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As many of you know, I’ve gone on a couple cross country road trips in the last two years. One was my honeymoon to Eureka Springs, Arkansas and the other (and most recent) was to the Southwest US with several stops on the way, ending with the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Several of my family vacations growing up were road trips, so I’ve got some experience with long amounts of time in the car and staying sane (mostly)! I’ve been wanting to share my tips and tricks with you for quite some time and I figured that since July is prime summer vacation time, it would be perfect.
photo: Van Gachnang
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
One of the biggest helps on my last road trip was all the research that my best friend put into the trip. She had lists of places we’d like to go including information like the address, contact phone number, approximate amount of time we’d spend there, and good places to eat nearby. Make sure to write down MORE excursions, events, or shows than are possible to visit in your time period so that you have options depending on what you’re feeling like when you’re actually there because it’ll probably be different than when you’re planning!
Remember that things happen (delays, bad weather, etc.) and you might not stay in one place for as long as you thought or you might skip it all together and move on to somewhere else. Having a flexible mindset paired with good research makes a huge difference!
2. DON’T RELY ON THE INTERNET.
Don’t put all your notes, contact information, or directions somewhere that uses internet on your phone because you might not be able to access it. Go old school and print out paper copies of everything. Have a standard GPS instead of only using the maps function on your phone. This was the biggest saving grace for the trip to the Southwest that we took. Phone service was very few and far between, so we were happy to be able to access notes and important information about campsites and hotels offline.
3. TRY VLOGGING
I had never done vlogging during a trip before, but on this last one I took along my mom’s point and shoot camera and took video all week of our trip instead of pictures. It was so much fun! It was much easier to explain what was going on in video rather than just through pictures. I’ve shared the videos of each day with my friends and family and they have all loved them and said that they wanted to try it too. You don’t have to have a fancy camera (I didn’t) or be super tech savvy. Just try it!
photo: Van Gachnang
4. GET GOOD SNACKS.
By good I mean both tasty AND good for you. It makes a difference, I promise. I’ve been that person that only eats cheap beef jerky, chips, and fountain soda for a whole vacation and, believe me, it’s not worth it. I’m a firm believer in YOLO’ing in the food department while on vacation, but balance is key, people! Some favorite snacks I like to bring with me are fruit, chips + salsa, sunflower seeds, muffins, and even stuff to make sandwiches.
5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR CAR
Before you go on your trip, make sure you get your car checked out by a professional. You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere and break down with a car problem that could have easily been taken car of before you leave. Check all your fluid levels. Get your oil changed if you’re due for one soon. Better to be safe than sorry!
Here’s a bonus tip for you regarding numbers 4 and 5: Why not knock out both tasks at once by doing your snack shopping at Walmart while your car is being serviced at the Automotive Care Center (ACC)?
Especially before a road trip, getting work done on your car by a professional is best just to cover all your bases. I always get an oil change done before a long trip just to make sure I’m all set. When I go to the Walmart ACC, I use the Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® since my car has over 75,000 miles on it. This formula helps clean out sludge in your engine as well as prevents leaks or oil over-consumption that happens sometimes in high mile vehicles. And, BONUS, it’s on Rollback from $39.88 to $35.88 until September 28. SCORE! More money for vacation souvenirs.
Another reason I prefer the ACC at Walmart is because I know that I’ll need to make at least one Walmart run for groceries or other road trip supplies before we leave on vacation. Like I said… killing two birds with one stone. What could be better? Anything that saves me time AND money is a win in my book!
Before you go on your next road trip, find your nearest Walmart with an Automotive Care Center here.
Road trips have definitely been some of my favorite vacations of all time! Getting to spend extra time with whatever loved ones happen to be on the trip with me makes it so much more fun. Extra time spent just talking and enjoying each other’s company make the prep work all worth it.
Do you have any road trip tips for me? I’d love to hear them in the comments!