Summer road trips are as American as apple pie, but minor problems can add up, sucking the fun out of your trip. These tips will help you avoid common frustrations so you and your family can get more enjoyment out of your vacation.
Avoid the Rat Race
Part of the joy of taking a vacation comes from not being on a set schedule. You can use this to your advantage by planning around rush hour. In the morning, have a leisurely breakfast and take minor roads through the metro area. In the evening, plan on spending a couple of hours at a museum, park, or other destination while you wait for traffic to calm down. It doesn’t just take the stress out of travel, it cuts driving time, so you can spend more time having fun.
Watch Out for Major Events
You probably know hotel rooms are booked far in advance around Green Bay during NFL home games. Likewise, big summer festivals like Cheyenne Frontier Days, Lollapalooza and Sturgis Motorcycle Rally can fill up every hotel room and Airbnb for miles around. If you’re the type to get a room without a reservation, take some time to check prices beforehand. If you see a major spike in prices or a drop in availability, plan on staying in a different area that night.
Plan for Phone Outages
When you’re on the road, you will frequently pass through areas without cell or data coverage. This varies from carrier to carrier, but there are a few rules that hold true for all providers:
– Coverage is best in major metropolitan areas and along Interstate highways.
– Other areas of the country have slower data service or only support text and phone calls.
– Large sections of the Western US, parts of the Appalachians, and northern Maine have little to no coverage, even for voice calls.
– Mountains, trees, and other landscape features block cell signals, making reception spotty.
You might be avoiding calls and texts on vacation, but this limited coverage is a major problem if you depend on navigation apps. Most map apps have an offline mode, but they need to load data ahead of time:
– When searching in Google Maps, you’ll see the option to download an area map outlined with a circle. This only covers a small area, so it’s good for getting around cities, but not long-distance travel.
– Here WeGo can download favorites and state maps to your phone, but it needs data to look up new addresses.
– Nearly all navigation apps including Google Maps, Here WeGo, Waze, and Apple Maps will download all the information it needs once it calculates a route. From then on, they don’t need data as long as you stay on that route.
Want a backup for your insurance card? Most apps can download your proof of insurance to your phone, so you can view it offline.
Addressing Common Mechanical Problems
Flat tires: When is the last time you checked the tire pressure in your spare tire? Do you know where the jack and lug wrench are? Checking these items now will make a tire change easier when you’re on the side of the road.
Newer cars supply inflation kits instead of spares to save weight. This includes a can of sealant that will go bad after a couple of years. If it’s out of date, replace it.
Electrical: Checking and fixing electric functions like the wipers and lights now can save you from a ticket, or worse, an accident. If the warranty on your battery expired, consider replacing it. You can find the purchase date on the top of the battery.
Fluids: Low coolant or oil can lead to a breakdown when your car is on the road for hours at a time. A full windshield washer reservoir won’t stop breakdowns, but it will keep your vision clear on bug-filled summer nights.
Packing for Inside the Car
Delays from accidents and road construction can delay meal stops for hours. Keep some drinks and snacks within reach to tide you over.
In or out of the car, there’s always a chance that you or your family will have minor medical issues ranging from sunburn to spider bites. Have these items on hand for quick relief:
– Skin creme
– Pain medicine
– Anti-nausea medication
When Accidents Happen, Come See Us
Merton Auto Body is a trusted name in Lake Country because we make collision repair as painless as possible. We can appraise vehicle repairs in minutes and we’ll work directly with your insurance company to get work approved. Our shop is staffed by ASE-certified technicians, and we’re an I-CAR Gold Class certified shop, so you can rest easy knowing your car will be fixed right the first time. We’re between highways 164 and 83 off of Silver Spring Dr, just a few miles northwest of Pewaukee.