Road trip tips for the traveler

By Web Master

By KATHLEEN QUANDT

Staff Intern

If you are planning a road trip this summer, properly preparing for the journey could determine how enjoyable the vacation would be.

A road trip puts you in the driver’s seat and in charge of where you go and what you do. Seeing and doing things first-hand makes this kind of trip different than flying, taking a bus or riding a train.

Taking a road trip requires planning a budget for food, transportation, lodging and other costs. There are several ways to save money and different ways to get to where you are going.

According to www.roadtripamerica.com, there are a series of steps to planning a great road trip.

The first step is to identify your trip’s purpose. This will help travel seekers figure out how much planning is needed.

The next step is figuring out your preferences. You might want a tightly scheduled trip or just play it by ear. Plans should be made in advance for a place to stay if you want to have control of your schedule.

While point-and-click road trip planners are free and easy, finding the information you need by doing some research with books and maps could be useful as well.

A few recommended travel websites are AAA.com’s Triptik, Yahoo.com’s Trip Planner, Orbitz.com and RandMcNally.com.

Asia Walton, 20, a junior and computer science major, said when she and a friend planned a trip to London, Ontario, she looked on maquest.com for directions but wishes she would have studied her route more closely before hand.

“I told [my friend] the directions when he was driving,” Walton said. “I would plan differently [next time].”

Brittany Timins, 19, a sophomore and physical therapy major, is planning to take two trips to Cedar Point this summer.

Timins is making sure to plan her route to Sandusky more thoroughly by checking road work updates because websites like mapquest.com do not take construction into consideration.

“Parts of I-75 are closed so we have to figure out an alternate route to get there,” Timins said.

An important part of a road trip is planning where to eat. To experience the flavor of the place you are traveling through, try a café or a roadside diner.

Another idea is to bring a cooler with snacks and beverages. Some healthy snacks to keep you going are fruit and veggies, granola and trail mix.

Lodging is another thing to take into consideration. Some people prefer camping while others like a hotel or resort.

“We have to book a hotel before we go,” said Timins noting the importance of doing so.

Also, make sure your vehicle is adequately equipped, and be prepared for emergencies. In case something happens to the vehicle during the trip, make sure that you have a charged cell phone on hand. A citizen’s band radio could come in handy in areas where cell phones don’t work.

Be sure to check your vehicle’s oil and other fluid levels and tire pressure before leaving.

Renting a car is another thing to consider.

“Rent a car that has better gas mileage like a small compact car,” said Timins.

Walton managed to save money on her trip by having everyone help pay for gas costs.

“We all went in on gas so it saves a lot,” Walton said.

Other things to be cognisant of while driving are weather and road conditions, especially if you will be experiencing conditions that you’re not used to such as snow or mountain roads.

“Have something to do while you’re in the car,” Walton said.

To make the trip more enjoyable, take along some music or audio books to listen to.

Safwan Anam, 18, is a freshman and will be taking a trip to Cedar Point with Timins.

“Make sure you make a lot of CDs for the trip,” Anam said.

Walton says the next time she travels, she’ll plan what she wants to do when she gets to her destination.

“Once we got there we didn’t know what to do,” Walton said of her last trip.

Keeping a travel journal can be helpful for planning trips. Take note of what goes on each day as well as trip data-mileage, stops, weather and expenses.

The final thing you should try and remember is to just hang loose. Even after all of your planning, things still happen that are out of your control. Road trips can be adventurous and things can be unexpected. It is a time to relax and enjoy the freedom of traveling the open road.