Trippin – Preparing for a Road Trip

So we’re taking off tomorrow to go on our babymoon/mini vacation.  I am so excited because I need a little break from work, we’ve been planning this trip for a while now and we’re finally going, and it’s our last trip before the baby arrives (and I REALLY love traveling with the hubs.  I love experiencing new and revisited places with him.  Love that he loves traveling as much as me.  Hope our kids have the travel bug in them too.).

We’re driving down to LA tomorrow because flying right now isn’t advised. I can, but it’s not a good idea.  Also, it’s cheaper in terms of gas versus airfare for the two of us.  Lastly, because we want to take in California’s scenic route and be next to the ocean when driving down the PCH.

Here are a couple of my tips when preparing for a road trip that I’ve learned from taking these kinds of trips with my parents, the husband, and for work.

  • Even though you probably have GPS (whether it be your phone or an actual GPS device), map out your route on the computer before getting on the road.  This way you can gauge the route you’ll be taking, familiarize yourself with the cities you’ll be passing by, and how long it may take to get to your destination.  My type A personality sometimes even prints or writes the directions down just in case I loose service somehow.  My techy husband laughs at me for doing so.  BUT you should always be prepared.
  • Do your research.  Are there any landmarks you want to stop by?  Are they on the way to your destination?  If not, how much do you have to veer from your route to get to this place?  If you’re on a time crunch, this may be a bit hard.  But if you’re not and there’s something of interest that you’d like to see, I suggest stopping by.  Stops like these make road trips more enjoyable and memorable.  Plus you get to stretch out your legs.
  • Car maintenance is important.  Obviously make sure you start with a full tank of gas and monitor the gas gauge as you’re driving.  You may find yourself in the most rural and you have a quarter tank of gas hoping that there will be a gas station in the next 25 or so miles (Yes, it’s happened to me, but we got lucky and spotted a gas station just in time).  Also, make sure your tires aren’t flat before your head on the road.  And don’t forget to check your car fluids to make sure at a reasonable level.  My parents stress that I check this regularly even if I’m not going on a road trip.  Here’s an easy how to check your car fluids video.
  • Make sure you bring that AAA or road side assistance card.  I have road side assistance through my car maker as well as my insurance.  You just never know.
  • Don’t forget your car cell phone charger.  And just in case your phone dies, make sure you have change with you to use a pay phone.  Loose change is good too in case you have to pay tolls.
  • Snacks and Drinks.  Trying out the food spots along a route is a fun experience, but it’s good to have a couple of small snacks on hand to get you through to your next meal.  Tomorrow I’m bringing some fruits, salty snacks (chips or pretzels), and a couple of sweets (granola and/or cookies).  Always bring water to keep you hydrated.  We usually bring a couple bottles of us along with a flavored beverage or two.  If you have a mini cooler, even better.
  • Dress in layers.  Even though you’ll be in your car, it may get chilly or hot, so dress in layers so you can easily take them off if its hot or put them on if its cold.  A blanket is always good in case someone gets cold.
  • Bring a throw and/or a blanket for the passenger(s) to get comfy, especially if it’s a long drive.  But don’t fall asleep on the driver too much (unless they say it’s okay.  :-P).  Talking to them will keep them alert.
  • Tunes!  Update your iPod, mp3 player, phone, etc. with tunes you’d like to listen to.  You may not always find a decent radio station in rural areas.
  • Keep in mind car games to play for when don’t want to listen to tunes anymore.  These games aren’t only for kids, adults can play them too.  My husband and I have done this in the past.  Even during 3 hour drives from Virginia Beach to DC.  20 questions is always a favorite.  Or name that tune and artist (naming the song within the first 10 seconds of it playing).  We’re both competitive, so it makes it fun.
  • Charged cell phone or camera to snap pictures along the way.
  • Anti-bacterial wipes/gel!  Travel pack tissue paper!  Gas station and rest stop bathrooms can be pretty nasty and may not always have toilet paper.  So bring travel tissue paper with you just in case AND ALWAYS bring anti-bacterial wipes/gel with you even if you wash your hands after you use the restroom.  I know they clean these places multiple times a day, but *shudders* still bring it with you!
  • Take turns driving.  Driving can be exhausting and cause fatigue, so relieve the driver for an hour or two so they can relax.

Any other suggestions?  Some people have specific times as to when to drive.  Some start at the crack of dawn.  Some drive at midnight to avoid the traffic, etc.  Drive when you’re most alert.  Only you and your body will know that.  And if you’re tired, please take a break.

Any suggestions on must see’s or must do’s?  We’ve been to Hollywood, Studio City, and Disneyland.  We’re planning to go to Santa Monica, Mulholland Road, Fashion District, Melrose Trading Post, and possibly the Griffith Observatory.  Any other must do’s?  Or must try in terms of food?  Dying to go to Roscoe’s and try out a couple of the LA food trucks like LudoTruck, Kogi, Vizzi, or Buttermilk.

I’m so excited!!!  I need to get started on packing and cleaning out my car.

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