Planning for a Summer Road Trip

June 5th, 2015 Fontenay Terrace Motel

With most schools now in their waning days of the year, the time to start planning for your summer vacation road trip is upon us. Whether you’re planning to visit Maine from one of the nearby states or are coming from across the country, there are many considerations that go into packing and organizing to make sure that you have everything you need for the trip – plus distractions and entertainment to keep your sanity. Here are five tips to get the most from your travel plans.

Start with a basic planMaine Travel

No matter your start and end points, you should sit down and draft at least a basic outline of your itinerary with rough timing for each leg of your journey. This gives you some idea of structure to keep to and lets you earmark time for tourist destinations, sites to see and anything else you definitely want to plan for. Of course, there are inevitable variations from the plan, whether it’s an exciting place with more to see than you expected or being sidetracked by a construction delay, flat tire or sick child, but starting with a goal in mind provides a bit or structure that can help you stay on track or identify what areas ahead to skip to get back on pace.

Check your paperwork

Before leaving, you should also make sure you have all the paperwork you need for your travel. Will you be driving through Canada or Mexico along the way? Be sure you have your passports and/or birth certificates for children packed. What about your vehicle insurance, inspection and registration? Make sure they are up to date and definitely in the car. You should also verify your license is in good condition, and that you aren’t outstanding on any speeding or parking tickets that could lead to problems on the roadway. One last piece of paperwork: A map. You may end up off your planned roads in areas with poor cellular signal or when your device is between charges, and having an analog map is the time-tested solution to finding your way back to your course.

Review your vehicle

Beyond the paperwork, your vehicle itself should also be the subject of a full tune-up. You should make sure that you pull out of your driveway with a fresh oil change, checked tires and a full tank of gas, of course, but if you’ll be going for a great distance, you may also want to take your car to the shop for a full review. The last thing you want is to be surprised on the road by a hidden issue with your car that can throw you way off schedule – and off budget.

Pack plenty of activities

One of the biggest annoyances on the road can be hours of driving with nothing to occupy the time for passengers, especially children. Plan ahead and make sure you have lots of engaging activities and distractions planned to keep attention off the length of the drive and on something else. This can include portable DVD players and tablets stocked with movies, music and games; books or ebooks to read; road games, like variations on board games with magnetic pieces to keep from shifting or moving over the bumps on the road; and other activities, like “I Spy” and license plate scavenger hunts that can make the time fly by.

Pack snacks

With fast food available on most every street corner of America, finding a quick warm meal will never be a problem, but the savings – both in terms of health and finances – of having fresh food with you cannot be overstated. There are many great options that travel well beyond trail mix. If you have a cooler, you can store sandwiches or deli supplies to make a meal on the road. Chips, crackers and granola bars also travel well, but don’t forget to pack plenty of napkins to wipe off your hands and tackle any accidental messes. You can also pack a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and refill at rest stops along the way.
These are just a few things to keep in mind, but don’t forget to pack all your needed clothing, toiletries and chargers, as well. Keeping these tips in mind can help you be as prepared as you can be for your great summer roadway adventure. Be sure to call ahead or reserve a room at Fontenay Terrace to relax during your trip!

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