When was the last time that you planned a driving vacation? Do people still do them? Would you consider it with small children, pets, teens? Where would you go, what would you do and see? Visit families, national parks, cities, country, the Midwest, the south? Have you thought about it?
Last month we did a road trip you might say. We moved from Wisconsin to Arizona opting to enjoy the move with U-Haul and AAA for directions. I am not going to go into the move itself but about the two companies and how we utilized them.
While driving our U-Haul we broke the spring on the trailer. U-Haul has a marvelous roadside assistance and (Thelonia) spent the day assisting us. She sent someone to take us to the nearest U-Haul location. Because it was the end of day she then confirmed a hotel. Your first tip: When traveling with pets in our case 3 dachshunds and 2 turtles you need to verify with the hotel directly if they will allow them. Do not look at the main website because each hotel is different. The second tip is do not book a prepaid room on a website that does not belong to the hotel itself. Especially if you are unsure about pets or the hotel. Why you ask? Because should you arrive and it not be what you are looking for (take pets, bugs, etc.) you will not get your money back. I have seen this twice in the last 2 months in Omaha and Amarillo. If the only way is to confirm is prepaid call the hotel directly and speak to the front desk. Remember to advise all the information: The number of people, nights, beds needed, any special needs that you might have, then ask if they will hold the room. If it is after 6pm ask them how many rooms they have left. If they have a number of rooms you could proceed to the hotel as a walk in. Keep in mind that the pricing could change or the front desk could try to up sell advising they are almost sold out. On the whole hotels prefer to work with you.
We arrived at one of the hotels early and they had a washer and dryer. With it being 3rd day into a 2 day journey we were running low on clothing. The front desk had laundry soap for sale. Tip number three: While on your road trip add a couple of packs of the pod laundry soap to freshen your cloths along the way.
Tip number four: Consider fun things cards, swimsuits, coloring books (both adult and kids), pool toys, favorite snacks, extra medicine that you might need. You never know when you might be somewhere that you need to amuse yourselves.
Now for AAA! The last time I had AAA was in the 80's, yes I know I am dating myself. A friend and my sister in law both recommended that we get it before our move. Now, I also highly recommend that everyone carry AAA. They have these great interactive maps taking you from one place to another. You can ask for anything you might think of, bathrooms, food, gas, lodging, etc. It gives you a number of routes that you can take and the time frame. I do recommend caution on their fastest route on paper or as the crow flies is not always the fastest route. It could actually take you a number of extra hours. :) Say like going up and down very steep mountain inclines in the dark.
On top of the great maps they also have other services in our case towing. Another service that you would not have thought of possible car rental. You receive a discount with Hertz. It may not always be the least expensive but the perks that go with it are well worth the extra cost. The two that we used were a second driver and the under age driver both waivers saved us so much.
On the whole our road trip was longer than we hoped and I am not to sure I ever want to visit Iowa again. But that is another story to be told.
Remember to be like a boy scout and always be prepared!
Lauren and Kim Medelberg's life in travel. We will talk about our trips, thoughts, and experiences in the travel world.