Saving On Road Trips

When driving for long stretches, remember that organization, navigation, and preparation can save you time, money, and hassle.

ORGANIZATION

While you can purchase auto pouches, seat pockets, and other organizational devices, there are myriad household items that are perfect for road trips. A simple rubber band can be threaded through air vents and around your phone to keep it in place and within reach. Shoe organizers can be hung from the back of seats to hold and categorize anything that needs to be easily accessible. Tackle boxes can be used to partition various snack foods and shower caddies are perfect for holding fast food items or assorted car fluids. If your vehicle has a trunk, plastic storage bins with drawers can be used hold and organize larger items. To free up additional space, you can store items in a mesh bungee on the inside of your vehicle’s roof. For garbage storage, a plastic cereal container with a grocery bag inside makes in ideal makeshift trash bin.

NAVIGATION

Dropping a pin (using your phones map application or the offline map app maps.me) at important locations can help you find your way back. Other apps that could help you include; the Gasbuddy app, which allows you to find the cheapest gas near you or on your route; the Venmo app, which enables you to exchange money with your friends (perfect for splitting restaurant and bar tabs or gasoline expenses); and the Waze app, which is powered by information from a network of local drivers reporting on traffic information, construction areas, speed traps, and general road condition. It will give you up-to-date information that can guide you smoothly along your way. Last but not least, road trip game apps such as Road Trip Scavenger Hunt and State Plate Bingo can help pass the time during long, boring, stretches. In addition to phones and other global positioning systems, it is a good idea to have good old-fashion maps and Atlases (best kept in plastic bags for protection against water damage).

PREPARATION

Emergency kits are also a smart thing to have; equipped with a first aid kit, toilet paper, water, snacks, blankets, jumper cables, and even a cheep mobile phone in case of an emergency. There are also apparatuses (such as the Jump-N-Carry) that can transfer power to your car battery without the need for another vehicle.

Whilst road tripping, one might also consider bringing a hooded sweatshirt to cover the eyes while sleeping in the passenger seat; duck tape, as you can always find a use for duck tape, even if only to make an improvised cup holder; and dryer sheets, which when inserted in the air vents can freshen up the nasty orders that are sure to arise from hours of sitting.


ON THE ROAD

When you’re on the road, you can tell whether the exit will be on the left or the right based on the position of the exit number above the street or highway name on the sign (if it is to the left, so too is the exit and vice-versa). It is also important to take heed of the big-rigs (18-wheel semi-trucks), as they have mastered the art of interstate road travel. Truckers use citizen’s band (CB) radios, head and tail light flashes, and turn signals to communicate, giving them enhanced knowledge regarding traffic, road conditions, speed traps, and more.

If you find yourself getting road sick, tilt your head to the side and you’ll feel a lot better. Also, not using your car’s air conditioning saves gas – the most efficient way to cool down is to open only the driver and passenger side windows. This creates a vortex that optimizes airflow and maximizes cooling.

On hot days, turn your steering wheel 180 degrees when parked to avoid burning your hands upon returning. On snowy or muddy days, you can use your floor mats to gain traction if you get stuck. An anti fog trick you can use involves cutting a fresh potato, rubbing it on the inside of your car windows, and letting it dry; no more incessant window wiping! If you are looking for a particular direction and google maps has let you down, try asking a local fast food delivery service, their expertise in local address location is impeccable. Having mechanical issues but don’t trust shifty foreign mechanics? Ask them about a part you know is functional and see what they say.

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