After two long drives in the past month, one to Denver and one to Pittsburgh, I’ve learned quite a bit! So, as a public service, please remember this if you ever are crazy enough to want to drive for hours at a time.
- Have another capable driver in the car. You do NOT want to do all the driving yourself unless you take numerous breaks. In Denver, I had another driver to rely on. But, to Pittsburgh, it was all me. Never again.
- If you’re not driving your own car, make sure you know the intricacies of the car. We drove my friend’s car to Denver…her cruise control does not work like mine at all. It made using it awkward and I looked like an idiot not getting it when I kept reverting to trying to use it the way my car works.
- Healthy snacks are great, but sometimes you need sugar and salt! They might just help you from going insane. Also, bring a cooler and fill it up with water and other fluids. Alcohol is tempting after you get tired of being in a cramped space, but just say no!
- Speed limits will be ignored more often as you drive east. If you drive the speed limit, prepared to be honked at. If you drive 10-15 miles over it, prepare to be passed by everybody and sometimes get a finger. I come from SD, where our interstate speed limit just got increased to 80 mph, but man, some of the PA drivers are nuts!!
- Make sure that you have your car inspected before you leave. Also, make sure that so-called fixed things work. It is sooo awesome to be driving through a rainstorm and your windshield wiper decides to come loose and flop all over the place. Along with that, make sure that your wiper fluid actually works, not just filled. Try cleaning off bird shit and getting it smeared even worse when the fluid decides not to come out anymore. Oh yes, both of those things happened on the way to Pittsburgh! Luckily, my new tires and brakes were awesome. It’s the little things that will screw you over.
- Bring your own entertainment. Sometimes, you will travel through a land that plays only country music. Great for country music lovers, not so great for rock or even pop fans. Also, the conversation will die eventually and the scenery can bore you out of your mind! Bring your phone loaded up with podcasts, audiobooks, and your favorite tunes.
- Have your phone ready to take awesome photos along the way. If you’re driving, make sure your passenger is always ready and has phone pic skills. Nothing worse than missing great shots to share on the blog! On the way to Denver, we had Bambi and his mom cross the road and I didn’t have my phone out quick enough to grab it. And below, see the awesome pictures my husband shot when I begged him to snap one…SMH.
- Teach your husband how to drive. Or, have him drink more caffeine so he can be awake. Big lesson for me! My husband was born and raised in Brooklyn and was a fan of the subways and walking. When he moved to SD, he relied on others to get him around. I kept on saying I’d teach him, but I never got around to it. I really want to be a passenger for when we visit my family again, so I am making this a priority. Plus, when he falls asleep in the car, I start getting sleepy hearing him snore…and it’s just tougher to keep driving that way!
- If you use any app or website that calculates fuel costs for you, plan on adding at least 20% more to their estimate. Fluctuating gas prices, road conditions, speed, wind and more can cause you to need to fuel up more often and pay more.
- Using a GPS is awesome, but prepared for it to get drunk. When you’re in hilly or mountainous areas, the directions given can be totally off. Get ready for some crazy routes or trying to lead you into construction. Also, be familiar with your route beforehand, so you know when it’s ok to scream “Fuck you, Siri!” (since my GPS totally has the same voice) after it tells you nonsense.
Hopefully, this list will help you for your next road trip or convince you that road trips are insane and never, ever go on one again!