Sunday, January 11

Driving Travel Tips!

I love taking long driving trips! I love the time alone (or with someone you can stand for long periods of time) in the car. I love having time to think and time to listen to music. It's soothing as well as being stressful at times, but sometimes it just feels good to get the hell out of your house for a while, haha.

Sometimes, it just makes more sense to fly. Depending on how many people are flying and if you have pets, a ticket can be anywhere from $150 to $900. If it's just you and you want to get there fast, flying's probably the way to go. But things get a little more complicated when you have a few people, and even more complicated when you have pets that need to be transported. Ultimately, driving with J and two cats is cheaper for me than flying, even counting getting a hotel for the night.

One thing I really enjoy about driving - and that is worth more to me - is that I am in charge of the trip. I am in charge of when I leave. I don't have to wait for late staff. I am in charge of the temperature of the air conditioning and can make the car as comfortable as I'd like. I don't have to sit in a tube of farts a zillion feet up into the air, haha. I can choose when we stop or when we take a break. I really, really like being in charge of my own "fate," if you will.

Here are a few tips I've learned from driving long distances:

1) Buy food beforehand.

I can't tell you how much you'll appreciate this once you've been in the car for a few hours. Don't stop at a gas station and eat terrible food just because you're tired and hungry - you'll pay too much and you'll waste time you could be getting to your destination sooner! Buying food beforehand helps you to make better and healthier choices. I like having a variety of foods in the car - some salty, some sweet, some crunchy, etc. And as much as I love stopping for coffee (and it IS necessary sometimes), it's also nice to prepare yourself with caffeine in the car to begin with!

I also bought two huge plastic bottles of water before I left Concord instead of buying a bunch of water bottles or buying water on the way - they were $1 each, and we never ran out of water! I filled up my reusable camelback throughout the trips, stayed hydrated, and spent $2 on water for four days in the car.

2) Fill up on gas when your gas meter's halfway down (and avoid New Jersey).

This is something I learned from J on our first road trip, and it's been such a useful tool! In my world, it seems like you should fill up on gas at the last possible moment, but when you're driving long distances, that's a really terrible idea. That's basically begging the universe to screw you over. Filling up when you're at the halfway point assures that at some point before you run out of gas, you'll for sure find a station. Also, avoid New Jersey. I mean, for a whole heap of reasons, but you can't self-serve in NJ, which means you have to wait in a line to have someone else do what you're fully capable of doing yourself. It's awkward and easily avoidable. Fill up over the border if you must, but avoid NJ.

3) Pack an overnight bag separate from your big suitcase.

When you have a huge suitcase in the back of your car, it can be a huge hassle to lug it in and out of the car, especially just for the night. Instead, packing a small overnight bag with your toiletries and a change of clothes is a huge lifesaver! It's easy to take in and out, and it'll fit pretty easy in the back of the car. 

4) Two is better than one.

I've driven by myself for an entire two-day trip as well as half of my trip down to Hilton Head this past December before I picked up J the next day! And both times, I did okay. It's kind of nice to have alone time, but it's a lot safer and more fun to have another person in the car with you.

Leif is a whiny cat, and by myself, I couldn't control or comfort him in the car without taking my eyes off the road. Once J joined me the next day, he took on that roll and the trip was so much easier! It was also easier to stay alert because I had another person in the car to talk to. Moreso, if I needed to sleep or have J take over driving for a while, I could have.


I'm so glad to be back in Concord and out of the car, haha. It felt so good to sleep in my own bed last night, and it felt even better to have J here with me. I already miss my family terribly, but it's easier leaving knowing that I'll see them all over my "Winter" break in late February!

Have you ever driven long distances or gone on a road trip? How did you keep costs down? Do you have any additional tips?

1 comment:

  1. It's highly important to fill the gas tank up whenever the meter is halfway down. After all, you might find yourself stuck somewhere with no fuel or fuel station up close, so getting prepared for the worst to come is a must. In any way, thanks for sharing that, Madie! All the best to you! :)

    Abraham Yates @ Apache Oil Company