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May 27, 2010

Tips for Taking a Road Trip

Road tripping
Classic Road Trip: Monument Valley (Jeremy Woodhouse/Photodisc/Getty)

With summer comes the triumphant return of the Great American Road Trip. From all-in-the-family everything-and-the-kitchen-sink cross-country journeys to connect-the-dot national park jaunts to an extended weekend to the nearest beach, the love of the open road never really goes out of style. But the hassles of the road can make things a bit more trying.

In an effort to help alleviate the road-weariness, experts at the Ford Motor Company have culled together some great travel tips to make the pesky details less a hassle.

Avoid Bug Splatter
Going on a long trip and don’t want to face a windshield and/or bumper full of dead bugs by the time you arrive? Wipe down your windshield with a dryer sheet; supposedly, bugs won’t stick so bad. Also, give your bumpers a spritz with cooking spray. Nothing sticks when you spray—even bugs.

Outfit Your Trunk
If your trunk looks like a linen closet when you leave for vacation, then you’re prepared. Pack sheets—you can drape them over car seats that have become hot in the sun. And throw in a pair of oven mitts or light gloves—if you need to lift a hot door handle or touch a hot steering wheel, they can lend a helping hand. You can also use the sheets as a blanket for an impromptu roadside picnic—just pack a cooler before you go, and avoid the fast food plague.

Get Rid of Stink
So there was a smoker in your car or some other…element has created an offensive smell that won’t leave? Fill a back cup holder halfway full of baking soda to absorb the odor. Might help if you’re chauffeuring stinky teenagers from gym practice, too.

Trailer Hitch Protection
Slice open a tennis ball and use it to cover your trailer hitch when you’re not using it. It will protect it from scratches, and it will keep the moisture out, discouraging rust.

Combating Sun Glare
Troubled by sun glare? Take a tip from those baseball players who smear grease black under their eyes. Put a drop of baby oil on your fingers, dip it in (cooled) wood ashes, and swipe it under your eyes to help cut the glare.  (It also adds a touch of cheesy Road Warrior cool...)

Removing Stickers
Can’t get that sticker from the amusement park or beach parking lot off your window? Saturate the sticker with cooking oil before you start scrubbing.

Avoid Hot Seats
Tired of waiting for your car seats to cool on a scorching hot day? Leave an open umbrella on the car seat while you’re out for the day.

And, to help you find your favorite open road, here's a few of our best road trips:

The Best Weekend Escapes

Upstate New York Road Trip

GORP's Top Ten Scenic Drives

GORP's Top Ten Mountain Drives

Got any long-haul driving tips to share?  Add ‘em in the comments section.

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Related Topics: Cheap Trip Ideas · Cheap Vacation Ideas · Family Vacation · Road Trips · Travel Tips


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Great tips. Another top tip - make sure you have plenty of water and snacks with you!

Nice post. Will be back for another. keep it up! interesting

Great advice. It's always a good idea to think of little details like these.

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