10 Handy Tips for Hitting the Road This Memorial Day
Many people are considering planning a family road trip for Memorial Day weekend. But before you load up the family station wagon and start singing "Holiday Road" like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's Summer Vacation, take a look at these 10 tips to make your trip a memorable one.
- Have a destination in mind. That may seem pretty obvious, but if you've ever had kids in the back asking, "Are we there yet?", you know the value of being able to tell them a specific time range. Having a specific destination also allows you to...
- Search for local hotel and restaurant coupons online. Hopping in the car and just going wherever the wind blows may seem like fun at first, but it can also get really expensive if you're not prepared.
- Plan out a travel route. There are several options for road trips; should you take the interstate and get there faster, or take the scenic route down back roads? When you consult your map, also make sure to check online for construction zones and other time-consuming road rage inducers.
- Check the weather forecast. You can't change the weather obviously, but you can be prepared for it and know how to plan accordingly.
- Do a little car maintenance. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", especially if you're on the road. Check your vehicle's oil and fluid levels, tire pressure and make sure all the lights are working. Also make sure you have a spare tire (and that it has air), a jack and a tire iron in case of a blowout, as well as a pair of jumper cables.
- Pack some healthy snacks. It's tempting to eat gas station and roadside offerings while traveling, but all those extra calories and no exercise and pack on pounds during a road trip. Pack a small cooler with fresh fruit, bottled water, sliced veggies, and homemade granola for when the munchies hit.
- Bring a first-aid kit. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but if you need it, you'll be glad it's there. Your kit should contain sunscreen, bug spray, bandages, antibiotic ointment, alcohol pads and hydrocortisone cream at the very least. Some other items could include ibuprofen or acetaminophen, motion-sickness medication, allergy medicine such as Benadryl, and some Pepto-Bismol for upset stomachs.
- Have a few used grocery bags on hand. Used plastic grocery bags have a myriad of purposes. Hang one around your console to collect trash in the car; have some around in case your clothes or shoes get wet to protect your interior; keep one in case of motion sickness; hang them around the headrest to organize kids' toys and keep them within reach. The sky's the limit.
- Arm the kids with their favorite toys, books and DVDs. There's nothing worse than a bored, whiny kid to ruin a fun family road trip!
- Have a selection of travel games to play in the car. These can be as simple as playing "I Spy", or seeing who can spot the most out-of-state license plates. Try playing memory games to pass the time, tic-tac-toe, hangman, and other classics to erase boredom and increase fun memories.
The most important things to do on your road trip are be safe and have fun! Making sure you are prepared for detours and emergencies will make the trip go a lot smoother and staying ahead of boredom will make it much less of a challenge.