Road trips are a veritable American pasttime. Since the 1950s, millions of people have hit the highway in their family vehicles and traversed the country with road games, goofy songs, and french fry wrappers. If you’re looking to continue this tradition, plan ahead for a memorable–not chaotic–road trip.
Avoid the “Blue Highways”
This nickname was made popular by author William Least Heat-Moon in a book surrounding back roads in America. It’s basically a requirement to travel the country on some back roads, as interstates can take you around some of the most beautiful parts of America. However, these backroads can be nothing more than fast food restaurants, strip malls, and housing developments. Most updated U.S. road maps have recommended scenic routes so you can actually see the mountains, forests, and oceans. Make sure you veer off the interstates for a few hundred miles at least so you can say you’ve truly seen the heart of America.
Save Your Sanity with a Satellite Radio Subscription
When you’re on those inevitable boring stretches in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to want something to entertain you. Satellite radio can be a sanity saver and it can actually be quite useful. Regional radio is getting harder and harder to come by, so if you’re traveling to a big city like LA or New York, you’ll be grateful for the commercial free traffic and weather updates. When you don’t need real-time information, you’ll be thankful for hundreds of music and talk stations that never go out of signal range.
Avoid Driving Above the Speed Limit
Not only do higher speeds suck down the level of your gas tank more quickly, it’s hard to stick to a 70 mile per hour speed limit when you’re cruising through Kansas or New Mexico. According to the hosts of Car Talk, doing 85 mph increases the wind resistance against your car and puts a big demand on your car’s engine. Sticking to the speed limit will lengthen the life of your engine’s lubricant and overall extend its life. The last thing you want is to break down in the middle of Iowa, right?
Do a Car Tune Up
This should be number one on your road trip list. Have all of your fluids checked and make sure your tires have been inspected. This should include your spare tire! The worst thing that could happen is you get a flat and you find out your spare is also flat. Take your car to your local car dealer and have them do a complete once over, topping off things as needed. Save some cash by taking advantage of various specials like a complete fluid exchange special. As you’re driving, keep an eye on your gauges. They’re the first indication of an impending problem, so have your car tech show you how to read them and head of any major problems that could ruin your vacation.
Make sure your road trip is memorable for the right reasons! Let your trip be scattered with stunning vistas, greasy burgers, and plenty of sight seeing and you’re sure to repeat it next year.