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The Great American Adventure: Road Tripping

Oct 21, 2007
If you've never done it, you should. The open road, stops at highway diners, motels with blinking neon signs just off the interstate. Road trips are a staple in the American culture from cross country family vacations, to college freshman making their way home for the holidays.

While a road trip can be the foundation for lifelong memories of fun and adventure, without the proper preparation, they can also be, well, a nightmare.

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you have fantasies of road tripping on the brain:

First, anticipate a problem with your vehicle. Nothing can shut down a road trip and eat up precious time like car problems. Time your routine maintenance check up about two weeks before you plan to go.

This will give you time to have the problem repaired by a mechanic before you leave. If the trip is impromptu, take your vehicle into a mechanic the morning before you leave and ask for a quick test of the important basics: fluid levels, air pressure, brake pads. If you feel your vehicles in good enough shape, you should still expect something to go wrong. Lots can happen on the open road and regardless of the condition of your vehicle, you may wind up facing adverse road or weather conditions. Take a copy of your roadside warranty program guidelines with you just in case. You may be covered under the manufacturer's roadside assistance program. For example, owners of the popular Isuzu Ascender or Isuzu pickup trucks are covered for seven years or 75,000 miles under Isuzu's comprehensive roadside assistance program. If it's been six years since you've encountered a problem, you may have forgotten all about it. Members of other roadside assistance programs, like for example, the American Automobile Association, also cover routine driving issues like battery replacement, tire changes, and, yes, running out of gas. Take the programs contact information and guidelines with you just in case.

You'll be glad you did.

Second, take a map. Even if you know where you're going and even if your vehicle has GPS, take a tangible paper map or Thomas Guide with you. Why? There may be occasions where a road is closed due to an accident, weather, or construction and you may have to get out and ask a local which alternative route is best. Global Positioning Systems are great, but they aren't always completely up to date, and can, at times, have incorrect information. A back up map will provide you with the security you need just in case you get lost or something happens and the vehicle is rendered out of commission.

Third, it's a long ride, enjoy it. Part of the fun of road trips is watching the change of scenery as you speed down the highway, enjoying new places. But you can also expect moments of sheer boredom:

endless stretches of interstate at night, stop-and-go traffic as you pass through metropolitan areas, the off chance you get stuck driving behind a semi on a one-lane road. It's up to you to entertain yourself and your passengers during the less interesting times, so plan in advance. CDs or tapes are the best. From homemade music compilations to comedians or podcasts of your favorite shows, CDs can be your best friend on a road trip. Trivia books or joke books are also a fun way to pass time as well.

Last, take your camera and take pictures! While most people have cameras, the truth is, most of us don't use them as much as we should.

On a road trip, it's easy to whiz past beautiful scenery on your way to your destination, but don't. Pull over, stop, and take photos.

You may never be back there again, so now's the time to capture the experience for eternity. The best photos are the ones with you in them, so take your time and have your passengers take turns photographing each other as often as you can.
About the Author
Looking for an SUV that doesn't get 2 mpg? Isuzu has some of the most fuel efficient SUV's and Pickup Trucks on the market. And best of all they are priced right!
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