Six Ways to Take the Stress Out of Road-Tripping
Road Trips may be a longtime American tradition, but there’s nothing old-school about hitting the road these days. With the development of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s, driving vacations became all the rage but, even today with our dependence on air travel, road trips are still firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to fulfilling our wanderlust.
At Daydream, our focus is on the flexible lifestyle our residents love. When someone lives with or visits us, they aren’t just joining one property but are connected to a nationwide network of communities to explore. Our fully managed homesharing program gives residents a great opportunity to get on the road at a moment’s notice and, even better, to earn money while doing so.
So whether you’re heading out for a long weekend, or looking to put in some serious road time, we’ve got tips on how to lessen the stress of road tripping so you can sit back and just enjoy the ride. Because once you’ve experienced the freedom of the open road you might think twice before dealing with the hassles of flying again. And who knows? You may even find that on the road, as in life, the journey is more important than the destination. Which is not always the case when you travel by plane.
1.Hold the Phone
Without a doubt, technology is making road trips easier these days by removing the uncertainty that comes with bad weather, traffic jams, toll roads, and lack of info on where to fill-up your vehicle when you’re off the beaten path. Here are some popular apps that will help put all that critical information right at your fingertips (though not while you’re at the wheel, please):
Spontaneous trips are fun – at least until something that could have been avoided goes wrong (hello lack of gas stations). This helpful app lets you plan every detail of your trip, from determining how much driving time your route will take to discovering the coolest points along the way. With over 25 million trips routed, any concerns you have about planning the right itinerary will soon be in the rear-view mirror.
You’re soaking in the view outside your windows and loving the ride when you suddenly find yourself stuck in a long line of barely crawling cars due to a huge construction project miles away. Waze relies on community-driven data to update their real-time, live navigation. With the latest info on traffic jams and construction, you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding traffic jams, construction messes, and other road trip killjoys.
Helping you find the best gas prices, GasBuddy sorts information based on your location. And even better? It tells you which stations have restrooms.
INRIX ParkMe is an all-in-one parking app that help drivers discover, compare, pay, and even find the best route to available parking spots. And if you’ve ever had to look for parking in a strange city, you’ll know exactly how helpful info like this can be.
Even road warriors need make a stop now and then. Whether it’s for food, gas, a nearby place to stay, or even just a reliable WIFI connection, iExit helps point you in the right direction.
Toll Smart calculates toll costs across the country, and shows you alternate routes that can save you money. It displays the time, distance, and toll costs to help you find your optimal route. Because often the road less travelled is your smartest choice.
Find the cheapest, fastest, and most preferred routes for your upcoming trip with TollGuru, which makes it easy to compare routes for tolls, gas costs, and time for toll roads, turnpikes, tollways, bridges, and tunnels in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
2. Day Trips are Legit
Much of what make road trips so appealing is the flexibility and freedom they offer. You may think of a road trip as being a 5-day, 20,000 mile journey during which you stay in a different hotel or campground every night. But keep in mind that you can also rent a house or apartment to use as a home base while taking easy 2 or 3 hour day trips to nearby areas. Because of their diverse options, cities like Denver, Boston, and Los Angeles are the perfect places to launch your day trip adventures.
- From Denver, for instance, you can explore the stunning landscape of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, hang out the next day in the idyllic town of Boulder, head up the highest paved road in America, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway and take another day to spend amid the mind-blowingly majestic peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the most popular parks in all of America.
- The city of Boston is a day-tripper’s dream with its easy proximity to so many popular places. You can’t go wrong choosing Cape Cod for an unforgettable getaway filled with incredible beaches, bike trails, shopping, art galleries and, of course, some of the freshest seafood anywhere in the country. In the western part of the state, The Berkshires deliver world-class art, theater, dance, music, and film festivals that rival most cities, all wrapped in a beautiful blanket of flower-dotted valleys and rolling hills. And it’s only a two hour drive up to Portland, Maine; the perfect blend of quaint new England town and hipster-foodie haven.
- The incredible variety of day trips in LA will make you feel like you’re traveling to completely different worlds, but all are within easy driving distance from the city. Take in the laid-back mid-century modern vibe of Palm Springs, the surreal desert scenery in Joshua Tree National Park, the gorgeous beaches and great food in Santa Barbara or the hidden gem wine region of Temecula. Plan to stay in LA at least a few days so you can experience it all.
- And if the idea of day trips appeal to you but you’re not sure exactly where you want to go, check out some of these popular escapes to see which road is calling to you the loudest.
3. Stay on Top of the Weather
Whoever said we should always take the scenic route knew what a good road trip – and a good life – was all about. But it’s important to keep in mind that, when it comes to weather, not all scenic routes are picture-perfect. An unexpected storm, heat wave, or sudden cold snap can throw off your entire day and, depending how far you are from the nearest highway, can add extra stress to your trip. But today’s real-time weather apps can help you safely navigate the roads as they keep you updated on exactly what Mother Nature has in store for you along the way.
The Drive Weather app uses the National Weather Service’s forecast to illustrate the weather, wind, temps and radar along your entire route. It also provides comparison of different routes to make it easy to plan the best way to make it safely to your destination
Weather on the Way
Weather on the Way allows you to both choose both a time and a date up to three days ahead of your departure to discover the best. You can also toggle between two alternate routes to see which one has the best weather for those dates and times.
4. Hit the Right Note
Along with the right travel partner, a solid playlist can make all the difference in your trip. Spotify and Pandora are two of the most popular playlist apps but, whichever one you use, be sure to download your songs to your phone first so you don’t lose them if you’re in an area with poor WIFI service. The same goes for podcasts and audio books, which can keep you engaged (and awake!) on a long trip. Even better is if you choose a book that’s set in your current location.
And of course, keep a reliable car charger handy so you don’t run out of entertainment options just as you hit that occasional boring long stretch of flat highway.
5. Snack on This
On any road trip you’re going to want to keep your body as well-fueled as you do your vehicle. And while you have the option to stop at convenience stores and fast-food hangouts along the way, you’re going to feel a lot better – both mentally and physically – if you include some healthy options in your snack pack.
- You can’t go wrong with fruit, of course, but topping it with delicious nut butters takes apples, strawberries, and bananas to their next level. Look for natural nut butters that are sold in single-serving packs for an easy way to enjoy this delicious treat while on the road.
- Protein-rich snacks like nuts, seeds turkey jerky, and roasted chickpeas increase your energy level while stabilizing your blood sugar – something that will leave you feeling better than those all-too-common sugar hangovers that can result from too many gas station snacks.
- Packing a small cooler with vegetables and hummus or yogurt and berries before you leave home is another game-changer when it comes to keeping your energy up and appetite down.
- And don’t forget about popcorn because, well, popcorn.
6. Pics or it Didn’t Happen
The saying that humor makes life easier applies to road trips as well. To see just how laughter can be the best medicine, check out some of the weirdest, coolest, and most offbeat attractions your destination has to offer. From Route 66’s legendary Cadillac Ranch, to Colorado’s UFO Watchtower (yes, UFO-themed weddings are a thing), to Minnesota’s ultra-modern SPAM Museum (pumpkin spice SPAM, anyone?), your stress level – along with your Instagram feed – is definitely going to thank you for this.
Susan McDowell is a writer, nature-lover, traveler, would-be artist, and ex-adventurer. Winner of The Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Award for poetry, she creates content for various blogs.