With the holidays just days away, many drivers are planning long distance holiday road trips to visit family and friends. Your road trip will go much smoother and will be much more enjoyable if you do a little extra planning in advance. Below are eight travel tips to help you plan for your road trip:
- Join a travel club – If you don’t already have a membership to a travel club, join one before you leave town. It will save you a lot of headaches if the unexpected happens while you’re on the road.
- Speaking of the “unexpected”… – Whenever you go on a long distance road trip, you should EXPECT the UNEXPECTED. Anticipate spending extra time on your road trip for whatever might come your way whether it’s a problem such as a flat tire or road construction that slows you down, or a nice surprise like happening upon a charming little town along your route or a tourist attraction that you didn’t know you’d be passing by. If the “unexpected” is a nice surprise, slow down and enjoy it.
- Check you air pressure – Before you leave town, check the air pressure in your tires, including the spare. Improper air pressure can lead to poor handling, lower gas mileage, and in extreme cases it can even cause overheating and a blowout.
- Take turns driving – Switch drivers often. It is safer to switch drivers frequently so no one gets tired or starts “zoning out” behind the wheel. Plus everyone gets a chance to enjoy the scenery while they are the passenger.
- Take frequent restroom breaks – As a rule, you should use the restroom every time you stop during your road trip. Even if you don’t think you have to go, go anyway. If you haven’t traveled your route before, you might not know when you’ll come across the next rest stop, gas station, etc.
- Plan rest days – If you’re driving from one side of the country to the other, your trip could take a few days. Build rest days into your travel schedule. This will give all drivers and passengers a chance to rest and regroup, not to mention it will be good for your car. Constant driving can be taxing on your car. If you take a break or two, your car will be less likely to overheat, breakdown, etc.
- Eat healthy – Roadside convenience stores aren’t exactly known for their healthy food options, so pack a cooler for your trip. When the munchies hit you in the car, you’ll be better off with a healthy snack like fruit, yogurt, juice, etc.
- Entertain the kids – If you’ll be traveling with children, your trip will be more enjoyable if the kids are entertained in the car. Bring travel games, books, magazines, a children’s music CD, etc. Plan to play games like “I Spy”, sing songs, and count blue cars or big rigs. If your kids are entertained, they are less likely to cry all the way to Grandma’s house making your ride more peaceful and enjoyable. And don’t forget their favorite blankets, stuffed, animals or other comfort items that might help them nap in the car.
For more tips, please check out 8 Travel Tips for a Holiday Weekend Road Trip.
If you insist on dedicating hours to the tedium of rolling, cutting and decorating multitudes of sugar cookies, turn your head, this isn’t for you. This is an old fashioned sugar cookie recipe that tastes great and requires no rolling or cutting. It’s good for any time of the year, but you can dress them up for the holidays by using colored sugars when you flatten them.
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 tbs grated lemon or orange peel
1 cup sour cream
3 ½ cups flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Sugar for decorating
Cream the shortening and sugar. Add the egg and grated peel, then mix in the sour cream. Sift together the dry ingredients and stir into the mixture. Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
Here’s a muffin recipe that uses two of Thanksgivings favorite flavors. I like to serve them warm for breakfast as a preview of the goodies to come. And remember, since they are muffins, you don’t have to mix them to death, a few lumps in the batter is okay.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
2 cups flour
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 lightly beaten eggs
½ cup melted butter
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In another bowl mix together the pumpkin, eggs, butter, buttermilk and vanilla. Then gradually beat in the dry ingredients. Stir in the cranberries and nuts. Fill greased muffin tins ¾ full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Makes approximately 12 muffins.
Cold weather can cause all kinds of transportation problems, so don’t put off having your car inspected and serviced now. Below is a checklist of the most important areas of your car to review or inspect in order to be prepared for winter.
- Check all of the fluids. This includes oil, brake fluid, coolant, and windshield washer fluid.
- Have the battery serviced including cleaning the terminal ends and checking cables for wear. If it fails a load test or is more than four years old, replace it.
- Check tire tread for wear. If you drive on remote roads consider replacing all-season tires with snow tires for added traction in snow and ice.
- Make sure tires are inflated properly as cold temperatures will lower pressure. Specifications for your car are usually found on the edge of the door or in the glove box.
- Have your breaks inspected. Control on slick roads is key in the winter.
- Test defroster, heater, and all the lights including turn signals and headlights.
- Replace windshield wipers to ensure best visibility.
- Keep the gas tank full to prevent moisture freezing in the gas lines.
- Carry emergency items. Include a blanket, extra clothing plus boots, gloves, hat, ice scraper, snow shovel, flashlight, flares, kitty litter for traction, jumper cables, a phone charger, and maybe your favorite snacks to get you through that enormous traffic jam on the way home from work.
As everyone knows, there will be an increased number of children out on the street on Halloween. These kids are distracted by excitement, are poor judges of traffic threats, may have restricted movement and vision because of their costumes, and believe they are indestructible. With that in mind, motorists must be especially careful on Halloween night. The list of tips below will help keep motorists safe on this special night:
- Stay Home – If you don’t have to be anywhere, plan on an evening at home. Keep in mind Halloween festivities start as early as 4:00 PM. In fact, accidents involving pedestrians are four times more likely to occur between 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM on this holiday than any other day.
- Use an Alternate Route – Try choosing a route that is less likely to be used by trick-or-treaters. There may already be kids on the streets when you leave work so plan accordingly.
- Discourage Teens from Driving – Keep inexperienced drivers off the road by giving them a ride or by planning activities to keep them at home.
- Slow Down – Keep your speed below the limit in residential areas to give yourself more time to stop, should a child dart out in front of you.
- Stay Alert – Watch the sidewalks and curbs where kids are walking. They may step out from between parked cars, so be aware. Stopped vehicles are likely to be letting out passengers that may cross in front of you, so don’t pass them.
- Avoid Distractions – Turn down your radio and don’t use a cell phone while driving.
- Signal – Let other drivers and pedestrians know what you are doing. If you are dropping off or picking up passengers, turn on your hazard lights. Use turn signals at intersections and when changing lanes.
- No Drinking – Don’t be distracted by the holiday parties that you might attend. There’s never an excuse to drink and drive.