Traveling Interstate highways can be an adventure or a nightmare… it all depends on how you approach the voyage. A little pre-trip planning can make a world of difference. Here are our top 10 tips on how to make your road trip safer, less expensive and more enjoyable:
1. Prepare Your Vehicle.
Change the oil, fill up on windshield wiper fluid and make sure you have all your paperwork (license, registration and insurance) up to date – and in the car with you. I like to do this about a week or two before the trip, just in case there are any unexpected problems with the vehicle.
2. Take Someone With You.
Having company can make all the difference on a road trip. Not only can they help with the driving, but they can keep you occupied. A long road trip is also a great opportunity to get to know someone better. Just don’t make it a first date. Incompatibility can ruin a vacation.
3. Bring Some Snacks.
Pack a cooler with drinks and snacks. Exits are few and far between along some portions of I-10 and a snack will be there when you really need it. Take along water, juice, cookies and fruit snacks. If you’re traveling with kids bring individually packed items to avoid sharing. A wet wash cloth in a sealed sandwich bag always comes in handy on the road. Small garbage bags can collect your trash between rest stops too!
4. Take Some Music.
Make a mix or two just for the trip. A road trip is the perfect excuse listen to some of that old stuff you don’t hear as much. Take more than you think you’ll listen to… it’s always nice to have more options. Turn it up and sing along. It keeps you (and your companions) wide awake!
5. Don’t Forget Sunglasses.
I-10 traverses the southern US, where the sun shines long and the temperature gets hot. I-10 also runs east-west so a pair of sunglasses on a long road trip will prevent squinting and eye strain when you’re staring into the sun for hours at a time. Don’t forget the sunscreen too!
6. Manage Your Fuel Stops.
Interstate 10 is notorious for long stretches of highway without exit services. Gas stations can be rare along the way. Always be aware of your gas level and the next opportunity to fill up. Getting stranded in the middle of the night, miles from a gas station is not fun. Start looking for gas when you hit the 3/4 tank mark. take along the I-10 Exit Guide (it’s “smartphone ready”) and you’ll know where exits with gas stations are.
7. Get Some Sleep or Take Turns Driving.
If you’re traveling with someone, every couple of hours, every gas stop or every pit stop make it a point to change drivers. It breaks up the monotony, keeps you more alert and gives you the opportunity to take a much needed rest. If you’re driving through the night of plan of being on the road for more than 6 hours, try to get some sleep. If you’re alone, pull over into a patrolled, well lit rest area and catch a few. Don’t forget to bring a comfortable pillow and a blanket with you. A well rested driver is a safer driver.
8. Avoid Rush Hour Traffic.
Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston and Jacksonville are just a few of the large cities along Interstate 10. They can all be traffic headaches during morning and evening rush hours. Try to avoid or time your travel to pass through these areas during off peak periods. Check out real-time traffic reports on the web, or tune into local news radio for live updates.
9. Avoid The Law
Nothing ruins a road trip (and your bank account) more than getting a ticket. What’s more, think about the all the money you’ll save on gas on a long road trip. Don’t speed. Wear your seat belt. Use your turn signal. It’s much more relaxing (and enjoyable) when you’re not playing race car driver.
10. Stop and Smell the Roses.
The best road trips are just as much about the journey as the destination. Allow yourself some extra time for extended stops or side trips. Take that exit to see a local attraction. Snap some pictures of the scenery or a beautiful sunset. Some of your favorite vacation memories will be on the way to your destination.