The most exciting way to run away in the USA is to take a road trip. Not only does car travel allow one to freely traverse and explore the vast and diverse states of the America but it also immerses one into the American car culture.
More so than any other country, America has been custom built to accommodate cheap and convenient car travel. From drive up ATM machines and countless fast food drive thrus to quick service oil change shops, affordable car conveniences are abundant. While this makes the American road trip far more efficient and cost effective than say a European car tour, the cost of gas and other amenities can quickly add up.
On my most recent road trip from New York to Florida, I began to think about ways to save money on the road as well as everything else one should know in order to make the most out of a road trip. At first I came up with all the obvious tips essential to the road trip. However, as I pondered more, I realized a few clever money saving techniques as well as ways to stay comfortable and entertained in the car. In any case, check out my list below to see what I came up with.
Tip # 1) Maintain your vehicle. For the sake of the longevity and fuel efficiency of your car there are three main maintenance tasks that you can undertake prior to hitting the road. The first is changing the air filter. A dirty air filter can drastically reduce your cars gas mileage. Second, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Not only will this improve the life of your tires but it will ensure maximum gas efficiency. Finally, get an oil change. It’s good for engine life and improves gas consumption as well.
Tip # 2) Drive the speed limit. Not only does this eliminate the chance of getting a speeding ticket, it is also good on gas mileage. Though it really depends on the make and model of you vehicle, according to Fueleconomy.gov, driving the speed limit increases your mile per gallon by between 7% and 23%.
Tip # 3) Avoid swamp ass. It doesn’t matter who you are or the climate you’re driving in, after miles in your seat, swamp ass is an inevitable misfortune. Though it sounds comical, many people tend to underestimate the potential repercussions of prolonged swamp ass. Not unlike trench foot, they include rashes, itchiness and even infection. Therefore, in order to avoid an embarrassing purchase of preparation H, you should actively implement evasive swamp ass measures. These include, bringing multiple pairs of underwear and changing them often, wearing loose and breathable shorts/pants, and using the window as a blow dryer to evaporate accumulated sweat.
Tip # 4) Road trip to the South. If you don’t mind the heat, the most affordable region of the country to road trip in is the South. Here, prices, from gas and motels to food and smokes, are around 30% cheaper than the North. Plus, you get to enjoy the many unique, delicious, and cheap restaurant chains such as Shoney’s and Cracker Barrel.
Tip # 5) Sleep in your car. If you’re short on cash or it’s too late to pull into a motel for the night, sleeping in your car is your best option. All along the interstates of America, rest stops offer a convenient and quite place to sleep for the night. You will generally be among truckers and other road trippers settling in for the night. Additionally, since many rest stops can be quite dodgy, you might want to consider pulling into a hotel or motel parking lot for the night. Here you can generally sleep undisturbed and with the knowledge that hotel staff are around.
Tip # 6) Don’t forget the sun block. If you enjoy hanging your arm or leg out of the car, make sure you properly apply sun block. The cool wind will often deceive you of the power of the sun and you may end up with a terrible burn.
Tip # 7) Bring your tooth brush. When you’re on the open road, the main staple is fast food. In order to avoid tooth aches and rank breath, try to brush often. Though you may feel silly brushing your teeth while driving, it’s definitely worth it.
Tip # 8) When you see an RV, add the word “Anal” to the beginning of the name. It’s pretty ridiculous but can be hilarious. For example, “Anal Airstream” “Anal Renegade” “Anal Starcraft” “Anal Viking” ect.
Tip # 9) Reuse water Bottles. When you’re on the road, you have a tendency to sweat a lot and thus drink a lot. In order to save money on water, refill your water bottle with tap water at gas station pit stops or fast food restaurants.
Tip # 10) Fill up your washer fluid. All that driving can equate to a very buggy windshield. And it’s the worst when you go to pull the windshield wiper spray and nothing comes out. Now your window is streaked with bug guts and you can barely see. In order to avoid this, it’s a good idea to stock up on wiper fluid at the gas station.
Tip # 11) If you get pulled over, be polite. Your best chance of evading a ticket in my experience is by killing the cop with kindness. And if you get pulled over in the South and are polite, your chances of getting out of a ticket are even greater. One time in Alabama, we were driving 90 mph on a 70 mph road when the Sheriff decided to pull us over. I apologized profusely and offered little excuse for my excessive speed. To my surprise it actually worked. It also helped that the sheriff was a fairly young guy, probably around 26. We ended up with out even a warning and he offered to take a picture with us as a souvenir. Now that’s southern hospitality at its best.
These are just a few tips I would recommend for your next road trip. If you can think of any more and would like to share them, feel free to comment below. Otherwise, have a great time road tripping the USA.
Let Me Know What You Think!
Lorna - the roamantics says
love it leif! especially #4 and #9. does that count for RVs tinier than SUVs too? in that case, call me anal chinook- lol. i think vinyl seats = greater swamp ass and that sitting on cotton towels (or any fabric other than vinyl or leather seats) helps ward off swamp ass. just left on my big cross country a week & a half ago! so excited! :)
Haha anal chinook, thanks! That a good tip for beating swamp ass.