5 Tips for a Successful Road Trip

Right now, I’m in Las Vegas. I’m taking my son on his first road trip as we visit my grandfather in Arizona. We’ve stopped in Las Vegas for the night, and to meet up with my sister and her family. I’ve prepared for this road trip for a few weeks. As you might imagine, though, this isn’t my first road trip. I love vacations, and travel, and I used to do quite a bit of road tripping while in college.

As you prepare for a road trip here are 5 things to keep in mind:

1. Know Where You’re Going

First of all, you have to know where you’re going. Will you be making stops along the way? We stopped to have lunch with a cousin, and I stopped for dinner in one of my favorite eateries in the town where I went to college. I knew where I was going, and approximately how long it would take me to get there. I also made it a point to know where to get off the interstate as I approached the hotel.

Before you leave, have a good idea of where your turn-offs are, and what to expect. While I’m a big fan of directions and a good map, many others like to use a GPS. Even if you use a GPS, it’s a good idea to at least look at a map so you know what’s coming. Plan out your route ahead of time, and check to see if there are points of interest along the way that could change your schedule a little.

2. Make a List of What You Need

Next, make a list of what you need to bring with you. Check the weather in at your destination, and points in between. Make sure you have toiletries, appropriate clothing, special items for fun (beach ball, goggles, snow boots, etc.), and anything else you need. Make your list over the course of a couple of weeks so that you can think about things. Then, as you pack, check the items off your list.

3. Figure Out What Work Needs to be Done

Many of us have work that needs to be done when we travel. Just because I’m on “vacation,” it doesn’t mean that I haven’t got deadlines to meet. I make a list of the work that needs to be done, and prioritize it so that the most important items are accomplished first. I find out ahead of time which hotels have Internet access, or whether there is free Wi-Fi available at local eateries. Try to do as much as you can ahead of time so that you aren’t stuck spending your whole road trip stressing about work.

4. Close Things Up at Home

Make sure, too, that you have things taken care of home. My husband isn’t on this road trip, so he can take care of the fish (we do have an automatic feeder we hook up if we’re all gone), and there’s no reason to suspend newspaper delivery. If you are going to be gone on a long road trip, you can sign up to have the post office hold your mail. You can also ask a trusted neighbor to get your mail. Make sure pets are provided for, and that you take precautions with your home.

5. Be Flexible

Finally, try to be flexible. Leave room in your schedule to make unexpected stops if something looks interesting, or stay another day in one place if you are enjoying yourself. Don’t forget to relax and have fun — you’re on vacation!

What are your favorite tipes for a successful road trip?

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