You might already be dreading your vacation. Thoughts of highway traffic, anxious kids, and a cramped odorous car fill your head.
Well, not this year.
This is the year you can make stressful vacation roadtrips a thing of the past, all because you were able to get there in less time.
Shorten your Memorial Day weekend travel with this essential list of time-saving road trip tips:
- Pack smarter: Start today by making a list and choosing which bags will accommodate your stuff. Then, as you pack make decisions as to what may not make the trip. Don’t forget to plan a travel-day outfit.
- Pack several days early: Get it out of the way as soon as possible. This allows you to do other trip-vital tasks on the day you leave, and it will also give you time to remember what you may have overlooked.
- Make these important lists: 1) clothing and necessities (visualize each day); 2) toys, games and sporting goods (for kids); 3) in-car needs: garbage bags, paper towels, first aid supplies, blankets and pillows, planner, travel charger, portable DVD player, games; 4) travel food and drinks;
- Pack a cooler: Throw together some sandwiches and healthy snacks. You’ll feel better, save money and save time by avoiding the drive-thru.
- Just in case: Have a paper map, GPS or iPhone map handy because you never know what types of detours will await. Pulling over and looking at a map for 5 minutes beats driving aimlessly looking for someone to tell you where to go.
- Use GasBuddy: This free and easy online trip planning tool is among the web’s best travel resources. Just plug in your route and it offers detailed recommendations for fuel stop locations. Based on these guidelines, you can plan out an itinerary with necessary rest stops along the way.
- Check your car’s vitals: The American Automobile Association predicts that nearly 9 million US motorists will become stranded this travel season. That’s the ultimate time-wasting vacation-killer! On your way home from work, stop at your local garage or quick lube and get the fluid levels and filters checked — and change the oil while they’re at it. It’s by no means a comprehensive tune-up, but it will at least cover the basics and may alert you to any potential problems.
- Clear your route: Go online and get the current road construction status for your entire travel route. Here’s the link for US nationwide road conditions.
- Bring a bottle: Especially important for your trip home when you may be fatigued and sun burnt — drinking plenty of water will keep you safe and sharp. You’ll be less likely to make time-wasting mistakes like taking the wrong exit ramp.
- Amuse yourselves: Listen to music, play games, enjoy the scenery — it may not make time pass more quickly, but it will sure seem like it. You’re stuck in that car, so make the best of it.
More than 31 million people will hit the roads for Memorial Day weekend in the US, according to statistics. With a little planning, you can put yourself among the small group of happy travelers.
What are you doing to reduce your vacation stress? Please comment and share your single most valuable travel tip.
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|Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at [email protected]|