Memorial Day Weekend (May 28th-30th this year) marks the unofficial start of summer-and road trip season. If you're hitting the highways anytime soon, consider the following tips to help you get from here to there safety and sanely.
1. Plan Your Route and Departure Times Wisely
There's nothing worse than watching precious minutes pass by while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Fortunately, you can avoid the rush-hour if you plan on traveling during off-peak times. Consider departing after 8pm or before sunrise when less people are on the road. You can pack pillows and blankets and let the kids sleep for most of the ride, but be sure you're well-rested enough to stay awake while driving! If an off-hours trip isn't an option for you, try taking an alternate-and often more interesting and scenic-route.
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2. Entertain Underage Passengers
If you're traveling with young kids you'll want to keep them amused for the entire ride. Fun travel games could turn tedious car time into an opportunity for family bonding. If quiet time is more your thing, consider investing in a portable DVD player and let the kids watch movies. Or crank up the music-compilation CDs or audiobooks that appeal to the entire family will keep everyone entertained and help you sidestep arguments as well! Also, chart out good rest stops with play areas along the way in case the natives get restless.
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3. Prepare for the Worst
Before getting on the road, make sure you're armed with essential road-safety gadgets, which will help with flat tires, dead cell phones, and accidents. Your best all-purpose bet is an emergency roadside kit. Also, tell someone at home which route you plan on taking and your approximate arrival time. In the event something does come up, you'll be ready to take it on, and even if the trip goes smoothly the preparation will keep your mind at ease.
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4. Bring Road-Friendly Foods
Extended time in the car often means filling up on rest-stop junk food and wasting previous travel time. Skip the time and expense by bringing healthy snacks that won't wilt or spoil during your trip. Pack chic picnicware and a tasty lunch in coolers and keep them within reach and you won't even have to stop while your passengers snack.
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5. Dress for Success
Sitting for hours in a car is uncomfortable enough without the added discomfort of uncooperative clothing. Forgo tight waistbands, wrinkle-prone fabrics, and uncomfortable shoes and dress in comfy clothing that will can take you straight from the car to weekend fun. Then sit back and enjoy the ride!
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6. Venture off the Beaten Path for Gasoline
With gas prices climbing every day, saving a few cents per gallon on fuel can add up to a significant amount of money over time. While you're exploring a new place, fill up your tank at the nearest station so you're not at the mercy of those located just off the highway, which tend to charge higher prices.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.
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