I long for a train system like in Europe. The ease of hopping on a train and zipping to an exciting destination entrances me. Aside from trains being noisy, crowded and sometimes slow, the fantasy remains.
One trouble with a lot of European cities is that the cities are not made for car travel. And there is something special about doing a road trip on your own, without the fanfare of buying train tickets. Just you, your car, and the open road.
As the winter drudges on, spring break seems like a distant dream, but in fact it is less than two months away. So as you are planning your next epic road trip, consider these tips.
- Give your car a check up. Nothing deflates the fun of a road trip like a broken down car on the side of the road. Check your oil, brakes, and other fluids before you take off. Notice a weird squeak? It could be the tell tale sign of a bigger problem. Better to learn about it now before you are a hundred miles into the middle of no where. And please, make sure to fill up with gas before you go.
- Learn to read a map. There are many different options for maps these days; a digital GPS (global positioning system) uses satellites to find your location and show it on a digital map. You can entered your destination and voila! it shows (or in some cases, tells) you step by step directions. For those without a GPS, driving instructions can be found on popular mapping websites like Mapquest and Google Maps. But for those who like a little more spontaneity, just pick up a map and hit the road.
- Do nerdy preparations. Not to be the downer of the group, it is the pits to run into a construction zone that adds 3 hours onto your trip, or finding out that the gas station you just passed is the only one for miles. These are things that a preparation nerd would know. Take a look at your intended route and see if there are any obstacles such as intense construction or detours. You can alternate your route without so much as a hiccup.
- Bring the right supplies. The best road trips require the ultimate sustenance. Pick up a variety of your favorite treats. I always look for something sweet (gummy bears), salty (chips, Chex Mix) and something chocolatey. And do not forget about drinks. One caution about drinks- do not drink a lot of water unless you intend to stop to use the restroom regularly. And if you are somewhere without a rest stop, you might have to use the side of the road. In addition to good eats, make sure to bring good friends and excellent music to enhance the overall road trip experience.
- Take frequent breaks. Bathroom breaks are a given, but you often just need time to stop and stretch. These stretch breaks are a great time to switch drivers, as one driver can get fatigued.
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