First tip for summer travel: Plan
Taking care of business before departing can make trip more fun, enjoyable
With summer around the corner, the open road may be just what you're looking for to cure those 9-to-5 blues or fill your summer vacation with a bit of adventure.
Consider these tips before packing up and heading out.
The first tip for cruising easy is to plan.
"Road trips are a lot of fun," said Jim Hanni, spokesman for AAA Kansas. "One of the great joys of life is getting out on the road and exploring life, getting away and doing things together as a family. It's really wonderful and half of the fun is just planning it. So give yourself plenty of time and try to plan. Take time to plan your trips."
Trip planning 101
Hanni suggested planning a route and making a quick Web search to find gasoline prices across the states to help budget your trip.
Hanni said to always travel with your tank at least half full.
You may want to check the weather where you are going and state department of transportation Web sites to learn about any road construction. After all, it is the season.
"It's a good idea to inform other people of when you are going to be gone, and an estimated travel time so they know when to expect your return," Hanni said.
Keeping the wheels in motion
Have your car inspected to avoid any surprises. Travel with an inflated spare tire, jack and jumper cables. Also pack a flashlight, water, food, a first aid kit and other essentials just to have on hand in case of emergency.
If a flat or something unexpected does occur, call police or car assistance company for help.
"Carry only enough cash to cover tips and telephones and other miscellaneous expenses," he said. "Don't carry unnecessary cash when you can use travel money cards or travelers checks."
If you have youngsters in the back seat, keep them occupied with snacks, toys, games pillows and blankets, so the "ride is a little more pleasant," Hanni said. Also, consider a sun protection screen for the back windows.
Trying to decide whether or not to take that pet of yours?
If so, make some calls before you leave to make reservations at pet-friendly hotels. Pack with your pet in mind too.
On the home front
While you're away, the Lawrence Police Department offers these tips to prevent residential burglaries and thefts:
Stop deliveries of mail and newspapers in advance.
Make sure everything is locked.
Put automatic timers on several lights or a radio. Set them so they will turn off and on at random times in different rooms, especially the bathroom.
Turn the volume on the phone and answering machine down to low. Also, don't leave a message on your machine stating you are out of town.
Sit back and enjoy
Once the planning is done, the navigator has been assigned and the tank is full, it's time to think about entertainment to pass the hours on the road.
Some stretches of highway don't offer much for the Alphabet Game, so keep yourself and friends entertained with some other games. The game "20 questions" can at least make two hours fly by.
Prepare music everyone will enjoy or rent a book on CD from a public library. You could also download your favorite podcasts.