There’s a certain freedom to travel by car. You can take breaks when you want. You can detour to check out roadside attractions and destinations along the way. You can stay as long as you like and leave when you want.
And what better time for a road trip than the summer? Just imagine the warm sun, blue skies, and miles of highway leading you to the Jersey Shore!
Planning Your Route
Back in the day, savvy travelers would call AAA and get themselves a triptik. These days, you can plan a trip just about anywhere without leaving your computer. Sites like MapQuest, GoogleMaps, and AAA can help you plan out your route — and even point to things like hotels, rest areas, gas stations, and restaurants along the way.
Remember that getting there can be half the fun! Look for points of interest along the way to make your travel time more enjoyable.
Long drives can mess with your health in a few ways.
- Take a break every 100 miles or so to help the driver stay awake and alert.
- Get plenty of sleep the night before you hit the road. If you start to feel drowsy, it’s definitely time for a break! If you’re driving solo, allow time in your schedule for rest breaks. (Bring a pillow along so you can nap in the car if need be — just stop at a rest area, and not on the side of the highway.)
- If you’re road tripping with friends, switch drivers periodically.
- Keep the temperature inside the car cool to help the driver stay alert and comfortable.
- Be sure to take stretch breaks — staying in one position for a long time can increase your risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). With DVT, blood clots can form in the legs — if the blood clots become dislodged, they can cause a pulmonary embolism. Move your feet and legs while you drive to help minimize your risk of DVT.
- Snack smart. There are almost always fast food places close to the highway; venture another few miles off the main roads to find healthier alternatives.
- If you’re packing your own driving snacks, make sure to pick non-perishables or bring a cooler along. Include plenty of drinks — some with caffeine and some without. Bringing your own snacks can save you some serious travel money.
- Plan your travel around rush hours. Leave early in the morning and take a breakfast break around eight to avoid morning rush; schedule another break for between four and six PM to stay clear of evening commuters. Staying out of traffic will help keep road rage and frustration to a minimum.
- Don’t forget to budget your gas money. You may be able to save a few cents per gallon by venturing a little farther off the highway to tank up.
One last driving tip: don’t forget the entertainment! Music, portable DVD players, and the radio can be good company… but the people you’re with are the most important. Take turns picking music so nobody gets tortured the whole way with music they don’t like. Break out some old driving games (like finding license plates from all 50 states or “I spy with my little eye…”) or invent new ones.