July 13, 2011) http://travel.nytimes.com/frommers/travel/guides/north-america/united-states/california/frm_california_0215020962.html
- Hawaii Tourism Authority. "Hawaii's Big Island." (July 14, 2011) http://www.gohawaii.com/big-island
- Hodder, Ian. "10 Great American Road Trips." MSNBC. July 10, 2006. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6576151/ns/travel-road_trips/t/great-american-road-trips/
- Joppich, Stefan. "Table of Mileposts for the Original US 66 Alignment." Route 66 Web & Atlas. (July 14, 2011) http://www.stjo66.de/mileposts_1926.htm
- Laderman, David. "The Road Film and American Culture." Journal of Film and Video. Vol. 48, no. 1/2. Page. 41. Spring-Summer 1996.
- Lonely Planet. "Introducing Seward Highway." Feb. 17, 2009. (July 16, 2011) http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/alaska/seward-highway
- National Geographic. "Road Trip: Alaska's Seward Highway." National Geographic's Drives of a Lifetime Series. (July 17, 2011) http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/road-trips/seward-highway-alaska-road-trip/
- National Geographic. "Road Trip: California's Pacific Coast Highway." National Geographic's Drives of a Lifetime Series. (July 17, 2011) http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/road-trips/california-pacific-coast-road-trip/
- National Geographic. "Ultimate Road Trips." (July 15, 2011) http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/road-trips
- South Dakota Department of Tourism. "Custer State Park." (July 14, 2011) http://www.travelsd.com/Attractions/State-Parks/Custer-State-Park
- Stanley, John. "Scenic Drive: Time Traveling on Route 66." The Arizona Republic. Nov. 16, 2008. (July 17, 2011) http://www.azcentral.com/travel/arizona/features/articles/1025road1025.html
- Tatko-Peterson, Ann. "Seeking Guidance: 'Route 66 Adventure Handbook.'" Contra Costa Times. July 23, 2011. (July 24, 2011) http://www.mercurynews.com/travel/ci_18507117
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service. "Black Hills National Forest." (July 17, 2011) http://fs.usda.gov/bhnf
- U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. "Blue Ridge Parkway." (July 15, 2011) http://www.nps.gov/blri/index.htm
- U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. "Mount Rushmore." (July 13, 2011) http://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm
- U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. "Shenandoah National Park: Driving Skyline Drive." (July 16, 2011) http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/driving-skyline-drive.htm
- U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. "Eisenhower Interstate Highway System." (July 13, 2011) http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/homepage.cfm
- U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. "Highway History: John Steinbeck vs. Charles Kuralt -- Who Said It First?" April 7, 2011. (July 16, 2011) http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/first.cfm
- Ward, Terry. "Pacific Coast Highway: America's Most Popular Road Trip for a Reason." The Travel Channel. (July 14, 2011) http://www.travelchannel.com/Places_Trips/Travel_Ideas/Road_Trips_And_National_Parks/Road_Trips_Usa/Pacific_Coast_Highway