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Road trip tips and tricks

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Tips and tricks for the perfect road trip

Tips and tricks for the perfect road trip

Taking a road trip with friends is practically a rite of passage. Even if you don’t go somewhere exotic or renowned, it’s all about the experience.

From dancing to songs from your childhood to eating more fast food than any person should, road tripping can be the adventure of a lifetime. If you’re considering hitting the road with a group of your closest pals, check out these tips and tricks for the perfect trip.

Safety
Even though you have smartphones, make sure you bring a map. And on that note, learn how to read it before you go if you aren’t comfortable. Your phones might die or you could go through areas with poor reception. Plus, it makes you feel like a true explorer when you open a map bigger than your body to find the best route. Additionally, you’ll be able to decide which sights are worth detours and how to proceed, while a GPS will simply lead you from the starting point to the destination on highways.

In that same vein, don’t forget your BABY-G white series watch. If your phone dies, you’re going to want another way to keep track of time. Also, pack at least one phone card for those places that lack cell service.

When you park your car and head out to explore an area, drop a pin in the parking lot. Even if you wander all day, you’ll be able to find the car without having a mental breakdown.

Finally, get a nifty spare key holder and find a sneaky place to install it. If you lock your keys in your car or somehow misplace them, you won’t be stranded in a strange city.

Sustenance
While endless French fries sounds great right now, after a few days on the road, your arteries will be begging for a break. You should pack plenty of water and high-protein snacks for those long stretches of driving. Nuts, peanut butter crackers and beef jerky are some great options. Travel Zoo suggested stopping at grocery stores instead of convenience stores, even if its a few miles farther, because the food selection will be much more expansive and reasonably priced.

Sanity
Even if you’re only traveling with one other person, the car will become disheveled faster than you think. Stock the car with plastic shopping bags that you can use to collect garbage. This will keep the side pockets and floors clean, plus it’ll be easy to toss your trash out at the next rest stop.

To avoid road rage as much as possible, schedule the legs of your trip around rush hours. Every state has its own traffic nightmare, though some are worse than others, and it’ll only kill time and gas if you try to cover distance as people head to and from work.

Gas prices fluctuate across the country, so you might miss out on sweet deals if you just patronize gas stations you drive by. Mashable recommended using smartphone apps like Gas Buddy, which locate the closest and cheapest fueling stations for you.

Smiles
A key part of road tripping is the soundtrack that accompanies the journey. You might not always have radio reception – plus, commercials are annoying – so be prepared with another music source. Whether you pack all of your old CDs, charge up your iPod or buy a satellite radio subscription, you’ll be thankful to have tunes when FM is all static.

During boring stretches of the drive, get road trip games started. From the most basic options like the license plate alphabet game to a unique challenge you invent yourself, they’ll help keep everyone’s spirits up when energy and enthusiasm are low.

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