Have a road trip scavenger hunt – Road trip tip

Planning a family road trip? To avoid hours of boredom, plan a “scenic scavenger hunt.”

It’s easy. Just write down a list of 100 things you might see along the way, like landmarks, buses or bridges. The first person to complete the list wins.

For preschool kids, substitute magazine photos and trim the list to twenty familiar objects. For older kids, include a challenge: require them to provide one additional fact about each item they find.

Have fun. And by the time you reach the end of the road, you won’t be at the end of your rope.

Laminate maps and printed directions – Road trip tip

Passengers eat, drink, and frequently move in and out of the car during a road trip. A paper map or set of printed directions easily gets shoved into a seat during a stop, or worse yet, ruined if food or drink is spilled on it. Upon arrival, directions and maps are even more likely to get misplaced or damaged. To keep maps and directions safe during the trip, laminate them.

For around $30, a home laminating machine will seal standard letter size pages. Copy and print stores have the capability to laminate larger maps for a minimal fee. Alternatively, you can use contact paper to cover paper maps.

Pro tip: you can draw your route on a laminated map and easily wipe the mark off, if you change your mind.

Photo of the Day (02.27.10)

How far do you drive when you suspect that you’ve made a wrong turn? Do you base it on time or distance? In other words, are you more likely to say, “Hey, let’s just give it 10 more minutes,” or, “I think it’s just another two miles after this sign?” I tend to go by time. If it seems like driving for 20 minutes without seeing my exit is odd, I’ll assume that I must have missed it. I used to do the distance thing, but then I realized that I lack the proper understanding of spacial relations.

I’m reminded of this internal debate when I look at this photo by Flickr user kanelstrand from a road trip in Iceland. I’m a sucker for “road to nowhere” pictures. I’m also wistful for the pre-GPS days. I liked pulling over, unfolding a giant road map on the hood of my car and trying to figure out where the hell I was. Technology may make life easier and safer, but no one ever said that easy and safe were interesting.

Have a good shot from the last time you got lost? Submit your images to Gadling’s Flickr group right now and we might use it for a future Photo of the Day.

Bring a tire repair kit – Road trip tip

A nighttime flat tire miles from the nearest town might make a good story later, but in the middle of a road trip, it spells stress. Be prepared with everything you need to fix a flat.

Auto supply retailers carry kits with patches, plugs, adhesive and a file to roughen the tire rubber to help the patch adhere. Bring along two cans of a flat-repair product to fill the tire.

In case of a flat: examine the tire and patch any injury. Use your trip-saving flat-repair can to inflate and seal the tire so you can drive to a safer location to change it.


Bring an extra gallon of water – Road trip tip

Travelers generally think to bring bottled drinking water, but few realize how frustrating it is to need a larger quantity of water with no way to get it.

Some rest areas have poorly designed sinks that automatically squirt liquid soap, run water for a few seconds, and then immediately turn on a hand dryer. Brushing your teeth in these contraptions is nearly impossible.

Keep a gallon of extra water tucked away in the trunk for rinsing sticky stuff off your hands, splashing on your face, using to brush your teeth, or even filling an overheated radiator.