With only Labor Day left in the summer holiday trifecta of Memorial, Independence and Labor Days, it could be time for you to go on that neglected road trip. With a long weekend still vivid in my mind, I share with you these tried and true travel tips:
When you’re going to be in the car without stopping for longer than two hours and you aren’t driving directly to a wedding, it’s acceptable to wear whatever you want (that wouldn’t get you cited and/or arrested).
Cup Holder Delegation
If you’re lucky enough to have vertical cup holders like me, you’ve probably learned that there’s a delicate balance in keeping your drinks upright. Let’s say you’re riding solo – what do you do? Easy. Drink in the back (to give it somewhere to go OTHER than the floorboard if it starts to tip), phone in the front (so that if it rings and your music is too loud, you’ll see it light up). However, what if you’re stopping at McDonald’s for a coffee on your way out of town and you need to have your wallet handy? Having experienced four deactivated debit cards too many, I can tell you – don’t put your wallet in the front holder with that cell phone, pal. One of them has to be relegated to the door pocket. If you’re traveling with a passenger, agree that the smallest diameter cup always gets the back holder (again, to save your floorboards). For those of you with horizontal cup holders? I don’t know…say St. Christopher’s prayer and move along, I guess…
Road trips with multiple people are a great way to learn more about each other, catch up on current events, and mine collective knowledge on those hard questions like:
- Who owns interstate easements, the State or the Feds? (State)
- How old is Tom Skerritt? (78. It’s true, Wikipedia it (and check out that creeper over his right shoulder!).)
- Does Tom Hiddleston look better as natural blond or demigod black? (I can make a case for either.)
If you’re by yourself, road trips are a perfect time to catch up on podcasts* or enjoy music** you’d never confess to (still) liking (un-ironically). Note: By road trip law, this playlist must contain at least one song by Bob Seger with or sans Silver Bullett Band.
I don’t know why, but it seems like everyone I know discusses driving theories in religious terminology. Here are two such theories; one is original, one is borrowed. First, my original two-pronged theory to speeding:
- There’s a 10 mi plus/minus. Anything else is too dangerous. (Note: The plus/minus I’m comfortable with myself is 4.)
- If you’re the lead car in a group of cars, and you’re speeding, you’ve got to let one car – you just need one – to surge ahead before speeding up. I call this the sacrificial lamb theory.
My friend Valerie has a theory about multi-passenger trips – with three passengers, someone must always be awake with the driver, and that person must always be in the passenger seat. She calls this the Trinitarian Theory of Road Trips. It’s a good one.
Some quick lessons learned:
- Stop at truck stops in Mississippi. They’re spectacular.
- If you look down and freak out because your fingers are blue, make sure you haven’t been sitting on one hand while you drove with the other.
- Pack as few things on top of your spare tire as possible and keep your trunk clean. You will really appreciate this when you’re fixing your flat on the side of the interstate in the middle of nowhere.
- If you get a crack in your windshield and think you can wait until it cracks more before you get it fixed AND you’re visiting a place with 95+ degree temps for consecutive days, go ahead and keep $300 on hand, just in case.
- Never underestimate the power of Seger.
I hope these tips help you on your summer road trips. Be safe, y’all!
*I highly recommend the Nerdist podcast, but cannot recommend it for under PG-13…ok…R…rated audiences.
**Submitted for your PG-13 consideration: Reality Used to be a Friend of Mine. Sadly, Spotify does not host the Seeg, but we can pretend that it does and sing Shakedown at the top of our lungs. In our cars. Alone.