Planning to hit the road this summer? So are 85 percent of Americans, according to a survey! Here’s how to make your summer road trip fun, safe, and memorable.
To Build in Fun: App Your Map
As folks say, it’s not just the destination, it’s the journey. And today’s apps help you find charming stops to make along the way. “One great option is the Roadside America app,” says Yulia Saf of MissTourist.com.
“It has a directory of the country’s unique attractions — like the Leaning Tower of Niles in Illinois, or Dinosaur World in Kentucky — and will map them for you.” Another great option is the Roadtrippers app, which offers route-planning tools and lets you connect with loved ones so they can suggest sites to see.
Also smart: Stopping at a local farmers market for snacks and edible souvenirs. The American Farmers Markets app will help you find the nearest “fruitopia.”
To Visit Hot Spots: Go Early (or Late!)
The most popular road trip destination? National parks. Reservations often open on a rolling basis; to learn when new dates become available, follow the parks on their social media pages. To ensure you get in, pay entrance fees online ahead of time at Recreation.gov. “If you want to see the more popular sites, definitely get to the lot early,” says Riley Mahoney, founder of ParksExpert.com. “Or go late! Most guests don’t realize the charm of visiting at night — fewer crowds and the stargazing is amazing.”
To Stay Safe: Check This ‘Key’ Battery
Water? Check. Roadside kit? Check. But what do experts say we often forget? An extra battery for your key fob, says AAA rep Ellen Edmonds. “When your fob is close to your car, it’s constantly trying to communicate with it,” she reveals. “On long road trips, this can drain the battery until it eventually dies.” Just pop open the fob to see the kind of battery it takes. It’s also a good idea to give your tires a daily check. Hot weather increases tire pressure, making gas mileage less efficient. Just get out your pressure gauge — if the tire registers too high, release some air.
Also smart: A surprising safety tool? Gum. Says Saf, “It helps you release tension while driving.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.