Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are still finding ways to travel. Instead of heading to the airport, couples and families alike are hitting the road and exploring nearby states and cities. If you’re thinking about taking a road trip this year, make sure you’re prepared. Follow these five tips to drive safely while also having fun.
1. Make sure your car or RV is fit for the road.
The last thing you want on any road trip is to have a breakdown. A simple popped tire or broken belt can leave you stuck on the side of the road or making an unplanned stop for a few hours until it gets repaired.
Before your trip, take steps to prepare your car to handle long drives. See if the oil needs to be changed and put air in your tires. You can even ask a mechanic to check to see if it’s in good condition. If you drive an RV, consider signing up for a Good Sam Extended Service Plan which provides a warranty on repairs and can help you fix your motorhome affordably.
2. Visit cities that are off the beaten path.
One of the best parts of road trips is seeing new regions that you otherwise wouldn’t fly to. You have more time to stop in small towns and enjoy the journey – not just the destination. As you plan your road trip, look for additional towns and cities that you want to visit. For example, on a road trip from Nashville to New Orleans, you can stop in Memphis or enjoy a night in downtown Vicksburg.
You may even want to build a few days just for traveling so you can make unplanned stops and spend more time in certain areas that you like.
3. Decide where you want to sleep at night.
Your sleeping arrangements will determine where you drive and how long you spend on the road each day. For example, if you have an RV, you can stop in various RV parks across the country. However, if you are in a car, you may want to find rural cabins, quaint bed-and-breakfasts, or urban boutique hotels.
Decide the type of traveler you are and your budget for lodging each night, then find the right resorts or campgrounds that match these needs.
4. Put together a podcast playlist.
Along with creating a road trip music playlist, put together a list of podcast episodes you want to listen to during your drive. You can either binge through one podcast you love or pick and choose a few episodes about a topic you are interested in.
Look for podcasts that match your road trip. For example, if you are heading into New England in the fall, find podcasts about local history like the Salem Witch Trials. These podcasts can better connect you to the area and might give you some sightseeing tips.
5. Check guidelines for festivals and events ahead of time.
You may be tempted to build a road trip around a major festival or holiday, but that might not be possible this year. In other years, you could arrive in a city just in time for a fall festival or major competition. However, many events are canceled because of COVID-19 or operate at a limited capacity.
Before making plans, check to see if the festival is still happening or if you need to make special accommodations to attend. For example, a favorite haunted house of yours might need advanced registration this year as opposed to previous years.
Remember, your road trip is meant to be part of a relaxing vacation. Make sure your trip is safe and build in extra space for having fun and exploring new areas.