Hitting the pavement and taking off feels like an American Adventure. The U.S. Highway system, designated as such in 1926, is a coordinated nationwide grid of roads that gets you pretty much anywhere. Interstate highways provide quick access and high speeds, and state highways, farm-to-market roads, and country lanes provide a slower pace with some great sights along the way, whether you’re traveling in the Deep South, the Mountain West, or the New England coastline.
With such a great system of roads, nowhere in America is off limits, whether your purpose is a destination or thoroughfare. And since you can choose your own pace of travel, driving is often the mode of choice for older adults and families with young children. Read on for a few tips on making your road trip, however long or short, an unforgettable and positive experience.
1 – Have a Loose Plan- it sounds oversimplified, but knowing about where you want to end up and when helps keep your driving on a schedule. That said, printing off directions from your computer before you go and never deviating from them can be restrictive. Make a compromise to have a geographic goal in mind for the day, but be flexible enough to reroute when you need to for bad weather, closed roads, or traffic.
2 – Buy a Road Atlas – many folks don’t see the need for an Atlas. After all, I have my car’s built-in navigation system, my phone’s navigation properties, or my directions printed off the web from last night (see tip #1). But having a road atlas is a great resource to have on hand in case of battery loss or satellite trouble. It also allows you to see your route and all the other options at a glance without “zooming” in or out, complete with exit numbers, mileage counts, and points of interest.
3 – Think Like a Trucker – truckers understand how to minimize the stress on their driving habits. If you’re traveling around a big city, consider arranging your trip to avoid rush-hour traffic. Drive into the city in the evening, and drive out in the morning. Take breaks. Don’t push through sleepy spells. Pull over and stretch, or take a nap. Plan for these “time-outs” to avoid driving when your ability is compromised by the sleepiness that is inevitable generated from the lulling monotony of the road.
4 – Be Prepared – make sure you feel comfortable changing your tire before you hit the road, and familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s emergency and maintenance required lights. You might consider packing some mini-reflective triangles in case you experience car trouble at night.
5 – Listen! – to a radio show or program that will hold your interest and keep you awake for long stretches. Consider a satellite radio subscription, or plan to take audiobooks or make yourself an old-fashioned mixed-tape for the way.
6- Get Roadside Assistance – even the prepared traveler can’t foresee all circumstances. Having roadside assistance ensures that you can get help when you need it. Changing a tire in snow or rain is not a piece of cake.
7 – Get Your Documents in Order – if you are traveling without current documentation of license, registration or insurance, you will be up a creek without a paddle if you are pulled over for any reason. You’ll also want to clear up any old traffic and parking tickets before you go to avoid your car being impounded or towed when you’re parked on the street while touring a city sight.
8 – Play Games – this is an especially great way to pass the time if you’re traveling with kids. 20 questions, the alphabet game, license plate scavenger hunts. Games like these help kids (and adults!) find purpose in the monotony of long days.
9 – Potty Talk – again, for kids, being able to stop frequently enough to accommodate those little bladders is important. If toddlers accompany you, take a mini-potty.
10 – Snacks! – sunflower seeds and beef jerky are healthier alternatives to candy and keep your mouth busy, helping you to stay awake. Kids need snacks more often than adults, and fruit and crackers preserve well in an air-conditioned car.
The most important tip of all: stay rested, hydrated, and alert! Safety comes first, especially in an adventure. With more families taking to the road in the coming summer months, be aware of your surrounding traffic and road obstacles. But don’t forget to have fun.
Driving can be a great way to get anywhere you want to go, even your favorite timeshare destination. And having a resort’s comfort to look forward to after the end of a long day of driving can be just what you need. Follow the links for more information on timeshare resale driving destinations all over America.