Thursday, September 15, 2016

Preparing For a Road Trip

We just came back from our road trip !! Yay. This is our second road trip to Vancouver, BC, Canada. So I thought I shared some of my tips.

Map out your route ahead of time
These days technology made it way easier. We used Google maps to give us a ball park of the distance and time needed. From San Jose to Vancouver it’s a total of almost 17 hours. No way we’ll make it in one day.  So we picked a mid point or more than mid point so we didn’t need to have a lot of distance the following day.

Hotel reservation
Once we picked our rest city then we went online and made a hotel reservation. When it comes to hotel I don’t care much for a lot of amenities. We’ll be there for a night only. My main concern is the cleanliness and safety. So before I made reservation I always double check the reviews on TripAdvisor.

Costco gas station
We are Costco member so we know that the gas there is usually cheaper than regular gas station. On our previous road trip we learnt that there were Costco with gas station on every cities we passed. Most Costco warehouses are located closed to highway so we don’t need to venture too far out of highway and wasted time to get our gas. Beside getting cheaper gas, Costco warehouses also have food court. So when time was short and we didn’t want to stop by for a proper meal we just grabbed a quick bite at the food court. They have pizza, hot dog, sandwiches, salad, etc. Some people maybe wrinkling nose at those options of food. But we have to be practical when we’re on the road.

Restaurant list
This is where we got our proper meals. To save time, we only had one proper meal a day. I noted that the average time spent at a sit down restaurant was about one hour. While if we grabbed a quick bite we could be chewing and navigating at the same time. No, we’re not endangering ourselves or anyone. Who ever that wasn’t driving will be in charge to feed the driver.

On our previous road trip I noticed it took time to research any restaurant on the road. There were a lot of undesirable factors like slow or no internet connection. So I decided to do research prior to embarking and by the time we were on the road we just plugged in the information on the navigation system.

By doing research ahead of time I managed to pick some restaurants with decent reviews but still within location not too far from highway. Good food is important but saving time while eating is also equally important.

Google Maps
Both me and hubby are Android phone users so our default navigation system to use is Google maps. This wasn’t the first time we use it on the road but yet I was still amazed by it.  On our way back I set Costco Eugene in Oregon as our destination to refill gas. And at one point about an hour away, the navigation system told us that Costco will be closed at 6 and our scheduled time to arrive was 5:30. I was completely blown away by that information. I didn’t even think about it and my navigation system warned me like an assistant. Wasn’t it amazing ?

So if you are planning on a road trip, make sure to use Google maps ! Don't forget to keep your phone plugged in to keep the battery charged. Though the navigation didn't really sucked up a lot of juice, but I like to keep the battery at at least 80% all the time.

Documents and tools
Always double check your registration and insurance before you leave. Better be safe than sorry. Nothing as bad as starting a trip with a ticket. Believe me. It's no fun !

We like to keep a small flash light in our glove compartment. Though a lot of smart phones these days are equipped with flash light. But on the road, I also like to keep our phones battery fully charged all the time just in case there's an emergency. So let the traditional flash light does the job and keep the phones really just for communication.