Sheltered Islander: The Trouble With Car Travel Tips

Tips can't save every road trip
Tips can't save every road trip, Photo: Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock

I just read an article by Rich Finzer titled, “Six Secrets to Less Stressful Car Travels.” The tips look excellent. I’m just not sure how well they work when you add people.

Tip 1: “Leave early. I like to awaken by 3:30 a.m. and hit the bricks pronto… If travelling with little ones, tuck them in the backseat and most likely they’ll quickly fall back asleep.”

“Joy, Joy? Wake up. It’s 3:30 a.m. Let’s go.”

“It’s 3:30 in the morning, Ted. Why are you waking me up?”

“We’re leaving early, remember? It’s all part of my plan.”

“Yeah, well you weren’t making sandwiches and snacks and packing the car til midnight. I’m not getting up ’til 7:30, and you’d better have coffee ready, because that’s my plan.”

“No, no, we have to stick to the plan. I’ll let you sleep another hour.”

“So help me God, Ted, if that alarm goes off before 7:30, I’m gonna put that clock through the hole in the wall that I’m going to make with your head.”

Tip 2: Plan ahead. Book in advance. Get AARP discount. “Too many times to count, I’ve seen harried fathers trying to find accommodations late in the evening only to be told there are no available rooms. Little ones are overtired, mom is contemplating divorce, and poor dad has to drive to the next major interstate exit and try again. Don’t be that guy.”

“Ted, the kids are tired. That billboard sign said that hotel has a pool, why can’t we go there?”

“We already have reservations. We have to stick to our plan. We have 88 miles to go ’til we reach our motel.”

“Does it have a minibar? If we can’t stay in a place with a pool, I want a minibar.”

“Since when do you care about a minibar?”

“Since I’m traveling with three small children, you, and your plan. My own plan includes several mixed drinks for the children and myself.”

“I think that’s child abuse, Joy.”

“I think you’re right, Ted. How about I leave you here and catch a plane home?”

Tip 3: Leverage rest-stops. Look for flyers and advertisements from local restaurants that offer bargains.

“Ted why are you pulling in here?”

“I got a coupon at the rest stop. See, the kids eat for free.”

“Ted, this is Martin and Sharon’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant and Chinese Takeout. The kids hate Chinese and I don’t want them eating Mexican on a long trip for obvious reasons. Find a Wendy’s.”

“But it’s part of my plan to create memories of this trip.”

“Does your plan include memories of three children with diarrhea?”

Tip 4: Travel “out of synch.” Have lunch at 11 a.m. to avoid the noon rush, and have dinner at 4 p.m….

“And besides Ted, it’s 11 a.m. Who wants Mexican food at 11 a.m.? Can we please just go to a fast food that the kids know?”

“Okay, but we’re still eating now at 11. Just tell yourself it’s noon somewhere.”

Tip 5: Don’t trust Google Maps.

“I don’t understand, Joy, there’s supposed to be an exit here to Mt. Rushmore, but we’re at Aunt Lucy’s Pecan Pie and Yarn Store.”

Tip 6: Drive to your goal and stop. “If you’ve planned ahead, reserved rooms and left very early, chances are you’ll arrive/check in during daylight hours.” Enjoy yourself and relax a little!

“Oh Ted, thank God we’re here. What is the name of this place? Why do these cabins look like giant acorns?”

“It’s Pedro’s Nut Huts. It was a real bargain. I booked in advance. We’re in Nut Hut 4. I’ll go check us in.”

“Nut Hut?”

“Well, it probably doesn’t have Wi-Fi.”

“Ted, I’ll be surprised if it has plumbing.”

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