Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Route 66 Travel Advice

While working on my Route 66 website, I found myself reflecting on random pieces of advice about highway travel that I couldn't place elsewhere. So here are my top ten pieces of wisdom for anyone planning to drive Route 66 (or any lengthy stretch of the road).

1. Try to avoid renting a car with a rear spoiler. It obscures your view and looks kind of stupid.

2. Whether at a fine restaurant or at a greasy spoon, overtip your server. Don't make a scene about it; just leave a couple more bucks than you would normally. On the road, you need all the good karma you can get.

3. Don't buy all your souvenirs in one place; grab a couple every day. That way you help lots of local businesses and get more opportunities to meet cool people.

4. Pack half as much as you think you'll need. Spend your time getting your kicks, not hauling heavy bags.

5. Make copies of your credit card and personal identification information (front and back). And keep those copies away from the originals. You won't need them - until you do.

6. Never eat at some place on the road that you could visit at home. Avoid chain restaurants and other familiar places. Try for something new and unique with every stop.

7. Send postcards. Even in this age of instant communications, everyone loves to receive a physical souvenir from the road. Buy a book of postcard stamps and use every one of them before returning home.

8. Abandon the desire for everything to be "perfect." Unforeseen changes in weather, itinerary, health, and the like happen. They're inevitable. Find value in where you are and the people with whom you share time.

9. Remember that few people care that you're "on vacation." People you meet along the road tend to live near by, and few get as many chances to travel as you. Talk less, listen more, and remember that the world doesn't revolve around your grand adventure.

10. Write something about your trip every day. Be specific and detailed about where you go, whom you meet, and what you do. Otherwise you'll look back a couple of weeks later and have only hazy memories where crisp recollections should be.

Got travel tips of your own to share? Post a comment!

5 comments:

Mansi said...

Extremely handy tips, Andy. The two things I learned from our family trips across California were:
1. Always check, double check and triple check that you have indeed kept a Flash card, SD card or some memory card for your camera. If you're not carrying a laptop to transfer pictures in, make sure you have an extra memory card (after of course, checking that you did indeed keep the batteries and the battery charger!) for the camera.

2. Set an auto-reply message in your personal mailbox and let cell phone callers know you're on vacation -- don't take calls that aren't urgent (in 99.9% cases, they aren't). By doing these two simple things, you can truly experience the moment, enjoy your surroundings and the people you're with instead of being caught up in the hectic life that was the very reason you wanted a vacation in the first place!

Andrew Wood said...

Awesome comments, Mansi! I hope other readers follow your example...

Lynn Bagdon said...

I always travel with a cooler, zip lock bags are a good idea to carry with on your travels. Put things in the cooler in zip lock bags and things don't get 'soggy'
They are also useful to store items, dirty sox, film, batteries, make up,road treasures, etc. Bring a magic marker and mark those bags that need to be marked and maybe date them as well.
Another observation. When packing roll your clothes instead of folding them, less wrinkles and it gives you a lot more room when packing.
When emptying your cooler of melted ice at your hotel, water the grounds, bushes, trees, flowers, etc. I just think it is good karma,
just my 2 cents,
Lulu

Andrew Wood said...

Lulu! Terrific suggestions. Thanks for sharing.

holy land tours said...

Thank you so much for sharing these great tips. for me the most important thing when going on road trip is to have a good map even if we have GPS in the car..and have enough backup battery for the camera and cell phones.