Eric Malone

Published: May 27, 2010 at 6:43 AM

Don't drive when you're tired.

Best tip of all. ;)

I have to admit that the first tip was most amusing. We're heading up to South Carolina in about three weeks, and we're taking a 'battleship'.

Then again, we have eight people going, so.. Prius ain't gonna cut it, unless we're clowns.

Brandon Mendoza

Published: May 27, 2010 at 7:13 AM

These are all awesome tips! I never thought about how it's better to never eat in the car... makes sense! I just have to make sure I'm with people that aren't always in a rush!

But I am a total advocate of eating locally/ at places that aren't available in your hometown... I get a little irritated when my friends want to eat at Mickey D's, or Islands, or California Pizza Kitchen, and we're 200 miles away from home. It's not often that we can travel to a new place, so why not try something new? Even if you don't end up liking it, at least you can recommend others not to eat there.

There are a few exceptions... I did eat in McDonald's once in Hawaii only to say that I was eating Spam, Eggs, & Rice at a McDonald's... with Pineapple on the side.

So I would totally urge everyone to skip the chain restaurants when traveling. It'll make things more memorable, one way or another!

Tim W

Published: May 27, 2010 at 7:29 AM

I definately agree with point 6! The best restaurants are always the local restaurants. While there are some chains that you can't find at home, local food usually tastes much better and is unique!
Meagan Evanoff

Published: May 27, 2010 at 7:43 AM

Great list! And while I agree about maintaining a clean car, there is something essentially "roadtrip" about eating the car. Maybe that's because we always did it when I was a kid; I have crumb nostalgia.

And I also agree about "don't drive when you're tired"! I guess this might be antithetical to "longer driving days", depending how you do it, but sometimes getting a hotel on the way and splitting up the trip is a pleasant surprise - you might even get a complimentary breakfast, and you can start fresh on your day!

Robert Niles

Published: May 27, 2010 at 7:48 AM

For me, sleepiness hits when the sun goes down. That's how we're wired, I guess. So an early-morning start helps me put down a lot of miles in a day, without getting too tired. Stretch breaks help, too.

Small-car roadtripping is a different model than battleship roadtripping. (Though it is not an option if you've got five or more people on the trip.) Small-car trips rely on light packing, keeping the car clean and stopping along the way (though not always for gas!)

Elizabeth Gray

Published: May 27, 2010 at 8:09 AM

Us ex-park Service employees are the experts at road trips. I agree with most of your list. If you cannot fit your stuff into one suitcase and one backpack then you don't need it (camping gear aside of course). This includes air travel.

I feel homework and an itinerary is a must. I overload mine so I can change it if I have too. Always know your options when visiting an area in case something is closed that you wanted to see.

Also ask the locals where they take their families to eat and visit. They hardley ever go to the big attactions but often know about cool obscure ones that you may never heard of. I have seen a great many things because I asked this simple question.

However you and I disagree slighty on a couple of things:

1. Eating in the car. While with kids you may be right about the mess, there is a simple solution to this problem. My hubby and I always have cheese, hummus, chips and red wine. We often drive around an area a little and look for a cool view and then pull over to have a little snack. Car air can get stale and this helps revitalize you.

2. I COMPLETELY agree with creating "travel only" days in the Itinerary. However we often drive a bulk of it at night. Less cars, baby is asleep, and you can wake up the next morning in a hotel and head straight out to your destination. However my husband is an excellent night driver and if you are not, I would advise against this.

3. Finally don't forget to visit yout National & State Parks along with theme parks. They are low cost, have accomidations for families and you'll have fun while learing at the same time. Kids love National Parks if you do it with them. It makes for a bonding experience they will never forget and they will bring their own kids to the parks in the future.

Thomas Caselli

Published: May 27, 2010 at 9:21 AM

Each to his own but I can't imagine ever going on a long trip in a compact car. We don't have a huge vehicle but we do have a Chrysler mini van that we use for all our trips and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Moon Max

Published: May 27, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Your right a GPS is the way to go.
Dan Barnes

Published: May 27, 2010 at 2:57 PM

I would add "know your limits". An early start is only good if you are naturally a morning person. Some of us are wired differently; as a nocturnal person, I plan my trips around my natural sleep schedule and call hotels ahead of time to make sure checking in at 4am is okay.
Will Chilcote

Published: May 27, 2010 at 6:42 PM

Thanks for tip 5 about not eating in the car. That's something I usually don't think about but, you correct.

I also like 6. I could definitely see the advantages of that. I found a really good local diner near Disneyland that I would never had enter if I hadn't been so tired after leaving the park. I only went there because it was close to my hotel.

Published: May 27, 2010 at 7:39 PM

I agree with the no eating been in some cars mid trip and expecialy in summer they STINK after a while. Also leave pets with friends instead of boarding. You may not think they are happey without you but they are happey being at home (IE dogs cats some dogs do not travel well)
Doug Kelley

Published: May 27, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Best tip of all for a roadtrip? Fly! No sense wasting your time and energy on the road for hours and hours on end when you can be at your destination enjoying yourself.

But, if you have to drive, get some good podcasts to listen to as a group. Stuff You Should Know is a good one and there are several Disney podcasts that are fun.

Published: May 28, 2010 at 7:16 AM

11. Make room for the occupants, who, since you won't let them eat, are going to need some extra room. There are lots of inexpensive roof-top carriers you can put the usual seat-and-footwell-cluttering detritus in and give the passengers all the leg room they deserve.

Personally, I agree with Megan -- you gotta eat in the car or it ain't a roadtrip!

Published: May 29, 2010 at 12:26 AM

We would order an Entertainment book for the city or region we are visiting. Discounts sight seeings and activities are planned around what's offered. Buy one get one free at locals in those areas are grea way to try out eateries!