So many people fly everywhere these days that you might think the classic American road trip is a thing of the past. This is not the case. More people than ever are taking to the open road. In just a few days I’m off on another cross-country road trip. There’re lots to worry about when planning and packing for a cross-country road trip. One of the most important things is to prepare to be safe while on the road. Here are 7 tips for safe roads trips.
Tip #1 Research the area
Are there particularly unsafe areas of town? Are there known tourist scams in the area? Are there locations that are known as places to avoid? When traveling internationally, it’s also especially important to know what to do in an emergency! Is there a special number to phone for an ambulance or police?
Tip #2 Make sure someone knows the plan
Have a loose plan and share it. It’s smart to have someone know what time you left point A or when you’re supposed to be at point B and what route you’re taking. But there are two things you can always count on when driving significant distances. It will rain and there will be road work. I don’t always have definite plans when I’m on a road trip. I usually just have plans for a couple of days ahead and I just fill in the blanks as I go. I can text my daughter or sister those plans. I leave a hard copy of the things I know about my itinerary – the numbers and locations of hotels, rental companies, anyone I am meeting on the trip with my daughter or sister.
Tip #3 Scan & copy my important documents
I don’t leave home without copies of my credit card, bank card, driver’s license, and passport. I keep those copies in a separate place from my actual documents in case something gets stolen. This trip I am taking a technology leap into the 21st century. I scanned and uploaded copies of these documents to my secure DropBox account. Now I’ll be able to access my information from any computer.
Tip #4 Have a card with emergency information
Carry a card with the name, phone number, and relationship of someone to contact in case of emergency. I also include my health insurance information, my prescription list, and my allergy list. I check this information right before every trip to be sure it is up-to-date.
Tip #5 Be aware
The simple act of being aware of your surroundings can cut down on so many potential dangers. Take inventory of the area – what’s around and who’s around? What’s close? What are others doing? I love to talk to strangers but I am skeptical of people being too nice or overly helpful. I NEVER provide personal information (such as credit card information, hotel room number, etc.) to anyone no matter how nice they seem.
Tip #6 Bring a selfie stick
Everyone is doing it—including the President. There are certain iconic photos that are must-have on this trip—me standing in front of the Grand Canyon, me standing in front in front of Graceland in Memphis, me standing in front of Paula Dean’s Restaurant in Savannah. You get the picture! And with my selfie stick so will I (without having to hand my new cell phone over to a total stranger!)
Tip # 7 Stay awake
Pull over and take breaks every couple of hours, even if you don’t feel sleepy. Grab a snack, get some fresh air and stretch your legs by walking around. If you need to, take a quick nap.
A road trip is always an exciting adventure for me but I want it to a good one and safety is a big concern. These tips for a safe road trips are by no means the only ways to remain safe while traveling. What do you do to remain safe?
Stay safe on your next road trip!
This post was originally published in September, 2015