Road Trip 2020
As wonderful as taking the train and watching the scenery unfold while sipping a drink in a lounge car is, it is simply not convenient in most of the United States, given our paucity of trains and their limited frequency.
As expedient as it is to reach a far-away destination via airplane at 500 mile per hour, airline passengers it is less than convenient when we factor in frequent long airport delays, sometimes unreliable schedules and cramped seat, among other things.
As frequent veterans of both of the above travel modes, we decided that for our upcoming Spring, 2020 trip to research destinations for future Simply Smart Travel columns, we would try a road trip.
We’re planning to take our relatively new sedan, point it north from Florida, travel as far as the Great Lakes, explore some destinations there and return to Sarasota via a different route. Along the way, we’re going to take some roads less traveled and visit towns big and small, museums and sights of all kinds.
As we’ve researched this trip, we’ve gathered a few tips gleaned from those in the know. We’re happy to share them with you.
Make certain your car is in good shape, including tires, brakes, fresh oil change, etc. If you don’t have a good safe car for a road trip, you can always leave yours at home and rent one for your trip.
Don’t just rely on your onboard GPS. Have a good current road Atlas (we use the Rand McNally Road Atlas and Travel Guide) and a navigation app on your cell phone.
Don’t overpack. Remember that you have to carry bags in an out of each overnight stay. If you forget something, there are always stores along the way.
Bring some audio programs that both the driver and passengers can enjoy. Bring a e-reader to catch up on your reading too.
Try an app on your cell phone to keep up with your local radio station. We use Tune-In.
Make sure you have a hands-free setup for your cell phone. It’s the law in some states and safer to boot.
For the days you are on the road, pack a special overnight bag to take into the hotel with a couple changes of comfy clothes and your toiletries. No need to haul everything with you.
*Forget fast food and rest stops for lunch, if possible. Find a unique café or restaurant in a small town along the way and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Try some local delicacies.
*Search for and check web sites about each destination you are considering for tips about attractions, lodging, etc.
Don’t be in a hurry. While sticking to
Interstate highways often provides the fastest route between point A and B,
getting off the main road and exploring secondary routes and less-than-internationally-famous
destinations can be immensely rewarding.