10 Road Trip Tips

Secrets from the road, that’s what we’re talking about today. We are aware that many choices are subjective so please make your own list and structure it according to your likes and dislikes. For us this is still a work in progress and we welcome new tips and ideas. Feel free to leave your secrets in the comment section below, we are grateful.

Road Trip

Let’s get right to it:

1) DAWN – As in get the heck out of the bed or sleeping bag and hit the road. If you can get started early you avoid hours of traffic as well as heat in the summer.

2) DUSK – As in polar opposite of dawn. If you despise getting up early, consider driving later. In this On A Dimer’s case, the distance glasses are a must at dusk as well as snacks and coffee but late driving definitely worked on an overnight drive from Los Angeles to Zion and passing through the desert areas at 85 degrees rather than 100 degrees was very welcome.

3) BATHROOM – Carry a little kid porta-potty with plastic bags. We are talking brilliant if you are camping and little ones need to go in the middle of the night. This also is wonderful when you want to avoid less than stellar truck-stop bathrooms. Finally, not denying that more than one adult in the On A Dime crew has used the kiddie potty and been joyful about it.

4) FOOD – This is subjective and only you know what works for you but here’s what we’ve settled into. We do partake in fast food but limit it to once a day max and generally it’s breakfast on the road. We have noted that even heating water w/ either our Coleman or single burner stove saves money on coffee to the tune of $10-$20 over the course of a trip. A crate that is stocked with bagels, peanut butter, pretzels, apples, trail mix etc. will save you a great deal of cash in the long run and if you have room in the back seat to have the snacks accessible, that is terrific. On our current road trip, we knocked back an enormous bag of cherries over 4 days and found that to be great in that it was prolonged nibbling.

5) CLOTHING – Fellow travelers, we confess right here that we pack pretty lightly and then make use of a laundry about 1/2 way through a trip. It takes one hour and voila, clean clothes. We keep outfits simple and we do repeat wear when we are not getting filthy. Check the packing video by The Minimalists for an example of packing Zen as well as our former article.

6) DIRECTIONS – Subscribe to what works for you, however, we recommend a paper map for every area you are traversing. Paper maps give perspective as well as an idea of what is nearby as you are racking up the miles and the real boon is that they don’t suddenly cease to function when your cell/WIFI service goes on hiatus. Side note, when your teen is smug about their expertise with SIRI, ask them to fold the map and then when they cannot do it, quickly accordion it shut and then make the parental “hummpf” noise.

7) BATHING – When camping or just on the road, have a kit handy with toiletries in a small bag. We put our shampoo/conditioner/liquid soap in neat (and a bit larger than the norm) plastic travel bottles from Target. It is perfectly reasonable to either make use of camp showers which generally run a couple of dollars for a shower or to simply wash up in sinks where you are gassing the car. Next section brings up another tip.

8) WATER – This cannot be stressed enough, bring plenty of water (extra). On a 3,500 mile road trip, at the outset, we froze 4 gallons of water and had 2 in the cooler and 2 stashed in the trunk. We also had an additional gallon in the back floorboard. 5 gallons total as well as about another 2 collectively in smaller bottles. The ice chest contained ice around the bottles and 6 smaller frozen iced teas. If you are ever caught out with either car trouble or just simply at a campsite in hot weather, water will save your bacon.

9) PLAN – Share your plan even as it morphs and shifts. Text friends and family your route and locations of where you are staying. Remember that highway patrol (despite speeding ticket fear) and rangers are your best friends. Ask them about the area, respect what they tell you, and let them know your plan. If you backpack, leave your plan visible on the dashboard of your car. A good tip is also to photograph your license plate and message it to family for ease in case they need it.

10) CAR – Your car is your home on a road trip so have it checked out before you leave. On A Dime travelers always have the car gone over by their trusted mechanic prior to hitting the road and rotate the tires on schedule. When traveling in hotter climates, watch your temperature gage and make certain your air-conditioning is not stressing the system.

These tips will get you started and we’re hoping, make the experience easy and smooth. Although we did not include this on the list, going with the flow is a strength when you can pull it off. We tested this one when we rode out a lightning storm in the car while perched on the edge of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (more on that in our future article) We also were privy to the most amazing display of calm by expert travelers at Lake Powell when their boat ponied up a small explosion and fire and they never even flinched, just put the fire out and then matter-of-fact spent hours fixing said boat. This stellar couple and their kids should offer seminars on travel challenges and how to navigate them with optimism. Rock on Hibmas and rock on to all you road travelers.

Here’s hoping we connect with some of you out there while exploring the great unknown.

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