Would you let your teenager go off on a long distance road trip?

kids in vintage carTaking a long distance road trip with your teenage children in the car is a hair-raising experience. It would be more worrisome if teenagers go on a road trip all by themselves. Would you let your kids go off by themselves? It depends, of course, upon the circumstances and the purpose of the road trip; upon his companions on the road trip; and upon your teenager’s level of maturity and accountability.

If your teenager has just passed his driver’s test and has just obtained his driver’s license, you should think twice before letting him go off on a road trip unchaperoned. If your kid and his friends have been charged with DUI, speeding, or reckless driving, you must think twice. However, if your teenager and his friends have spotless driving records and the trip is for touring campuses, scholastic competition or attendance at a conference, then you can tell that the road trip won’t be an excuse to party while on the road.

If in the past, your teenager has shown involvement in the planning and execution of plans during your family road trip vacations, he is aware of what is necessary to make a road trip successful. If you see your teenager prepare for the trip by marking out a route on a map, working at an after school job to raise gas money, giving his car a tune-up and stocking up on necessary supplies for the trip your teenager is showing foresight and responsibility. You can probably trust him on an unchaperoned road trip.

If your teenager is considerate of your feelings; calls when he is going to be late; sends you text messages of his whereabouts, and if he is truthful and willing to ask for your help when necessary, then you may have reason to hope. If he lets you know whom he will be traveling with and you know their families, you can evaluate if his companions have the same sense of responsibility and accountability. His choice of companions can be a point of leverage for you: if he can assemble friends who are as mature and responsible as himself, then you can support the road trip.

Teenagers will have to go out into the world on their own at some point soon. If they have not learned responsibility in the past 18 years, then this road trip with friends will either be a milestone that marks a meaningful entry into full adulthood or else, this will set them back a few steps from which they can learn to regroup and try again.

Planning a road trip with your dog?

What a great idea!

dog looking out window on long driveIf you’re planning on taking a road trip with your dog, know that you are not alone. Since prehistory, people have travelled with their dog at their heels. So, relax, this is not as risky or zany as you think. If your dog is your best friend, then of course, when you take an adventure on the road, your dog should be there with you, too.

John Steinbeck, an American novelist, had a dog named Charley whom he took with him as he traveled the American countryside. Perhaps you can read that book in order to get some idea how it was to travel with a dog on the American roadway. Of course, John Steinbeck wrote this non-fiction book in the 1950s and it got published only in the 1960s. America has changed a whole lot since then, but you can still get a lot of insight from the book.
One thing we have that John Steinbeck did not have is a camera phone. What you can do is start a blog or create a page on facebook. Upload pictures of your dog while you are traveling. As you upload the pictures, perhaps it would help if you could put in your thoughts and observations. For instance, if you find a hotel that has a pet spa where your dog can be pampered, I’m sure this is going to be a hit with other pet lovers who may happen to browse your page.

You can write down tips and tricks for when you travel so that you can help other pet owners who may be planning a road trip adventure with their dog. If you find a particular product that is useful or a device that is nifty and handy, you can make a review of that product. If you bought it from an online store, the online store will probably appreciate a good and fair review of their product from you. There are a lot of things you can do when you travel with your dog not only to document the trip but also to squeeze as much fun and meaning from it.

Visitors’ Centers: Road trip resource 101

If you’ve ever gone on a tour of the different states of the union, you will have probably seen visitors’ centers at each state’s border. At most visitors’ centers, there are gift shops with mugs and shirts emblazoned with the state’s name and logo. There are often free food samples of the best products that represent the state’s culinary tradition.

Most visitors’ centers are a good resource for tourists. They are a good source of up-to-date maps of cities and towns that are popular tourist destinations. They also have information on off-the-beaten- track destinations for tourists who are looking for particular events and activities of interest. Some maps show not only how to get to your desired destinations but also the entrance fees, parking areas, picnic grounds, campsites and rest rooms surrounding your desired destination. GPS can show you streets but most GPS services cannot show you which streets are closed for repair or those which have been cordoned off for various local activities.

If you need information on hostels or low-priced bed and breakfasts the visitors’ center would have information on these. They can also tell you which is the oldest restaurant, the Michelin listed restaurants, and local favorites and watering holes which can give you a glimpse of how the locals really live and have fun. If there are convents, abbeys or monasteries which take in transient visitors for free or for a minimal price, the visitors’ center can give you recommendations.

They have information about organized activities like fairs, festivals, museum exhibits, plays, historical re-enactments, parades and even farmers’ markets in their area. They can often accommodate your request for booking for walking tours through historical sites or for booking a local tour guide. If you are a hobbyist or an art enthusiast, the visitors’ center is the one place where you can learn schedules of lectures, expositions, exhibits, symposia, conferences, artisans’ workshops, or art ateliers where you can learn new techniques and art forms.

If you want to visit the homes of famous people before they were famous; or the childhood homes of former presidents and ancestral homes of famous people which have been turned into libraries, museums or restaurants, they can give you this kind of information, too. Best of all, the visitors’ centers can tell you which local stores are your best bet to get great and one-of-a-kind souvenirs and antique stores where you can buy a piece of local history to bring with you. Some visitors centers even offer discount cards on public transportation and other attractions.
If you happen to pass by a sign pointing to a visitors’ center, don’t drive on by, stop and get information – this might make a difference between a good road trip and a memorable one.

Driving solo: women on the road

woman enjoying drive

The romance of the open road does not lure only men. Women also go on road trips. Some women go with a group of their best friends and share the driving task, others, plan a more laid back road trip on their own. If you’re 18 and you’ve been accepted to a college clear across the country, chances are, you will have to drive to your college lugging your stuff with you in the trunk of your car or in a U-haul trailer. Your parents might think of coming along for the drive as a show of support, but then again, they may think of this as a sort of rite of passage for you – heck, if you can make it alive in one piece on the road to go to college, you probably have the guts and brains to survive college!

So, what should you do if you have to drive solo?

1. Read up on driving on American roads. It helps to know a lot about the parts of the country you will travel through. Especially, it will help to get some road safety and traveling tips from other women who have blazed that trail before you.

2. Learn how to read a map or learn to use a GPS. Getting to your destination involves planning how to get there – which roads to take, where and when to stop, get gas, eat and sleep. A map is really necessary.

3. Plan on how long you will drive in a day, where you’ll stay to sleep, take a shower and eat. Some women actually drop by their relatives’ homes on their way. That’s a good idea, too. You can stop and visit for a while, bring presents, catch up and also check in with your loved ones back home. You can call your folks from your aunt’s house (collect, of course) just so they know you’re safe thus far.

If men can do it, women can, too.

On the road with the family on the way: carrying precious cargo

You’ve heard it before: women driving their car everyday to work until the day they gave birth. You’ve even heard of women driving themselves to the hospital to give birth because there just wasn’t anybody to drive them. Driving while pregnant is not some feat only brave and skillful women do – it is something women do every day.

Perhaps in your mother-in-law’s day, as she got to her third trimester, she took a leave from work and relied on her husband, brother, father, teenage son, neighbor or best friend to take her to the hospital when it was her time. Times have changed. More and more women are living alone, often, by choice. And even more women are opting to have babies all on their own.

drving a long way while pregnantThere was a time when driving was difficult when your tummy was bulging as the baby is about ready to pop out. There was also a time when pregnant women sat in the back seat where they can be better protected from crashing out through the windshield. So, how can women be sure that they are safe when driving while they are pregnant? Here are some tips we found which may help you.

1. Keep your car in good working and roadworthy condition. Having faith in your car will help you feel confident. If you know you’ll be headed for rain showers or snow, then make sure that your tires are checked, the pressure is sufficient and if you need snow tires, then put on some snow tires. Make sure your seatbelt works. When you’re strapped in, give your seatbelt a sudden tug to make sure that it holds you in just in case there is an impact.

2. Don’t be distracted. Put your phone on silent mode. Try not to bring your older kids along for a ride. Even when they are in the back and securely strapped into their car seats, you will still be distracted when they whine or cry or fight or even talk to you.

3. Know where to go and how to get there. It will be difficult to drive, keep your eye on the traffic conditions on the road while you are trying to read a map or listening to the GPS. If you have to go to the bathroom more often than usual, then plan short trips when you are doing your errands or else, schedule bathroom trips in between your errands.

4. Follow traffic rules and keep to the speed limit. Even if the car in front of you is going slowly don’t be tempted to speed up in order to overtake it. You can switch lanes if there is an opportunity but don’t take chances. If you know you are headed for bumper-to-bumper traffic, take a different route or leave earlier so that you won’t have to be harassed in traffic.

Driving long-distance on a budget – is it still possible?

Some people think that because the price of gasoline has sky-rocketed, it is impossible to go on a long-distance road trip on a budget. Here are some tips on saving money on extras so that you can spend money on gasoline. Plan your trip carefully:

men outside truck in old photo1. Choose the car you will bring. Driving a newer model will give you less headache as it will probably be in a more roadworthy condition to undertake a long distance road trip. Also, the engine on a newer model is sure to be more fuel efficient than on an older model. However, newer model cars tend to be more compact so comfort may be a question. Some people swear by their diesel-powered SUVs. There is ample leg room, the SUV is built to master less than optimal road conditions and it runs on cheaper fuel.

2. Choose the sights you will see. To save money you must limit your sight-seeing to landmarks and tourist areas that do not require exorbitant entrance fees or toll fees. This might mean going off the beaten track which means you will probably not be able to see what most tourists flock to. The upside to this is that you will probably see more interesting places and you won’t have to compete for parking.

3. Pick out picnic spots, rest stops and camping grounds that allow you to use a bathroom, use a barbecue pit, pitch a tent or unfold a sleeping bag—all with minimal charge or no charge. This means that you won’t have to pay for overnight accommodation. But this also means that you will have to be resourceful – you will have to compete for parking space. If you like your privacy, then free picnic spots, rest stops and camping grounds aren’t for you. The upside of this is that you meet a lot of interesting new people.

4. Bring snacks from home and buy fresh fruits and vegetables locally. Bring food that won’t require cooking such as granola, nuts, trail mixes, breakfast cereals. Instead of eating at fast food stores, bring a knives, forks and dishes and make your own sandwiches: if you stop at a city or town, you can visit the local deli or butcher’s shop and buy cold cuts; buy fresh bread and fruit from a store or bakery. Most big groceries sell roast chicken; you can buy that and have fruit and vegetable salad with it as sides.

On the road with Gran and Gramps

long distance transportation services for seniors

Sometimes, traveling on an airplane or train is not advisable for the elderly so the next best thing is to travel long distance by car. What could be more exciting than an adventure on the open road? Depending upon the age, medical condition and general outlook of the elderly traveler, a long distance drive cross country need not be a hassle. All you need is some preparation and planning.

The first thing to do is go for a check-up and tell the doctor that you are planning on a road trip and for how long it will last. Get the doctor’s advice as to how to make the elderly traveler more comfortable, get a refill on their prescription medications and most of all, ask for copies of the elderly traveler’s medical records, just in case. Once you get a clearance from the doctor, then you can go ahead and plan the road trip.

Involve the elderly traveler in as many of the decisions and preparations as possible. Assign him some things for him or her to take responsibility for during the trip. When packing his clothes, ask him which pair of pajamas he prefers and which pair of glasses he’d rather bring along. Ask him what his favorite snacks are and make sure you have some in the car.

Decide ahead of time on your route and if you can, make reservations at hotels and motels along your route. On a map, mark public toilets which the elderly traveler can use. Plan to make bathroom stops every two hours while on the road. Make sure you also leave time for a walk and a good stretch.

The tip is not to hurry or jampack your drive with so many sights to see or places to visit as the elderly traveler gets tired fast. Make sure you all get a good night’s sleep stretched out on a comfortable bed instead of sleeping in the car.

Establish a travelling routine around the elderly traveler’s habits. If he is an early riser, then you can start your ride early. If he is an early sleeper, you have to get to your hotel before his usual bedtime. Observe your elderly traveler closely for signs of fatigue, confusion, disorientation, anxiety or distress. If he has to take a blood pressure or blood glucose readings at set times during the day, make sure you make stops for these.

For more tips, try out these links on long distance transportation for seniors here and here.

Bringing baby safely on his first road trip

Baby’s first road trip can be exciting especially if it is to see Gramma or Grampa. It doesn’t matter if it is a two-hour, five-hour, ten-hour or 24-hour road trip. The principles of safety are similar.
baby in car seat on long driveIt is possible to do it solo especially if the distance is not that great, traffic conditions aren’t monstrous (as it is around Thanksgiving or Christmas), and weather conditions aren’t threatening. At any rate, it is always best to have the company of another adult in the car just in case. But if you have to do it alone, there is no need to fear. You can do this.
Safety and comfort are the foremost concerns. Here are some things you have to think about:

1. Consider the roadworthiness of your car. If your car is a jalopy and only two screws and a nut are holding it all together, then it will be safer and more comfortable to travel by bus, train or airplane. Traveling in a car that’s not roadworthy will not be safe, comfortable or stress-free for you.

2. Consider your budget. If you have precious little money for gas, and virtually no money for possible emergencies, you are heading for heartbreak and the poorhouse.

3. Consider your time frame. Driving with your baby in the backseat cannot be a race. It must be as steady and as leisurely as a Sunday drive. You cannot be tense or your baby will also be tense. You cannot be harassed and pressed for time to make it to your destination in the shortest time possible or you will be tempted to speed or take chances with both you and your baby’s lives.

4. Consider your own strength. You will have to lug baby, stroller, car seat and diaper bag all by yourself. You will have to drive, check up on baby, breasted or bottle-feed as well as feed yourself. You will have to rest and sleep just as well as your baby. You must find accommodations for yourself as well as your baby while on the road and you’ll have to lug baby along if you need a quick stop at the drugstore, grocery or bathroom.

5. Consider the stuff you will need to pack for yourself as well as baby. You will need diapers (lots), formula and bottles, paper towels, baby wipes, extra clothes, first aid kit, toys, foldable play pen or crib, stroller and car seat. You will also need to pack clothes for yourself, water, snacks and things you need like a phone, cash and camera.

Going solo on with your baby on his first road trip is doable. But it is best to have someone around to help you and with whom you can talk to especially if it is a long-distance trip.


Thanks for stopping by. Please check back often for lots of great into on long distance driving, and different tips and trick to help you survive. I hope you find this blog both informative and entertaining. While I won’t say I’m the expert on car driving long distance, I will say I know enough about it to write this blog! So I hope my insights prove helpful. Enjoy!