Preparing for Seasonal Road Trips

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We are a road tripping family! This is in part because I loathe flying, but also because the journey is often just as valuable as the destination. Summer 2016, we drove from South Florida to Maine in 15 days and stopped in about a dozen major cities along the way. We spent last New Year’s in New Orleans, drove to the Florida Keys in the spring, and this past September, we took a road trip to Georgia to visit the Georgia Aquarium and go apple picking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We are planning some road trips for the fall and winter, too. Here are tips when preparing for seasonal road trips.

PACK FOR THE UNEXPECTED

We don’t like to pack 10 separate pieces of luggage.  We try to just take what we need, but it helps to be aware of how different destinations require different items to be packed. For example, we went on a whale-watching cruise in Maine July 2016. Who knew it was going to be in the 50s in Maine during the summer? We are used to 90s in Florida during the summer. Bryce basically wore the same outfit for three days straight because he only had one jacket and one pair of pants.  Travel can be unpredictable, so remember to pack clothing for different temperatures, sunscreen, insect protection spray, extra phone chargers, and lots of snacks and water. We did a much better job packing for the weather on our road trip to New Orleans last winter. Tip: Pack an extra empty bag to put all of your dirty clothes into so you’re not packing the clean and dirty clothes together for multi-stop road trips.

PLAN, DON’T OVERPLAN

When Carrie and I started dating, one of our favorite things to do was to just get in the car one morning and drive somewhere. We didn’t necessarily know where we were going or what we would do, but we knew we’d have an awesome time together. While it’s difficult to be that spontaneous once you have children, it’s fun to plan a basic itinerary, then leave room for spontaneous adventures. Like I said above, we celebrated our children’s birthday in Georgia in September. We knew we wanted to go to the Georgia Aquarium and apple picking, but we didn’t really know exactly where we would go or what we would do. We ended up driving to Blue Ridge, Georgia which has a small downtown area with local businesses and a nice apple orchard with over 50 varieties of apples.

MAKE ROOM FOR EVERYONE

When we went car shopping summer 2016, we intentionally purchased a car that seats eight so we can travel with friends and family. Last spring, we took a day trip to the Florida Keys, where Carrie and I got married in 2005. We visited the restaurant where we had our reception, shopped in local stores, and enjoyed the outdoors together. Road trips are about family, so invite extended family. We traveled with my sister-in-law Jamie and mother-in-law Corinne.

PREPARE YOUR CAR FOR ALL CONDITIONS

When you road trip often through different states, your car needs to be ready for all different conditions. We travel thousands of miles a year in addition to daily wear and tear on our car. We go from the Florida heat to the chilly New England weather. We cross over sandy terrain, go up and down mountains, on dirt roads, and lots of highway miles. Rain, snow, fog, heat… we prepare for it all. Just last week we drove over a hundred miles to visit Cedar Key on the west coast of Florida for the day.

With so many road trips, it’s very important to maintain our vehicle regularly. I visited the Sam’s Club website and ordered four new Goodyear® Assurance® WeatherReady™ tires to prepare for our fall and winter road trips {which include a trip to Savannah, Georgia in November for Carrie’s birthday and hopefully Asheville, North Carolina to see snow in the winter}. These tires feature Evolving Traction Grooves to provide like-new traction as the tire wears. It’s the tire that can tackle all extreme weather conditions. When the tires were ready, I was notified via email, and they were installed the next morning. Installation takes about an hour, so plan accordingly.

If you would like to purchase these tires as we head into winter, just follow these steps:

  • Look inside the sidewall of your tires, sticker on the driver-side door jamb of your vehicle, or your owner’s manual to identify your tire size.
  • Visit the Sam’s Club Tire Selector Tool to see if your tire size is available {this tire only fits certain vehicles} and order your tires online. You will receive an email notification when they are available for installation. Premium Tire Installation is just $15 per tire.
  • Get $80 off instantly* on a set of four Goodyear® tires.

What are your best road trip tips?

*Save $80 off the displayed retail price. Excludes medium commercial truck tires. Not to be combined with any other offer. Offer can be changed, modified or cancelled at any time. No rain checks. See a Sam’s Club® Tire & Battery Center Associate for eligible tires, details, terms and conditions.

About Richard Wells

Richard Wells is an English teacher, husband, and father of two young children who lives in South Florida.

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