Many Americans are already vacationing or planning on hitting the road for fourth of July. Whether headed to the beach, the city, or visiting family for a backyard barbecue, travelers must be mindful that this is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Regardless of your destination, it’s important to plan carefully and expect some hurdles as you prepare to travel. Use these ten travel tips, you might find some useful strategies to cut down on travel time, beat the crowds, and enjoy sightseeing.
1. Hit the Road Early
The night before, make sure that the car is packed and ready to go. Wake up and hit the road an hour or two earlier to give you a head start when arriving to your destination. The air will be cooler, the sun glare will be less intense, and traffic will be less congested. This will help you avoid aggressive drivers and traffic jams, and you will arrive at your destination sooner.
2. Plan Alternative Routes
In most cases, travelers will be looking for the simplest way to get from point A to point B. This means that main highways and roads will always be the busiest during peak travel season. Although taking a more scenic, alternative route may seem to add more to your travel time, it’s likely that these roads will be less congested. You may even find that traveling this way is much more relaxing since you will get to appreciate scenic landscapes.
3. Monitor Your Gas Levels
Keep an eye on how much gas is in your tank. Make sure to depart with a full tank of gas and keep in mind your car’s gas mileage. Stop and refill if your tank is less than half full especially if you don’t know when the next gas station is. Look up where the cheapest gas can be found so that you strategically fill your tank.
4. Bring Snacks and Beverages
Unless you absolutely have to use the restroom, try to stay on the road as long as possible to cut down on travel times. Keeping a small cooler with sandwiches, snacks, water, and other beverages can keep you and your family’s appetites at bay while traveling. Preparing food ahead of time will also shave off a couple of dollars and calories by avoiding the temptations of pricier fast-food stops.
5. Keep the Kids Entertained
Find ways to keep kids entertained during long trips. If you have a tablet or video-playing technology in your car, prepare some movies and shows for them to watch to keep them busy. However, don’t rely on only a computer screen to keep your kids occupied, they need variety. Make a playlist of their favorite songs and play some simple car games with them. You could even encourage some quiet time with headphones, maybe they’ll even take a nap!
6. Find Exciting Stops
Exciting stops are interspersed throughout the country’s roadways that will give you and your travel companions the opportunity to get out, stretch, and even do some sightseeing. National parks, monuments, and roadside attractions could be a great way to break up a seemingly monotonous trip. You and your family will get to see something new and surely get some great photo opportunities out of this experience.
7. Make Peace with Traffic Jams
Since Fourth of July is such a heavily traveled holiday; it is likely that you will find yourself enduring some form of bottlenecking or even a traffic jam. Understand from the get-go that this is all part of the experience. No matter how much you’ve properly planned or tried traveling alternative routes, you’re going to face traffic at some point. Don’t waste your energy getting upset about it. Crank some music, make conversation with family or friends and try to find a happy place. By anticipating some hurdles in your trip, it will be much easier to face them without frustration when and if they occur.
8. Make Use of Apps
Map applications can now trace and draw attention to traffic patterns, offering potential detours and estimating delay times. Furthermore, apps like Waze incorporate a live social networking component to GPS navigation. Drivers can receive updates in real time about travel time, accidents, police traps, and more. Use the Waze app if there are other people in the car with you so that you can keep your eyes on the road and they can fill you in. Taking advantage of technology can certainly cut down travel time and circumvent some major hurdles during your trip.
9. Find Rentals with a View
If you plan on staying in a rental, you can coordinate ahead of time with your rental company a great vantage point to watch the fireworks show directly from the window or balcony and avoid the crowds.
10. Avoid Popular Destinations
One way to avoid travel headaches is to find less popular destination during this time of year. Think of alternate ideas. Would camping in the mountains be more peaceful than a crowded tourist destination? Would planning your own backyard barbecue and mini fireworks display add some variety to your typical Fourth of July routine? You can avoid many of the pitfalls of Fourth of July travel if you simply try something a little less conventional to celebrate the holiday.
When you hit the road for the Fourth of July, integrate some of these travel tips into your repertoire to avoid traffic delays, cut down on stops and wasted time, and keep your travel companions pleased throughout your journey. Vacation travel during peak times can be especially tense, so stay safe, keep your cool, and remember that you will have plenty of time to celebrate once you arrive at your destination.