Ladies and Gentle-Socks, my name is Mortimer J. Sockington, III, and it is my duty – nay my privilege – as world class traveler to pass on some of the best tips and tricks that I know. With summer drawing to a close and the new semester on the horizon, there is always time for one last road trip (of epic proportions) to close the summer out with.
Now, without further interruptions, I have compiled my top ten tips and tricks for prepping and journeying on a road trip.
Grab some tunes because every good journey needs a score. Sure Pandora will make do in a pinch, but that’s only good for about 5 hours then it starts to repeat on songs. Just borrow your kid sister’s iPod and load that puppy up. (Mind you no puppies should or have been injured in the acquiring of said tunes.) It’s alright if you want to load some epic John Williams music on there, I won’t judge you. The force is strong with you.
Allot yourself some extra time on the road. One thing is certain when you’re traveling on the road, your starting point and ending point will always be the same – it’s what’s in the middle that is the icing on the cake. It could be 3-4 hours or an additional day, it’s up to you. I’ve found in my many adventures that the scenery is always changing. Urbanization is sprawling and unlike Europe (“Where the history comes from.”) we are always changing our landscapes. Had it not been for the extra time that I planned out, I would not have been the first to discover the Ancient Ruins of Mt. Non-Recyclable Waste or unearth the ancient tombs of the Lollipop Gang.
Pack a cooler and snacks and save yourself a couple dozen bucks (or several bad fake-beef patties from McFatty… trust me, eating those on the road will not end well.) It doesn’t matter who you are. Anyone travelling the great pavement sea will inevitably get the munchies. You are not exempt from this rule and your wallet will thank me when you stop for gas and walk zombie-like down the snack food isle. Also, if you pack ‘smelly’ snacks, you may experience a mutiny on your hands an hour into your journey. NO CORN NUTS if you value your life.
I made a tasty sammich, and I wasn’t even in a kitchen. That’s talent right there, folks!
Keep hydrated, and I don’t mean with the liquor kind. Yes, it may make you stop more frequently to go to the little sock-monkey’s room but it’ll keep everything running smoothly. It’s weird to be in the top ten, it is true. I’m eccentric, so sue me. It’s science! Studies have shown that even that you’re not working out or breaking a sweat (in an air conditioned vehicle) you are in fact, still losing moisture. Random tidbit: I keep my rock-star, monkey figure in check by drinking a bottle or two of water when I feel bored-hungry. It’s not always about the frakking bananas.
Enjoy getting lost. As long as you have time and aren’t in perilous danger, sometimes getting lost is a good thing. Many a traveler’s journey hath begun in a few missteps. Who knows? You might wander out of civilization just in time before the zombie apocalypse strikes. Getting lost can be stressful, but it’s only if you choose it to be. Laugh it off and see where you end up… just watch out for parking lots that warn of alligators. (This really happened!)
Visit off the wall Ma & Pop stores/restaurants rather than the big chains. You’re more likely to get a better experience (as well as better food) plus this may be my inner entrepreneur speaking, but small business is awesome. I’m always rooting for the little guy, mostly because I am the little guy. You’ll find more regionally unique dishes, a homier feel, and all that jazz. Plus it’s just good Karma.
Don’t stay in accommodations right off of the highway, it’ll be highway robbery. It’s a little known fact that hotels, inns, and hostels are infamous for raising rates as a “cost of convenience” for their locations that are near heavily trafficked areas. It’s not that they’re meaning to be avaricious, they just know that there’s a need… and you can acquire that need for only $$$/night. To avoid being a victim of “highway robbery”, do your research ahead of time. Oh and if you’re doing so on a Mac computer, an iPhone or iPad, be aware that certain sites like Orbitz will offer you “higher dollar” hotels first rather than the lowest price available. For the best offer and price, booking a hotel several weeks in advance is a good thing.
Also, one of the humans that I adventure with has a funny habit of checking to see if their room can be “hacked.” Most of the time they still can, which is scary. Now I know how those Nazgul got into the hobbits’ room at the Prancing Pony. They used software like James Bond. BRILLIANT!
Pack emergency supplies. Who knows what dangers lie ahead of you and your questing party? Making sure that you have enough provisions for you and your automated vehicle of choice is always wise. This is a no-brainer, obviously. Know the climate where you’re going (especially if you’re traveling somewhere were there will be wintry conditions. Extra bottles of water and snack bars are good for such things and it doesn’t hurt to have a first-aid kit in your trunk right next to the jumper cables and vehicle fluids.
If you don’t have spawn, travel as often as you can. If you do have spawn, invest in lots of duct-tape. Whether you use that duct tape for good or evil, I leave up to you mere mortals. If your spawn are of bickering age, use the duct tape to draw a line down the center of the seat that they are sharing and if one of them crosses it then let there be consequences! MUWAH HA HA HA HA. I might be a little evil. Oh well. I’m still cute.
If you’re driving, put your frakking phone down for The Great Banana’s Sake! Granted, saying this will totally discredit me as the suave and cool sock-monkey that you know but I’m completely serious. You can be on your phone all you want when you’re in any other spot than the driver’s seat. Too many times along my travels I have glanced outside my window to see other drivers NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE ROAD BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO BUSY TEXTING OR FRELLING AROUND ON THEIR FRAKKING PHONES. You are the pilot of a multi-ton vehicle, are you not? You slaughter various insects, plant life, and the occasional “Joker, from the Dark Knight” impersonating animal… don’t add humans to your list. I understand that sometimes people will call, so have your phone in a handy place where you can just glance down, accept it or decline it, then carry on directing your vessel down the pavement river on your merry way. Shiny?
Au revoir and adieu’,