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Your summer road trip survival guide


July 14, 2015

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    As I write to you, I am currently about 2,500 miles away in sunny California. My boyfriend and I, with our German shepherd and pit bull, made the trip by truck from Savannah to central California in about 48 hours. Although the trip was long, we managed to squeeze in a ton of fun, pet-friendly things to do along the way and enjoy the ride along Route 66.
    Are you planning to hit the open road this summer? If so, I have a few helpful suggestions for you that might make your journey much more enjoyable.
    1. Budget your time and money wisely. Before you gas up the car, make sure you know where you’re going and have a very liberal estimate of what it’s going to cost you to get there. It’s a smart idea to give yourself a few extra days (and extra cash) in case of roadside emergencies and/or unexpected expenses.   
    2. Get the car ready. Make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip by getting it serviced. Also, bring some tools for minor repairs in case you need them, as well as registration, proof of insurance and AAA membership cards, if you have them.
    3. Make an itinerary for your journey. Before leaving, we sat down and determined the destinations along I-40 we wanted to check out on the way. Those stops helped to break up the monotony of the trip and gave us and our pups an opportunity to stretch out. Use Google maps and reviews to find top-rated attractions that are fun, cheap, free or kid/pet friendly on the way to your destination.
    4. Consider the kids (or fur-children, if you have any). Kid-friendly music, lots of DVDs and some fun car ride games (like the Alphabet Game, I Spy or 21 Questions) are a must for traveling with kids. For kids and pets, it’s important to pack lots of bottled water and medicines in case of car-sickness or injury, provide plenty of bathroom breaks and stay at hotels who give special attention to kids or are pet-friendly. Websites like BringFido, GoPetFriendly and PetFriendlyTravel are good resources to locate lodging and attractions that cater to your furry family members.
    5. Consider your own entertainment. An awesome playlist, some really funny stand-up comedy or an audiobook series can make a long trip seem much shorter. Cracker Barrel even has an audiobook rental program, where you can rent and exchange audiobooks at any of their locations!
    6. Stay clean and nourished. It’s easy to fall into the habit of eating fast food at every mealtime stop, but healthy alternatives are out there. Before leaving, purchase a supply of healthy snacks that don’t require refrigeration (think dried fruit, pretzels, granola bars and trail mix) so that you can stay healthily nourished without making time-consuming pit stops for greasy food. Also, long hours of sitting in the car can make you feel sticky and gross. Remember to pack baby wipes, dry shampoo and mouthwash to keep yourself feeling fresh along the way. It’s also a good idea to pack medications like ibuprofen, antihistamines and antacids in case of any sickness or aches and pains.
     7. Have fun! It’s really easy to get cabin fever after being in the car with the same people for hours on end. Make sure to keep your sense of humor, allow for silence when needed, and keep your cool as much as possible to keep crankiness from becoming conflict. Keeping each other in good spirits will ensure a happier time once you arrive at your destination.
     By following these tips and tricks to road travel, hopefully the journey will be almost as fun as the vacation itself. Bon voyage!

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