If you’re hitting the road this summer, take time to plan your adventure to reduce agony levels later on.
Whether you’re driving to a Tahoe cabin or touring the Icelandic outback, road trips can save money and get you closer to points of interest.
The extended time in a car can lead to bonding or irreconcilable differences, especially for baby boomers or empty nesters traveling without children.
While driving with children seems chaotic, the little ones do provide a buffer to your relationship. When you’re pulling out snacks and iPad games, there’s no time to discuss things with your spouse.
So how can you survive a road trip?
• Start with maps from a car club. GPS navigation systems are helpful, but folding maps allow you see the topography of the region – and provide an educational element for children. AAA lets you create turn-by-turn TripTiks online.
• iPads can be charged in the car, as can phones. Sort through cables and chargers, storing them in large plastic bags. Places like Staples and The Container Store sell fancier vinyl pouches with zipper sleeves.
• If you have differing musical tastes, agree on a playlist or alternate CD selection. Satellite radio offers more options to listen to while rolling down the highway. Car songs like “Ventura Highway” by America or “Hollywood Nights” by Bob Seeger will take boomers back to earlier times.
• Nothing beats being read to by someone else. Listen to books on CDs, which you can download easily on iTunes. Subscription services like Audible.com offer downloadable books for a fee. Audible charges $14.95 per month for membership. “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt runs 32 hours, 24 minutes, the length of a trip to Oregon and back. Catch up on book club selections or the latest best-seller.
• Converse. Ask each other open-ended questions about future aspirations or childhood events. Do you really know all of your spouse’s stories? Do your children know all of yours?
• Stopping at rest areas along the way allows you to stretch your legs, perhaps buy snacks or drinks and do some people watching.
• Travel games like who can spot the most out-of-state license plates will keep all engaged.
A local road trip to Costanoa Lodge (costanoa.com), 2001 Rossi Road in Pescadero, for example, might be good for a weekend or even overnight. The “glamping” spot offers tent cabin from $92 a night, as well as premium rooms in the Lodge for $193 and up. The resort organizes activities, like the July 4 celebration featuring the blues band Mondo Blue and the July 11 moonlit paddle from the Santa Cruz Wharf.