If you are traveling, it is vital to make sure someone knows where you are going to be, when you will be back and how to find you if you don't show up on time! Don't ever take for granted that nothing will happen, or that you can deal with the situation if it does. Vehicles break down, accidents happen, people make mistakes. Don't depend on your cell phone to call for help, you can't always get a signal. Knowing what information to leave behind with someone is very important. When I'm with my mom, we spend lot of time on back roads, but this is also important for highway travel. Because of a scary situation that happened a few years ago, I knew I had to be more careful about giving someone information that could save us if something happened and we didn't come back. This is how I do it now:
I used my cell phone to take a photo of the license plate on my mom's 4 wheel drive vehicle we usually use. I sent it as a text to my adult daughter, along with a description of the vehicle and the phone numbers of the local Sheriff's Office and Highway Patrol. I saved the text in my phone. Now, when my mom and I go out, I re-send the text to my daughter, along with a general idea of where we are going, if we are going on a back road, I give her the road number. If we leave that area, I let her know. She knows that if she doesn't hear from me by the end of that day, she should call the numbers I gave her, tell them we are missing and give the information she has for us, so they can start looking for us. Even though my daughter is in another state, I know someone is looking out for us. I use this same method when I am traveling out of town. Someone always knows where I'm headed and what I'm driving. If I decide to take a different route, I let the contact person know.
My mom and I are obsessed with rocks and back road sightseeing. Our favorite things to do together in Arizona where she lives, has always been driving back roads to see what we can discover, and looking for rocks. My mom has a 4 wheel drive vehicle and we both have a history as longtime members of a Search and Rescue organization, so we know how to be careful. Getting lost, vehicle breakdown, getting stuck or physically injured is always a possibility no matter how careful you are.
When we were both younger, it wasn't a big deal. We made sure someone knew we were going out and what general direction we were headed. I was always confident that we could deal with any situation that happened. If we got stuck somewhere, I was in good physical condition and had no doubt I could walk out for help if I had to without getting lost, because the landmarks where we went were always so prominant. I do have to add though, trying to walk out for help is generally one of the worst things you can do!
My husband and I like to do the same things with our kids, we have travelled all over, exploring Oklahoma where we live and I have always been confident in just going out by myself with my kids until a few years ago. We got into some trouble and I wasn't sure we were going to get out if it! My mom and I hadn't realized how old we were getting, I didn't know I had developed type 2 diabetes which made me more vulnerable to heat.
We took my 2 younger boys (around ages 13 and 10) and went out on one of our favorite back roads to look for volcanic rock, about 10 miles from any town or highway. It was summer, around 103 degrees. We had plenty of water as usual. We parked on the edge of the dirt road, grabbed a bottle of water each and went out into the field to look for rocks. The boys got hot and bored, so they went back to the vehicle to sit in the shade and play their hand-held games. My mom and I wondered around picking up rocks and putting them in our bag, we didn't realize how far out we'd wondered and how long we'd been in the heat with only 1 bottle of water.
By the time we realized, we were both in trouble. We were less than 1/4 of a mile from the vehicle, but we nearly didn't make it back and the boys were not paying attention to know we were in trouble. We were too hot, too dizzy, very nauseated, seeing black spots, fuzzy-thinking, barely able to walk - seriously in trouble! My mom couldn't make it, she had to stop. The only reason I made it was total determination and the fear that if I stopped, we would die and my boys would have to try to walk out for help. When I was close enough to the vehicle for my boys to hear me, I told one to bring me some water and the other to take water to my mom.My heart was pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears, it hurt to breathe!
I drank the water, trying not to throw it back up and put an ice pack on the back of my neck, then drove the vehicle closer to my mom to get her. We had to sit in the car with the air conditioner running, drinking water and putting ice packs on our necks and wrists for several minutes to cool off enough before we could head home. We were sick for a couple of days and couldn't handle the heat for several weeks. At the very least, we'd had a major case of heat exhaustion, quite possibly more.
Even with the knowledge and experience we had, we made a very stupid mistake that could have cost us a life. If something had happened, there was no cell phone service and even if there had been, there was no 911 in the area and my boys wouldn't have known how to tell someone where we were. The boys would have been in the same shape if they'd tried to walk out, possibly getting lost. Nobody would have known where we were!
So, now I realize I am a 50 year old type 2 diabetic who does not have the same abilities I used to have. My mom is a 73 year old woman with very bad knees who would never stand a chance. When we go out now, we both realize how easy it is to make stupid mistakes and how fast you can get in trouble. I'm more aware of our limitations and I am careful not to get into a situation like that again. We stay closer to the vehicle now, no more than a few feet out. We carry more water than we think we need and I set the timer on my cell phone to keep track of how long we are out. When we go somewhere, I make sure my daughter has the information she needs to send someone to look for us. If possible, I try to make sure one of the neighbors has the same information.
By lyonpridej from Oklahoma
I like to travel, but try to travel light. Quite often when I am traveling by car I have a destination in mind and there is not a lot of time to stop and set up camp along the way. These tips are good for day trips and long distance travel.
If I am not able to stay with friends or family along the way an inexpensive motel is usually the best option. Motel 6 usually beats the price of even the cheapest motels. They are clean and consistent.
Stock up on healthy snacks, fresh fruit, dried fruit, and nuts. I usually travel with a jar of peanut butter and jelly and some bread, rice cakes, ground coffee, a coffee pot (to make some while at a motel or campground) a thermos for the coffee, a bottle of juice (you can stop and buy some fresh along the way.) Depending on how serious I am about my coffee I sometimes carry the campstove, a pan to heat water or soup, and a coffee cone and filters. That way I can stop at a rest area and make another pot.
It's usually good to stop and eat at least one good meal every day. Denny's is a good value and they are all across the country. You can just get soup and salad which is light and good for traveling and usually very reasonable. It is also a good idea to ask locals about the best places to eat.
If possible travel with a cooler, even a small one will help you save money. You can then bring mayo, butter or margarine, cheese, and keep your drinks cool. If staying at a motel, they often have refrigerators so you can refreeze your blue ice or refill containers with ice at their ice machine.
Buy several gallons of drinking water to bring with you and refill smaller water bottles. At $1 plus a 16 oz bottle of water it gets expensive fast and you need a lot of liquids when traveling.
For thrifty car air conditioning, keep a spray bottle with plain water in it. You can mist each other while driving. It really helps cool you off when you don't have AC or don't want to use it to get better mileage. If you do have AC and use it, use the half setting if you have one or turn it off when you are just cool enough leaving the fan on to blow around the cool air. Turn it back on when you get too hot.
White cotton long sleeved shirts are great for keeping your arms from getting too much sun while driving the car. I keep several with me anytime the weather is warm because I sunburn easily. There is nothing more miserable than driving along without being able to keep your arm out of the sun.
Traveling by car can be very thrifty (if gas doesn't cost too much.) Now is the season. A little preparation can help to have a thrifty trip.
By Susan Sanders-Kinzel
I suggest using empty water or soda bottles for this since they have the screwed on cap. Plus if you (or the kids) loses one of the bottles, it won't be such a loss. You can also do this when packing a lunch for yourself or your child as it will help keep the rest of the items cold. Just be sure to wrap it in a paper towel so condensation won't get the rest of the stuff wet.
These items will definitely help you to stay clean and feel a little bit more comfortable while using Rest Stop Bathrooms.
By Bridget P.
We were concerned about the cost of gas, knowing that many stations hike up the prices right off the freeway. At home, we tend to purchase our gas at Costco because it is generally the lowest price in our area. We researched which Costco stores on I-5 sell gas and planned to fill up there whenever possible. We also were able to stop and get an inexpensive lunch of hot dogs or pizza while we were there. It saved us time and money.
Costco is all across the U.S and in other countries as well, so this should be a good option for many people. With the price of gas around $4.00, every little bit helps.
Save and use screw top tonic or juice (plastic) bottles after washing and drying them well. When you're off for a trip, lengthy or otherwise, don't stop for cold drinks for everyone along the way. The night before, pour inexpensive tonic, punch or water into several bottles, filling them from 1/4 to 1/2 way, cap them and put in the freezer. It takes from 1 1/2 to 4 hours to freeze solid. In the morning, fill them with the appropriate drink and they'll stay frosty and cold for a good long time; for many a restless mile!