While rest areas are nice for road trippers, truck stops provide ten times the conveniences. You do not have to be a truck driver to benefit from the services offered at truck stops. For less than $10 you can take a hot shower at a truck stop, which covers one of the most common needs you will have while traveling. Additionally, truck stops offer some of the cleanest restrooms on the roadways.
For entertainment, truck stops provide a lounge with a TV and comfortable seating for a much needed rest from the rigors of the road. Most truck stops offer Wi-Fi, fax machines, copy machines and pay telephones, as well as FedEx and UPS shipping services.
Truck stops also offer hot meals, typically buffet style or via fast food chain restaurants in-store, as well as snacks, cold drinks and the most necessary of all items--coffee. You can also find:
DVDs and audiobooks for rent
Portable DVD players
Basic and intermediate tool kits
Replacement parts for lights and other vehicle accessories
If you are traveling within the States, consider the cost of airline tickets versus the cost of fuel. If you own or rent a car that has good fuel economy, chances are you can save 3/4 the costs of travel. For example, a trip from Sioux Falls, SD to Seattle, WA for a single person by plane is an estimated $600 round trip airfare. However, the same trip will cost someone driving a fuel efficient car, rather than a truck or SUV, $250 in gas both ways. Once you arrive at your destination, you will not need to pay for public transportation, unless you choose to, nor will you need to rent a vehicle. The convenience of having the comfort of your own car can be quite nice for travelers.
Along the way, you have the chance to make memories unavailable for those traveling by plane. And often times the amount of time you spend at the airport and in the air is equal to or greater than the amount you would have spent on the road driving. Additionally, if you are traveling with children or other people, airfare costs rack up substantially. Meanwhile, younger children need time to get energy out while traveling, and a rest area is much more appealing than a crowded airport or plane for running and playing.
The next time you are planning on traveling a long distance, such as across state lines or from coast to coast, consider renting an RV. You will be able to experience the sites and flavors of every city you cross through, which is something you sacrifice when flying or traveling by train. Also, by opting for an RV over your personal vehicle, you have your own personal kitchen, bedroom and lounging area as you travel. No more being let down by misleading hotel reviews or missing meals because of odd hours at restaurants. You have the comfort of home while being on the road. By renting an RV you will not be adding extra miles or wear and tear to your personal vehicle. Note that when you rent an RV, you should always opt for the traveler's insurance so to provide protection in case of an accident or breakdown.
The US Government established STEP for US citizens who travel or live in a foreign country, so they can register their whereabouts with the US Embassy. Sign up for this free service so you keep in contact with the Embassy in case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster, death or political uprising. You can access your STEP account online from anywhere that has internet. STEP also allows you to receive updates including travel alerts and travel warnings from the US Government about any particular country. Also, if your family in the US needs to contact you, such as in the case of a death, they can reach you via the US Embassy thanks to the STEP system.
Create an emergency survival kit to prepare you for any type of emergency, such as a forest fire, natural disaster or physical injury. You need to have a kit for each member of your camping party. Each kit should be stored in a durable, camping backpack. Pack three gallons of water, a three-day supply of nonperishable food, a first aid kit, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, one change of clothing, plastic sheeting, duct tape and extra batteries. While you can prep your kit ahead of time to use for multiple camping excursions, you should check your kits seasonally to make sure food hasn't spoiled or the water isn't leaking, and to change the clothing so it is appropriate for the weather. Also, if you are taking medications, keep a supply of the medication in your kit. Other items to include are copies of your personal identification, a notebook, pens, up-to-date family photos and a personal item, such as a stuffed animal or lucky sock. The last item listed here is essential for helping individuals cope in the case that they find themselves lost on the trail.
Inflatable canoes and their carrying bags can weigh as little as 25 pounds, depending on the brand and accessories. However, you aren't sacrificing safety as inflatable canoes are constructed from the same durable materials used to make whitewater rafts. If you are traveling by airplane or train, you can check your inflatable canoe in its handy storage bag along with your luggage. Imagine the money you will save on your next vacation by being able to bring your own canoe to the waterways rather than renting one by the hour. An inflatable canoe is ideal for people who own a compact car or lack towing capabilities, as you can deflate and fold your canoe flat before tossing it into the car.