Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Long Distance Travel Planning

My wife and I just returned from a long, out-of-town trip to a place I dislike and for reasons that were unpleasant. Nevertheless, it was a journey that had to be made.

This made me consider how my wife and I prepare for long trips in the car. We have a checklist with variations depending on destination and purpose. We also tend to over pack when we go away.
  • Navigation. Even though GPS is prevalent and generally accessible, we always map out the route before we get on the road. This helps with any possible detours that may occur, or points of interest we'd like to see.
  • Breaks. Over a decade ago I injured my back, and since then I can only take a limited amount of time in a car before I need to get up and walk around. These breaks help both in reducing leg cramps and in keeping us alert on the road.
  • Fuel. On a long trip, we try not to let the car get below half a tank of gas before we stop to refill. This ensures we always have enough fuel to get to the next station, even if we have to skip a string of them due to extreme prices, too many customers, or lack of gasoline at the pumps. 
  • Cash. While not accepted everywhere anymore, it's always a good idea to have a supply of cash on hand when traveling. If phone/data/wifi goes down credit cards may be useless, but cash still works.
  • Hydration. Most people live their lives insufficiently hydrated. On a long drive it's too easy to either forget to drink enough or, even worse, drink too many caffeinated and/or sugary beverages which act as diuretics. One 16.9 oz bottle of water per person per 100 miles is probably a good baseline; I tend to drink more than that.
  • Nutrition. While fast food restaurants cluster around highway exits, they can't always be counted upon to be open and even the better options aren't all that healthy. A bag of shelf-stable snacks, such as dried fruit, nuts, and pretzels as well as a cooler of cheese sticks, chocolates, etc. can help considerably.
  • Biology. If we're eating and drinking, those fluids and solids eventually have to come out, so don't wait until the demand is urgent before finding a bathroom. Last year, when the government-mandated craziness was at a higher level, we went from Nashville to Knoxville. This was about two and a half hours of driving, and very few bathrooms were open to the public on that trip. Even with the calls to wash our hands for so many seconds repeated constantly, fast food restaurants weren't allowing patrons in to use their restrooms. As a man, I had the usual alternatives of "nearly any tree", but such was not the case for my wife. Fortunately, we were able to find options farther from the highway exits.
  • Electronics. With cell phones, Kindles, tablets, and more part of our daily lives, it's important to be able to keep them charged. We have a selection of cables and adaptors in our cars to take care of all our devices.
  • Defense: Depending on the destination we may just have sidearms, but if we're going to be away overnight I prefer to have at least one long gun with sufficient ammunition, as well as a cleaning kit and basic tools. Unfortunately, it's not always legal to bring firearms to certain destinations. While I'd prefer to stay away from those places, it's not always possible, and alternatives for defense that are legal in many jurisdictions are available.

All the things listed above are in addition to the normal supplies we keep in our cars at all times such as blankets, flashlights, rope/cord, etc.

Proper planning prevents poor performance. Travel safely.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post. It is informative and to the point. I liked it because it's a good checklist for the folks that have been in the preparedness game for a time while still being totally informative for those looking to get started as well. It's got great balance. Thank you folks for writing and posting this one.


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