Who’s up for a road trip? We are! My husband Steve and I have a unique opportunity to travel a bit this month. We don’t need to accrue any more money or mileage for next year’s airline status, so we decided to take a road trip from Washington, DC, to Jacksonville, FL, to visit Steve’s niece and her family for a few days! I’ll be honest, I hate driving and would always prefer to fly, but even I can handle the occasional road trip! We leave tomorrow, so be sure to follow @quickwhittravel on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Here is our planning process:
1. Map It
First things first: find the best route! Grab your phone, your laptop, or a good old-fashioned paper map. If you’re using a paper map, calculate your time by bearing in mind that you’ll be going around 65 miles per hour; if you’re using back roads, that’ll be more like an average of 40 miles per hour. If you’re using a mapping app, it will calculate the time for you!
When you figure out how long the whole trip should take without stops, decide how long you want to drive and start testing the times and distances of cities along the way.
2. Find Your Stopping Points
It’s very important to schedule some stops to stretch your legs and walk around. Stop for bathroom breaks and meals as necessary, but also plan on having a little fun on the way. Whether you’ll be stopping at an obscure museum for a couple of hours or overnight, have a mini destination to look forward to and break up the monotony of driving.
When we started planning our road trip with about 4 days’ notice, we knew we wanted to break up the 10- to 11-hour drive with an overnight stay both on the way there and on the way back. So we pulled out the map to see what interesting cities are about half way between DC and Jacksonville. We decided to go just a little more than half way on the way down to Florida, and Myrtle Beach, SC, fits that bill. For the ride home, Wilmington, NC, is right at the halfway point and is supposed to be a cute town with lots of history and interesting things to do. We have a winner!
3. Mode of Transportation
If you feel most comfortable using your own vehicle (or riding along with someone else), you can do it! If you’d rather not put the miles or wear and tear on your car, or if your vehicle gets poor gas mileage, or you’re just not sure your car will make it on a long road trip, consider a rental car. We are actually using a loaner car from the car dealership because my husband’s car is in the shop–we were sort of upset about it at first, but then we realized it’s pretty great timing!
4. Keep in Mind
Road trips are great because you don’t have to worry about security lines, missing flights, or keeping your liquids under three ounces, but there are some things to remember:
- Oil changes
- Regular maintenance
- Not running out of gas
- Tire pressure and tread, especially for longer road trips or in cold temperatures
- Weather on your way or at your destination (don’t end up like the Donner Party)
- Snacks–because sometimes you get hungry
- Water–because “I don’t want to have to stop and pee” is not a good excuse for dehydration
- Compromising with your travel buddies–talk about your travel styles and preferences; some people want to drive straight through, others want to stop along the way, etc.
Where have you road tripped? Where have you wanted to take a road trip? What are you waiting for!