Written By: Travel Sherlock
There may be no more traditional or beloved form of exploring America than the beloved Road Trip!
From our settler roots to the legends of Route 66 and the very idea of setting your own course driving into your destiny – road trips are the stuff of legend and the real exploration of our great country.
Perhaps your favorite trip is the rumble down I-95 from Northeast to the tip of Florida, maybe it is the Mojave Desert and Red Rock Canyons, or maybe you are a fan of the incredible National Parks that honor our remarkable resources.
Regardless of your setting of the compass (or the Navigation in your car ????), we can give you the best advice for your next journey in your motorized chariot.
First things first – EVERYONE road trips! In 2019, more than 82% of all Hotel visitors drove to their hotels. Disney had 8 times more visitors that drove to their properties than flew, so this may be the most relevant article from Travel Sherlock to date.
So let’s rotate those tires, check that engine oil and fill up our tanks for the best road trip possible.
Secondly, ENJOY THE DRIVE.
This truly is about the journey and not the destination. We need a reliable vehicle, great music or podcasts, and we need to take our time. The greatest failure of a road trip is trying to maintain a timetable. We understand we need to get to that wedding on time but let’s give ourselves 8 extra hours or 1 extra day for longer trips.
While planes and trains are expected to keep a schedule, we strongly encourage keeping a looser timetable.
You think you can ‘make it’ 500 miles per day? Why try? Stops should be organic on the way, restroom visits should be mellow and untimed, and maybe we should look out the windows as we travel. One of our greatest criticisms of air travel is the fact that it created ‘fly over’ states. None of our states should be flown over, and with proper planning, we can find incredible mini-vacations on our way to our final destinations.
Traveling through Anniston, Alabama? They have the largest office chair in the world! Amarillo? Have you stopped for the BBQ? Traveling down the Eastern Corridor and not looking for a clam bake or off the beaten path Fish Shack? Missing out!!
Third tip – Stock the car! We need water, sodas, and snacks, and we need to have them front and center. This is the perfect time to OVERPACK! No weight limits for bags means you should bring that extra shirt, dress, pair of shoes, or golf clubs. As long as you can see out the back with your rearview mirror, give yourself all the options you need. Bring your cosmetics, hairdryer, game console – go nuts – you finally get to determine that great scenario of having your closet travel with you!
But even with this level of planning and a mellow and loose agenda, the devil is in the details!
Take care of the little things. Every time you stop for the restroom or food – GET GAS. Make sure you have phone chargers that fit your car so that everyone has access to power. Since we have the extra space in the car, bring inclement weather gear (a couple of rain resistant tops and an umbrella would be terrific!) and (shh) bring a roll of toilet paper to leave in the car just in case you get stuck between exits.
5th tip for a Great Trip!
While we strongly advocate an easier approach to the trip, we do believe that mapping out your hotels will be pivotal for a good trip. There is nothing worse than pulling into a town that is exactly 1/2 way between you and your destination only to find out that it is sold out for the Squash Festival or the Homecoming of a High School you have never heard of.
Booking ahead with a reasonable time and mileage will give peace of mind about where you are staying and give you the chance to stretch your legs and go for a walk or swim. While we do not think about it, our bodies need a bit of a stretch to let that blood flow work after a long period of 7-11 snacks and listening to our book on tape. And if you get to that first check-mark early? All the better! Ask the front desk attendant what the town is famous for or what the specialty is! This advice let me eat the best-fried chicken and grits I have ever had!
Last and Final Tip –
JUST DO IT! These past 18 months have seen us become more reclusive and limited our access to our families and to travel in general. We need to peek our head out like the Groundhog on February 2nd and NOT see our shadow. Let’s reclaim the trip. Let’s reclaim the Vacation. Let’s be….. On the road again…