Road trip? Those two little words are like music to our baby boomer travel ears. Alan likes nothing better than to be seated at the dining room table surrounded by maps (yes, paper maps) planning our next road trip adventure. And, we don’t mind driving long distances, which explains why he’s currently mapping out a route that will take us from Montana to Nova Scotia later this year. Uh, that’s a long way, even for a die-hard baby boomer road tripper.
To survive a lengthy road trip, or any time on the road for that matter, boomers need a strategy. Whether you’re traveling with a spouse, sibling, adult child, grandchild or your best friend, planning ahead makes for a smoother ride.
Of course Alan and I have different viewpoints:
Alan’s baby boomer road trip tips:
- Bring road maps as a backup to GPS units
- Pre-flight the car by checking tire pressures, fluids and belts
- Pack a tire gauge and jumper cables
- Include a cooler for bottles of water or soft drinks
- Save money by reserving lodging ahead online to take advantage of internet rates, which are usually cheaper
- Bring your own music (CD’s)
- Keep your camera at the ready for impromptu photo stops
Donna’s baby boomer road trip tips:
- Bring high energy snacks, such as nuts, for those long driving times between meals
- Research online for unique lodging such as bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels
- Pack a very small bag for nightly stops. Every couple of days, change out clothes from a larger suitcase
- Be flexible about music, taking turns listening to CD’s — not everyone has the same preferences (or bring earphones)
- Pick up free magazines at gas stations and rest stops for a glimpse at local happenings and culture
- Bring an auto battery charger for the cell phone
- Stretch or run in place when stopping to refuel, take photos, or purchase a meal
- Remember that this isn’t a marathon — it’s okay to take detours
- Ask for directions, if you’re lost
- Take a deep breath when Alan’s lodging choice looks less than adequate
- Pack a screw top bottle of wine — rest and relaxation is imperative after a day together on the road
While Alan uses his maps on the dining room table to plan our trips, as the baby boomer tech guru in this duo, I turn to the internet for trip research. When I’m looking for off-the-beaten-path scenic drives, I click over to America’s Byways for an in-depth look at our country’s designated scenic byways, including suggested itineraries, activities and lodging. To research historical sites, I use National Register of Historic Places. At A Traveler’s Library I search the site for our intended destinations to see what Vera Marie Baderstcher recommends in the way of books and movies to get us in the road trip mood. And, the National Park Service site is a must for planning forays into our national parks.
When I’m not online, I check my library of travel books. I usually grab a cup of coffee, then sit down to browse Off the Beaten Path: A Travel Guide to More Than 1000 Scenic and Interesting Places by Reader’s Digest to read about little known or quirky places to visit on the way to our intended destinations.
Other road trip tips:
- Road Trip America offers an extensive article base for planning a U.S. road trip.
- 55 Ways to Enjoy a Long Car Ride from TripBase
- Peter Greenberg advises on Car Trip Safety Tips