Traveling this Summer? Here’s a Short Guide to a Successful Road Trip

Whether you’re hitting the road for a cross-country adventure or exploring destinations within a short drive of your own city, “road tripping” is a timeless summer tradition that can open your eyes to new places and experiences—without the hassle of air travel. If you’re planning to do some sightseeing by car this summer, follow these tips to ensure that your road trip is a success
- Pack lightly. Inevitably, you will return from your trip with more items than you left with, particularly if you are traveling with kids. Trash will be generated while en route, tightly packed bags will expand, and you will likely pick up souvenirs along the way. Since you will be spending a great deal of time in the car, comfort is key—so pack only what you will need, leaving ample legroom for all passengers.
- Stock your car with the safety and comfort essentials. While packing lightly is important, safety is, of course, the foundation of any successful trip—and traveling by car may present an array of unique challenges that you may not have necessarily anticipated. To be prepared for anything the open roads throw at you, be sure to bring items such as the following, a well-stocked first-aid kit, blankets, your car’s up-to-date registration and insurance information, jumper cables, a spare tire (along with a jack and tire iron), flashlights, maps (yes, the old-fashioned paper kind--you may not have cell phone reception in all places!), a gallon or two of water in case you are ever stranded, and any other essentials that you or your family may need.
- Buy a National Park Pass. Whether you’re planning to camp, hike, or simply visit some of the most beautiful natural wonders that the country has to offer, a National Park Pass is your easy-access ticket. An annual pass covers the entrance and standard amenity fees at more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, including national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. There are also free or discounted passes available for members of the military, senior citizens, and 4th Grade students!
- Make a plan—but keep an open mind. While it is important to have an idea of what you want to see on your trip and how you will get there, one of the best things about traveling by car is the freedom to easily change course as you see fit. As you drive, be on the lookout for “off-the-beaten-path” sites that you may want to visit, and don’t forget to just enjoy the ride—after all, road trips truly are about the journey, not the destination.


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