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Stop and Smell the Road Trip!

Assuming your road trip isn’t for business purposes and you’re not in the process of a move, then your road trip is a vacation, right? Most people think that a road trip is all about their destination; just hurry up and get there.

This attitude destroys all of the unique fun of a road trip – the journey itself. If you just want to get there quickly, fly! On a road trip vacation you’ve got to stop and smell the roses, check out that cool sight, wander around that funky general store, park at that scenic overlook and take in the glorious view.

Part of your stops will be serendipitous – see a sign on the highway that appeals? Pull off that exit and see what it’s all about. The other part is all about planning and that’s the real secret to great road trip.

Here are some tips to help you plan your best road trip yet:

  • Once you’ve selected your destination, decide on your route. One must-do is to plan to get off the highway and take back roads as much as possible. Yes, it will take you a little longer to get there, but, oh, how much better the trip will be! You’ll see small towns and all their unique shops, see all the evidence of people’s lives there, and luck out on various festivals and shows that may be hard to find out about any other way. Most of the best road-side stands I’ve ever been to I found this way. I’ll never forget those perfectly ripe peaches we ate at one, our faces dripping with the juice!
  • Next, select the sights you’d like to see along the way. Be flexible here and re-route yourself for worthwhile attractions. There are a lot of guidebooks and websites out there to help you find all the great sights that are all over the U.S. Make sure to stop in the major cities along the way, spending a day there if you can.
  • Plan your hotels along your route, never doing more than 6 hours of driving a day – 5 if you’re on a cross-country road trip. This will leave you plenty of time to stop for meals and to see your selected sights, not to mention you won’t be miserably tired of driving! If possible, stay in fun and unique places. I’ve stayed in spooky old Victorian houses, high-rise super-mo
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