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On the Road Again

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One of my favorite things about road trips are the fun new restaurants you can try along the way. I would never eat at a chain restaurant when I am in a different town; I like to sample the local ingredients and regional favorites. However, when you’re in a different place, you can sometimes be taking a gamble. The best thing to do is ask the locals. They are going to know about those off the beaten path places with the best grub and the cleanest kitchens.

I am a planner. I love to plan my vacations cause it kind of feels like they begin earlier that way, and I have a couple favorite websites I visit before taking a road trip:

Where the Locals Eat lets you search by state to find the best eats in the area. You’ll probably even find something in your own back yard that you haven’t tried yet.

Road Trip America is an awesome planning tool that lets you search by area or route. You can even print out points of interest to read along the way and annoy the other people in the car with you.

RoundTrip Trip Insurance from Insurance Services of America. Since I am taking a road trip, I use the zero trip cost feature, which gets me all the coverage of the regular plan minus the airline benefits—for a fraction of the cost.

Here are a some other very useful road trip tips from our friends at Uptake.com:

  1. Get the oil changed and your fluids checked before you leave.
    Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready before you leave. Have the oil changed, fill up on windshield wiper fluid and make sure you have your license, registration and insurance up to date—and actually in the car with you.
  2. Go with someone you love. Or like. A lot.
    Good companionship can make all the difference on a road trip. The longer the trip, the more compatible you better be with the person you plan to be confined in a car with for hours on end.
  3. Take turns driving.
    It’s nice to get a break from the driving. It’s also nice to get a break from just sitting and watching out the window and trying really, really hard not to say anything when the other driver gets really, really close to the car in front of him. I mean, you know, for example. Don’t be afraid to do some of the driving.
  4. Bring your own music.
    Do you remember in the 80s when you had mixed tapes for everything? First Date Mix. Prom Night Mix. Ode To My Love For You Mix. A road trip is the perfect excuse to revive the mix (although it will probably take the form of a burned CD or a playlist on your iPod).
  5. Bring sunglasses and sunscreen.
    Sunglasses will prevent squinting and eye strain. Sunscreen will prevent an embarrassing sunburn on one half of your body. And cancer.
  6. Avoid stupid traffic tickets.
    Wear your seat belt. Use your turn signal. Don’t speed (or if you do, at least go with the flow of traffic). You’re going to get stuck in the exact same traffic jam due to construction as everyone else a few miles down the road anyway. (And the fines are double there.)
  7. Bring your own food and drinks.
    Convenience store food is fine up to a point, but if you’re going to be spending hours (or days) in a vehicle, plan ahead and bring food that doesn’t suck. I load up on water bottles, cans of pop, juice boxes, crackers, pre-made sandwiches, fruit and other travel friendly snacks.
  8. Bring garbage bags.
    If you’re going to be in the car for hours, chances are you’re going to be eating in the car. And drinking in the car. And chewing gum that comes in itty bitty gum wrappers in the car.

A well organized, decluttered road trip is a happy road trip. Do you have any trip tips to share?

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