Taking a Road Trip

By guest blogger: Michelle Odland

Whether you are headed somewhere warm for Spring Break or planning a cross-country drive to visit your Great-Aunt Elma there are a few tips and tricks you should know before hitting the road so you can preferably stay in one piece.

First:  Plan Ahead

Plan your route.

Plan your route.

A quick Google search will tell you what a good route will be and show you any current construction that could cause massive delays.  You don’t want to be trapped in a twenty-mile gridlock along with thousands of other cars and trucks.  Take a peek before you establish your route and anticipate if you are driving through any major cities.  You’ll want to avoid them at peak traffic times when possible.

Make sure your car is ready for that road trip. 

Make sure your car is ready for that road trip. 

Second:  Tune Up the Travel Vehicle

Check the tires on your car—if the tread is getting low you may want to splurge on those fresh tires before you leave so you can avoid a blowout on the freeway.  Make sure you get the oil changed, tires rotated if not changing them, any repairs that you’ve been trying to postpone.  While a good cleaning isn’t necessary keep in mind you’ll be practically living in your car for the next few days and it feels nicer when it’s clean.

Third:  Give Yourself Extra Time

Driving is exhausting.  Ideally you will have at least one driver to switch it up to keep the road from blurring into one location and to help navigate your GPS or Google Maps so your eyes aren’t staring at your phone instead of watching the road and other cars.  This also is the reminder to bring a smart phone assuming you have entered the 21st century like most of us.  If not, upgrade your old phone.  Yelp, a search Engine and Hotels.com are some apps you will want to use often.

Fourth:  Hydrate and stop frequently

For those with and without medical conditions, sitting in one place for a long time can cause swelling in the feet and ankles, stiffness, and aching back and thighs.  Your first impulse also will be to make fewer stops and drive further by not stopping, but by drinking your recommended water intake you can help keep dehydration headaches and fatigue at bay, even on a road trip. Those bathroom breaks will help remind you to stop and stretch more often along the way.  Most interstates have public rest areas that are kept clean; there is always the option to stop at a gas station.  With both places, choose a busier place for safety reasons and the chance that it will be cleaner.

A road trip is the dream vacation for many people.

A road trip is the dream vacation for many people.

Road trips can be a fun adventure, or a miserable time.  However, if you follow these quick tips you and your car might make it the entire way whether you sing to the oldies station or listen to NPR.

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