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good majority of my childhood was spent crammed in the backseat of the family
minivan on the way to the beach. One year, my family even traveled from our
home in Kentucky to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then to New York City, and on to
Washington D.C. before finally heading home. My most recent major road trip was to Louisiana with Andy over New Year’s. Other road trips I’ve been on include a trip to Mississippi, Louisiana, & Arkansas with my mother and grandmother in college and various trip to Indiana.
Throughout the years, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons. Learn
from my mistakes so your trip won’t be a disaster.
You do not want to be on the interstate in a rural area
with an engine failure. Also, clean your car before you leave, because it will get messy on your trip.
2. Buy a road atlas. Even if you have a GPS or a TripTik from
AAA, make sure to have a paper atlas just in case. (You will not believe the
number of times Apple Maps got us lost in rural Arkansas!)
3. Pack snacks. Once you’re finally on the road, you don’t
want to stop for a candy bar. Keep them within easy reach of the driver’s seat,
so you’re not rummaging through bags while behind the wheel.
4. Make a “road trip” playlist for when you lose radio signal in the
boondocks. It will happen and you do
not want to be fiddling with the radio when your hands should be on the
5. Don’t drive more than 11 hours in a day. Professional truckers don’t drive more than 11 hours in a
day, so neither should you. And on this note, it’s safer to travel with friends
or family– you can split up the driving. Plus, you’ll make some great
memories! (That being said, choose your friends wisely. You will be stuck with
this person for hundreds of miles.)
6. Relax. This is a fact: it will take longer to get to
your destination than planned. Instead of speeding to your destination, take
your time and enjoy the sights. Who knows? You may even run into a cool little tourist trap.
trap: Margaret’s Grocery in Vicksburg, MS.
7. Pick a good co-pilot or as I prefer to call
them, navigators. The person in the front passenger seat should
know how to read a map, give directions, and assist the driver in switching
lanes during heavy traffic. If the person up front does not fit these
qualifications, pull over and move them to the back. It sounds mean, but your
navigator is the second-in-command of your vehicle. Just like a co-pilot needs
to know how to fly the plane, the navigator needs to know how to drive the
vehicle and give directions.
too much than not enough. Of course, be careful with your money as you do not
want to flaunt it all and end up a robbery victim.
9. Take a break. Get out of the car to stretch your legs
and eat dinner. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that will keep you sane.
a rest stop. Don’t have to go? Then follow my advice
that I always gave my campers before a long hike in the woods: Go try. You do not want to be hittin’ the
safe and wonderful summer full of amazing memories. Happy road tripping,