6 Roadtrip Tricks to Focus on Fun, not Logistics

30 Aug

Do you like a mess? Not so much, right? Do you like traveling with it? Certainly not!

What about souvenirs and scrapbook fodder? Now THAT’s the stuff to keep but it gets crumpled or lost under the seats.

Enter handy dandy (yes, I said “handy dandy”) products and planning ideas to keep your roadtrip focused on the fun and not the logistics.

Collapsible crates.  How do I love thee?  Store snacks, first aid, repair kits, plugs for your electronics, books waiting to be read, games, etc. Color code: one for food and one for everything else. They take up little room, can stack on each other, and for the return trip when there’s not as much left, consolidate and use the newly empty crate to hold souvenirs or, silly, collapse it. They’re great for off-season storage, too, to hold gear or to do what they were meant to: collapse. Not sure what a collapsible crate is? Take a look.

GPS. Some people like to wander and get lost on vacation.  They typically have longer than a week. If you’re not skilled at reading a map while driving and get tired of making u-turns, then a GPS will be a delight.  If you travel a lot, get a standalone GPS vs having it installed in your car; that way you can take the GPS in a rental car. And a true GPS vs. an app on your smartphone will make you happier because it stays positioned on the dashboard, easy to see and dedicated to this vs. multi-tasking with music and phone calls. Read more about my love (and occasional hate) for my GPS.

A sheet of paper.  Yes, a sheet of paper.  Vacation clears the mind, scenery inspires, and ideas generate.  Perhaps it’s a song you hear  to download later. A decorating idea borne from the local environment. Or you solve the dilemma that’s been weighing on you and there’s the need to jot down to-dos.  So why a sheet of old-school paper vs. anything on your smartphone? You may be driving, either solo or others are sleeping. But if electronics work for you, great. The point is to be open to capturing the inspiration as it happens.

Envelope to collect scrapbook materials. Whether you do traditional or virtual scrapbooks or photo books, you’ll inevitably collect things to bring home. Brochures from an interesting destination, postcards that take better pictures than you could, a placemat from a landmark diner. This precious memorabilia needs to make it home without being scratched or bent. Enter a basic 9×12 envelope tucked into the pocket at the back of a car seat. Done. Plus now everything is together back home until you get the chance to make your album.

Switch to a smaller wallet.  The little things make a difference and that’s true here, too.  You don’t need to carry membership cards to office supply stores or every single credit card. Reduce to the essentials: cash, ATM card, credit/debit card(s), insurance cards for health and auto. That’s it.  Why does it matter? Because you’re carrying more than usual: water, purchases, camera, guide books, reading books, etc. A bit of reduced weight and space here and bit more there…you’ve got the capacity for souvenirs galore!

List of your favorite hotel chains.  Exploring all day can be tiring. And the best laid plans can change. So you many cancel a reservation and need a last-minute hotel. Do web research before leaving home to determine which brands you like. Look up the chain in a few different cities to get a sense for their standard rate. Look at room photos–are they consistent across properties? Does this look like a place where you’ll feel comfortable and safe? Now make a list and include your travel rewards membership number so you don’t have to bring each plastic card. You’re ready to bid on travel sites or stop roadside.

Roadtrips are about both the journey AND the destination. With these tips you can better enjoy both; plus the nights in between and the memories afterward.

What are your favorite tips for easier roadtrips?
How do you capture the trip memories in the moment to make your album later?

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3 Responses to “6 Roadtrip Tricks to Focus on Fun, not Logistics”

  1. Raye August 30, 2011 at 9:30 PM #

    Excellent suggestions. Simple, logical, easy to implement. Thanks for the tips.

    • plonde August 31, 2011 at 8:22 AM #

      Thanks. Travel SHOULD be easy. It may take a lot to get there, but once there it’s about the joy.

  2. Cori August 31, 2011 at 12:41 PM #

    These are great tips! I always clean out my wallet and purse before vacation to bare bones of what I need and find it very liberating.

    I rarely rent a car, so another part of my routine is to completely clean out my car and get it washed and cleaned to start off the trip.

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