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Git yer wheels turning!
By Quail Bell Travel Guru
For some, the goal is to travel in style rivaling a starlet's—silk scarf in her hair, sunglasses donned, lip gloss perfectly gleaming. For others, the goal is to simply get there in one piece. Rough and tumble, but, hey, you made it. Where do a Quail Bell(e)'s road trip ambitions lie? Likely somewhere in between: aspirational and yet down to earth. An appreciation for vintage driving gloves and the ability to take a quick leak on the side of the road are both good to have. Whether you're headed to Montreal or Mobile, here is the official Quail Bell Magazine guide to road trips, bulleted for your convenience because myopia is real. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and go vroom vroom once you've read our tips. Bon voyage, Fledgling!
• Clothes horses beware: Throw all the crap you think you want to haul on your trip on your bed. Assess. Do you really need two pairs of red corduroy mini skirts? Choose clothes you can roll rather than fold (to reduce wrinkles) and clean easily. It also helps if the clothes are versatile. In other words, those pink flamingo clam-diggers you only ever wear with the same tank top should probably stay home.
• For the munchies: Roadside food is not healthy, but we're not going to yell at you about it. Use your best judgment and bring your Immodium. For those times you're not craving a thick, greasy something, you'll be glad you packed a homemade smoothie, trail mix, fresh fruit, crackers, and granola bars. If peanuts and cranberries won't cut it, bring a cooler stocked with sandwiches, salads, or whatever else you desire.
• Study up: Though surprises can be fun, it's always smart to know something of your destination's culture and history. Pick up some regional lingo and be aware of ethnic or socio-economic tensions in advance. This will help you learn the sites and come with some background before you even step out on your first tour. And remember—you can be guilty of the 'Ugly American' stereotype as an American in America. So...don't do that.
• Make a friendship bracelet: Traveling with a friend is, 9 times out of ten, more fun than traveling alone (though the Thoreau thing can certainly be rewarding when you're in the right mood.) Choose a buddy you know you can tolerate for many hours at a time. Unless you're very lucky, going on a road trip is probably not the best way to make a budding friendship blossom. Go with a bestie, or at least somebody that can put up with your Backstreet Boys obsession for the entire stretch of Route 66.
• Ain't no thing like the real thing: Print out a map or buy a map book. It doesn't matter if you have and prefer using your GPS. You need a backup in case your GPS dies or suddenly starts acting screwy. Technology is unpredictable; paper is reliable. Getting a little lost for a little while can be fun; getting really lost for a long while can be hell. That being said, be sure you have everything for your GPS, too: wires, adapters, batteries, etc.
• Get over yourself: Everybody pees. And, to quote a famous children's book, everybody poops. This means you, too. Ask yourself, what would you do if you had to go caca in the desert because there's not another rest area for 150 miles? Don't say hold it. Your colon will hate you. For this reason, pack hand sanitizer, a roll of toilet paper, moist toilettes, paper towels, and a bottle you would've otherwise recycled.
• This isn't a fashion show: Still, you wanna look fresh. Baby powder, Vaseline, sunscreen, and hydrogen peroxide make miracles. Stay clean and smell like a newborn babe. Regular brushing and flossing are, as always, a swell idea, too.
• Anticipate emergencies: What would you do if you got stranded on the side of the road? Do you have a blanket for low night time temperatures? A fuel container? A flashlight? Extra water? As you're packing, put yourself in realistic hypothetical situations and grab what you might need.
• Smell the f*cking roses: This is a vacation. Unless you're an Arizona park ranger, you probably don't see the Grand Canyon everyday. Take pictures. Leave Facebook alone. Forget about your responsibilities. Make this something you actually remember in detail 30 years from now. Enjoy.
#RoadTrips #TravelTips #UglyAmerican #AmericanHighways