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Today we’re driving on an open winding road in sunny Southern California. The mountains are to our right, the Pacific Ocean is to our left, the air feels clean and crisp, and to our surprise, the family is smiling and having a blast after a 4-hour drive...total bliss!
The reality is that most people who think about planning a long road trip with family or friends see this type of scenario as total fantasy. To most of us, the idea of spending hours and hours in a confined car sounds like torture. We mostly do it for the sake of our families and friends–even at the sacrifice of tolerating the raucous happening in the back seat. But we’re here to say that a long road adventure can be quite fun!
As car afficionados, there is something about the freedom we get by driving on an open highway. It truly lets us escape from the worry and the bustle of daily living. We see it as a therapeutic way to re-energize our physical and mental health–whether we are driving solo or with our loved ones. The reality is that everyone can experience this same thrill by simply following some basic “road rules”.
The obvious first step is to know your destination. But before making that final decision, gather all your passengers to discuss all aspects of your trip – where you’re headed, where you plan to sleep and eat, what you will want to see and visit, and the timeline to reach each destination. By doing so, you allow all passengers to voice their wishes and desires, while at the same time setting some expectations for the entire journey.
Go retro by using a printed road map, or use applications like Google Map, Apple iOS Maps, or road travel specific apps like Roadtrippers to map out your trip. If you opt for the digital format, it is a good idea to have a printout of your itinerary with basic directions as some areas may not have good cellular reception.
If you are planning to stay the night, you’ll want to book ahead to avoid any non-vacancy surprises. Finally, talk with your friends about who will be paying for what. The last thing you need is to have a fall out because of money. The key here is to be transparent about the entire journey with everyone to avoid misunderstandings and unwanted disagreements. Remember, the goal is to plan a fun-filled ride.
It would be quite disappointing to have a great road trip end by being stranded on the side of the road. Before you venture out, it is important to get a free vehicle inspection at your favorite repair shop or just do it yourself with the following:
If you plan on crossing state/country lines, especially if traveling into Mexico or Canada, it is important to research the local laws for each region you cross. What may be legal in one state may be illegal in another. One peculiar fact is that some states see us “foreigners” as trespassers just because we have an out of state license plate. Don’t put yourself in a situation of being pulled over or ticketed for a silly reason. Also, speed limits vary from state to state, and some states love to use speed cameras to catch unsuspecting drivers. So, be careful and watch that lead foot!
All good and lasting relationships begin with respect. This becomes so much more evident when we, as individual beings, are confined in a small space with other people for a long period of time. The simple rule here is to be aware of everyone’s differences and be respectful and sensitive towards their needs and quirks.
Here are a few suggestions to follow...
There is nothing like having a well-stocked car with great snacks and drinks to keep our passengers occupied and happy. Here is our recommended list of healthy snacks and drinks to bring along for the ride.
For drinks, leave the sodas for meal stops and get a cooler full of these refreshing drinks.
Some may find sleeping in their car a bit odd, but for others it may be a way to save money. Other examples are to experience the thrill of it or simply because there were no vacancies available. In either case, sleeping in your vehicle does pose some dangers. Here are a few of those...
But if you do find yourself needing to sleep in your car, please follow these simple recommendations.
As we’ve shown, a road trip can be an amazing experience if you follow some simple guidelines. So, the next time you venture out, cherish your loved ones, stay safe, and have an awesome ride!
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