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Road Trip Tips | AD Roadtrip

Working On The Road

Posted: June 28th, 2009 | Author: jason | Filed under: Road Trip Tips | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Life can be hectic, even in the best of times… mix in a challenging economy, stagnant career opportunities and kids on Summer break, and you’ll have yourself caught in whirlwind of emotions and distractions so intense you might not know how to make it through the day. Finally, throw in a road trip that places you half-way across the country where you shack up with friends and family (the ones gracious enough to put up with your traveling chaos), and the intensity factor earns a multiple of 10-20x.

Representing the end of week one, this road trip has been interesting so far… a little crying, a little arguing, a little tiring, and a lot of fun (and that’s just my experience). We have managed to get all of our “real work” done each day with relative efficiency, which has been a pleasant surprise.

I will say this… the road trip has already proven to be a learning experience. I have learned a lot more about people than I initially considered. As is the case with any extended engagement, people learn who you really are, and you with respect to them. I’m not suggesting that others will ultimately see through to the jerk in you, but any extended time you spend with people for professional or personal reasons naturally expose more of who you really are - at some point, the overly bubbly, smile at everything, “I’m a visitor so I have to schmooze” kind of behavior has to go.

So, back to the things I think I have learned, and (really) need to implement:

  1. Don’t do everything everyone tells you to do - it’s too much, if your version of fun is one solid activity every couple of days, then you won’t be happy bouncing with an AM visit to the park and an afternoon visit to the ZOO. The kids need fun, but if you get late into the afternoon and they are not happy, even after everthing you have done for them, you might be doing too much.
  2. Talk to your spouse (one-on-one) more - This rule is especially critical if you are spending any extended length of time around (or staying with) family. There are so many opinions floating around that you must absolutely get with your spouse and ground yourselves before you fall prey to “what everyone else thinks.”
  3. As always, remember a little “you time” - Be totally alone, this time is not intended to replace the “date night’ with your spouse or the one-on-one time with your son or daughter - this is complete “you” time. It may sound a little selfish at first, especially since you are on vacation together, but if you take just a smidgen of time for yourself, then you will escape the “family vacuum” that tends to consume your thoughts and behavior, and come back refreshed and ready for more family fun.

So, is this short list a good reminder, maybe, insightful, maybe not, but all in all I think it makes good sense to keep your “away from home” bearings greased up and rotating properly.

Until next time - plan ahead, and be safe…

7 Road Trip Mistakes To Avoid

Posted: June 2nd, 2009 | Author: jason | Filed under: Road Trip Tips | Tags: , | No Comments »

We all make mistakes sometimes, but mistakes on a road trip can really escalate fast due to tight quarters and lots of “are we there yet”s. Here are a handful of mistakes to avoid to make the most of your upcoming road trip:

1. Covering Too Much Ground

You can always travel a long distance, but make sure you have a solid ratio of miles to smiles. Simply put, don’t go too far without having solid destinations to visit and enjoy. Too much travel and no fun is just that - no fun (especially for the kiddos.)

2. Staying in the Car

This is part of the “smiles” mention from mistake number 1… how many fond memories do you have of driving across Death Valley? Probably not very many. Avoid making the entire trip a Death Valley memory; get out and enjoy the scenery. Spend a couple hours outside of the car for every 4 to 5 hours in the car, even on the distance days, that will keep a balance and the kids should nap in the car from outside play.

3. Not Making Reservations

Regardless of tough times and a slow economy, don’t think there aren’t lots of other families out trying to make the most of their Summer vacations too. Avoid last minute arrivals with no reservations - hotels and motels fill up fast, and you don’t want to be stuck with only a double bed and handful of cots in your room for the 5 of you.

You can always hit up Priceline too for the best prices on hotel reservations.

4. Spending Too Much Money

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time… there are so many sights to see and facts to learn, that your kids won’t miss the 4 star breakfasts and 40 mph rides. Ok, they might miss them a little, but the point is, you can find so many great parks, beaches (ocean or lakefront) and museums to keep really busy.

Buy snacks from the grocery store, and don’t be afraid to have a picnic lunch or dinner now and then too. It doesn’t all have to be about 5 dollar kids meals and cheesecake desserts.

5. Not Planning Ahead

You will want to avoid Sergent Slaughter mode, but having a solid plan for each travel day is important, otherwise you will find a general lack of discontent and lagging morale among your crew. Planning can be a pain, but keep it simple and you’re sure to hedge your bet against road trip frustrations.

Also, leave a little room for delays, extra fun time a family hot spot and longer than expected goodbyes - flexibility will be your friend too.

6. Only Doing the “Kid Stuff”

Find time for you… 10 days of just kid stuff can wear on parents. Part of planning ahead should include a family member caring for kids for a half day or work in a late show or something. Don’t rule out the importance of an adult “breather” or two in your vaca.

7. Too Tired to Capture

The camera and camcorder and get heavy and become a burden, especially when the thoughts “I’ve already captured tons of great memories” creep in. Just go get the camera - you’ll be glad you did. So you’ll have 40 hours of photos and footage that may never see daylight for 10 years to come, at least you will have it - that’s what’s important.

And when you are ready to showcase your road trip memories Snapfish is a great place to print and deliver photos of the family standing on the dock or sitting by the campfire. And they will cover your first roll for free!

Far from all inclusive, and a bit of common sense, but a good reminder non-the-less of things to avoid to stay busy, stay active and have fun on your next road trip.

Zipcar Is On The Move

Posted: June 2nd, 2009 | Author: jason | Filed under: Road Trip Tips | No Comments »

Are you in the market for part of a car or need occasional use of a car, but don’t think your friends will stay friends if you ask them to borrow their car again for the day? Then you might be the perfect candidate for zipcar.

The zipcar rental model is cunningly simple, and while they are not in all major markets yet, that is quickly changing. You have to join their program, but as a member they make getting your hands on the steering wheel fast and easy. It is almost the perfect utlity model for car rental - just pay for what you use.

Of course you can join zipcar for all the reasons you can imagine needing a car on a temporary basis - weekend drive to the coast, travel to a wedding, as a getaway car, for a job interview or for wooing your date (the ladies do not think riding halfsies on a banana seat is cool.)

And if you are into green, you will really feel good because you will have more of it in your pocket (vs. owning a car) and because you are allowing more of it grow on trees. Now if you are in the market for that new Hummer, but want to wait until GM get’s everything sorted out and you need to know who the new owner is, then zipcar is good interim solution too.

I could go on and on about zipcar, but their website does a great job of saying it all - visit www.zipcar.com.

3 Great Road Trip Websites

Posted: June 2nd, 2009 | Author: jason | Filed under: Road Trip Tips | No Comments »

Whenever you consider travel by car further than a trip across town, you will need a few tools to help make the trip fun and worthwhile. And while I know so many of you want to stay home and watch all of the great E3 coverage in Los Angeles on the new release of G4tv, you should get out and at least plan some time on the road - it is cleansing for the soul.

While this is a short list, the following websites that can assist you in your trip planning and with your on-road execution.

1) Get A “New-To-You” Car:

Do you need a new car or do you need to let your car go early from your lease? Swapalease.com has set up a great solution to connect you with other drivers that are interested in your leased vehicle. If you need a new car for your trip, this website will help you exit your car lease early - no penalties. Check it out.

2) Mileage and Fuel Ecomony Tracking Made Easy-Peasy:


Mymilemarker.com is a really useful tool for entering miles on or off the road. You can use your cell phone to enter when you buy gas and track mileage. They have useful reporting to make sense of the trip and to help you make decisions on where to travel and how far. The truly detail oriented will love mymilemarker.com and everyone will find it easy to use.

3) Find The Best Gas Prices Per Gallon Anywhere You Go:

Many of you have probably visisted GasBuddy.com since the gas price spikes from last year, but don’t forget about this one. GasBuddy is really great if you are on the road and out of town. You can quickly find the lowest priced fuel by cost per gallon in your surrounding area.Nuff said.

I hope this list is helpful… good luck on your Summer road trip wherever your travels take you!