After way too much time at home, we’re all anxious to break free and hit the road. The quintessential road trip is all about making memories, exploring new terrain, and having fun. There are many details to consider when planning your trip.
To help create a memorable experience with ease, here are ten dos and don'ts when it comes to hitting the road:
DO: CONSIDER YOUR TRAVEL COMPANIONS
If you're heading out with your family or children, consider shorter drive-days, more frequent stops, and ending your day in the late afternoon, rather than driving into the evening. Choose hotels that will be a welcome destination at the end of the day. Consider family-friendly brands that offer hotels with pools, hot tubs, or waterslides. With a shorter drive-day, you can arrive with time to relax and enjoy the hotel amenities.
DON’T: WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO DO RESEARCH
Particularly as we enter a post-pandemic travel environment, this element is key to a successful trip. Having an idea of what to expect on your journey will help ease stress and remove potential frustrations. Consider local and state health protocols, what businesses are open and if they have modified hours, what kind of payment is accepted, etc. The more you know, the smoother the ride
DO: BE AWARE THAT SOME THINGS MAY HAVE CHANGED
Some things you’ve come to expect when traveling may have changed. For example, daily housekeeping services at many hotels are often not standard at this time. You can call to request additional linens or garbage pick-up, but the housekeeping staff may not be permitted to enter your room daily for standard service.
DON’T: SKIP REST OR SCENIC STOPS
Don’t undervalue the importance of rest. Give yourself the time to stretch your legs, rest your eyes, enjoy a snack and a necessary "nature break!" It’s recommended when driving for an extended period to stop every 2-3 hours.
DO: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AAA RATES
Savings on hotel stays is one of the top benefits consistently noted by AAA members. AAA members can save up to 15% at Best Western Hotels & Resorts, and other hotels offer AAA member discounts, too.
DON’T: TEXT AND DRIVE
Few things are as dangerous as texting and driving. Put your phone down and considering using the “Do Not Disturb” feature when behind the wheel. According to NHTSA, Distracted drivers kill an average of 9 people and injure over 1,000 people every day in America.
DO: LEVERAGE LOYALTY PROGRAMS FOR ADDED VALUE
Many attractions, restaurants, gas stations, and hotels offer loyalty programs. Find the programs that are right for you and make sure your loyalty pays off. Consider planning hotel stays and other stops along your route with just one brand. By the end of your trip, you may have enough points for an excellent reward by following this method. For example, the AAA Preferred Best Western Rewards program offers bonus points for AAA members and issues points that never expire and are redeemable for free night stays and more.
DON’T: FORGET THE SNACKS AND COOLER… AND MASKS AND SANITIZER!
Stock up on everyone’s favorite snacks and drinks for an easy way to stick to any budget and time restraints. American’s current favorite car snacks include cookies, chips, and, if mom’s packing, fruits, and veggies. And remember masks; as you travel outside your local area, Covid protocols may change – attractions, restaurants, stores, and hotels may require masks and other health and safety measures.
DO: CONSIDER BREAKFAST
Did you know breakfast is the most skipped meal of the day, with 58% of American’s opting out? Don’t miss a good start, particularly when preparing for a day of driving with the kids. Look for hotels that offer breakfast – either complimentary continental or hot, or an on-site restaurant. If you’re planning an early departure, many hotels now offer a Grab ‘n Go option.
DO: REMEMBER THE DOG!
Many pets found new homes over the past year as people looked for companionship and comfort. With the prevalence of road trip travel this spring and summer, rest assured you can bring your four-legged friend along, with many hotels offering pet-friendly rooms. Consider bringing your pet’s bed, a favorite toy or blanket, so they feel right at home.