Road Trip planning

Topics on travel. Heading out of the country or just out of state? Stop by here to share advice or post questions.

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Mountainsquid
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Road Trip planning

Post by Mountainsquid » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:19 am

Mods, feel free to move if this is the wrong forum for it.

Myself and the Golf Foxtrot are planning a trip to the Southwest in April, specifically flying into Vegas, spending a few days in the Death Valley area, turning around and driving out to the Grand Canyon(by way of a big loop through Northern Utah then to the South Rim), then spending the last few days in the Vegas area. We have the itinerary more or less well planned out, although that will evolve as we get closer. She is well traveled, but has never been to the interior of the country/out in the rural west so this will be a experience.

We are not planning on leaving the pavement for the trip, and we will buy a case or two of bottled water at Wally World when we arrive. I'm going to make sure we have a car with a full spare, and in anticipation of spotty cell reception I've ordered a CB radio. I do not have a Utah non-resident CCW/CHP, so the only place I could legally carry on this trip is AZ, so that's staying home.

Any recommendations on other precautions?

EDIT: Whoops, completely missed the travel forum. Sorry.
Last edited by the_alias on Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moved to Travel sub-forum

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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by grennels » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:18 am

Keep the gas tank topped up.
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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by Myana » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:03 pm

What Grennels said. The distance between gas stations in the Southwest can be mind-blowing, especially if you're from the much more heavily populated East Coast. When we travel in rural areas down there, we generally fill up any time we hit 2/3 of a tank and see a gas station. My husband and I love unplanned, free-roaming road trips so we often have no idea where the next gas station will be. We've never run into trouble as long as we conscientiously refill the tank. Frequently.

Respect precipitation -- even if it's off in the distance. Flash floods are a big thing, and dangerous. Since I'm not from the southwest, I couldn't tell you when the worst flooding occurs. On our last trip through rural Nevada we never had a drop of rain hit the car. There were thunder storms around us, however, and several of the roads we traveled had sections covered in mud, rocks and even shallow water. (This was in July.)

Staying on paved roads is a good idea. Some of the 'county roads' down there are little more than 4-wheel drive tracks. A couple of my Canadian friends once rented a sports car in Vegas and attempted to take an unpaved country road to the north side of the Grand Canyon. They came within inches of being stranded 40 miles from the nearest building.

But as long as you're sensible, it's a great place to visit. I hope you two have a good time!

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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by Neptune Glory » Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:12 pm

Just my advice, pack the firearm in a legal manner (seperate from ammo, legally declared to TSA, in the trunk of the rental car, whatever the law prescribes) and have it with you. Just in case. You might not be able to draw it in seconds, but at least it isn't home where you can't get to it at all.

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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by Maeklos » Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:20 pm

Neptune Glory wrote:Just my advice, pack the firearm in a legal manner (seperate from ammo, legally declared to TSA, in the trunk of the rental car, whatever the law prescribes) and have it with you. Just in case. You might not be able to draw it in seconds, but at least it isn't home where you can't get to it at all.

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This isn't a bad idea at all. Tossing a weapon in the trunk of the car means you'll have it on hand just in case of an emergency stop that leaves you stranded for a bit. About the only big critter you'll see in the southwest are coyotes, and you can chase those off easily enough. But having something on hand to see to an angry snake is good, and can net you a free meal in the process.
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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by ManInBlack316 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:33 pm

I'm not a fan of flying, but I assume recommending driving down instead is not an option? :awesome:

I'd check the rental car over very well, check the spare tire and jack, as well as the tire iron. Pack an MRE (or other quick meal that requires no cooking) in case you get stranded somewhere and have to wait for AA?

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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by tonydedo25 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:41 am

Double check fluids, flat tire kit, battery, tire pressure and look for warning lights, before you leave the rental car place.

Pack food and water. You don't need anything stupid-tactical like an MRE; snack food you actually like to eat from 7-11 is fine. This isn't so much in case you break down (seriously when was the last time someone broke down on the road in the lower 48 and starved to death?), but more so you don't get hungry and cranky and start to get on your GF's nerves.

Pack a first aid kit, and know how to use it.

Bring a paper maps and a compass. I love Google Maps, but you have to be careful not to rely on it, especially blindly following turn by turn directions. Make sure you always know where you are, where you're going, and how to get there (without relying on a device to tell you).

That said, your smartphone can offer a ton of awesome tools that can enhance your roadtrip experience. I love using Yelp when I road trip; you may be tempted to stop at McDonalds on the main road, but Yelp will tell you about that awesome Mom & Pop restaurant that's hidden a few blocks off the highway.

I always carry a cell phone charging kit when I travel, which consists of a wall jack, car jack, spare cord and external battery (NewTrent). It's one of the most used travel items I own. Mine is an older version, but I wish I had this heavy duty one:

http://www.amazon.com/New-Trent-PowerPa ... nt+battery

Bring emergency cash and credit card. A few hundred dollars in cash and a credit card can get you out of a bind 99.9% of the time.

Carry an "in case of emergency" card on you. If someone finds your body by the side of the road, it should tell them your name, who to call, your doctor's name and number, and if you have any allergies.

When you spend the night, or if you're in a particular area for an extended period of time, look up the direct number for the local PD dispatch and program it into your phone. When you call 911 from your cell, it usually routes you to the state police, who then need to determine where you are and route you to the local PD. It can be time consuming; a direct connection is much more effective.
Last edited by tonydedo25 on Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by zero11010 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:00 pm

You're getting a lot of great advice!


I'd suggest that if you're nervous you should outfit your rental approximately like your daily driver. You're comfortable with that set up for use daily.

Bring a get home bag (if you're nervous). Make sure it includes a way to signal other cars in case your current get home bag does not. Keep in mind the TSA travel rules.

Your get home bag likely has some food in it. As it's been mentioned, you absolutely do not need to bring an MRE. You can pick up reasonably stable calories at truck stops or where ever else.

It sounds like you're going to be doing the tourist thing. That means you won't ever really be terribly far from civilization. Yep, you may be on a lonely road, but another car will come along. This reduces the need for things like shelter and fire starting capabilities.


Realistically, you won't need more than sunglasses, sunscreen, water, snacks, and lots and lots of cash.

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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by ManInBlack316 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:33 pm

It seems I hit a sore spot with the MRE suggestion, my suggestion was for an MRE or other food that doesn't require cooking, I suggest MREs because I have bunch of them so it's what I can easily pack and it comes to mind for me. My suggestion is for the exact purpose of what tonydedo25 said.
End thread derailment, my apologies.

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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by JeeperCreeper » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:51 pm

Road Trip? Girlfriend?? Itinerary??? HAHAHA

Have fun stopping at every flea market and winery, maybe you should consider ear plugs to block out the constant nagging and awful playlist of Spice Girls, Frozen, and Chicago soundtracks..... Not that I know from experience.


Edit: Honestly, don't forget to have fun and be spontaneous. It's OK to pack light and not worry about too much. It's vacation, make it fun, live it up, don't live it through a checklist.
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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by Maeklos » Sun Mar 01, 2015 4:55 pm

One addendum here is about carrying cash. If you do, make sure you've got a safe place to stash it. Don't just keep it in your wallet, because if you get bumped by a pickpocket or flat-out mugged, you'll lose it all. My favorite place for emergency cash was always stuffed into the toe of my sock. Unless you're wearing tight-ass shoes, it shouldn't be a problem. You can also look at options like a concealed money belt, thigh belt, stuff like that, but I've known a few folks who've gotten the pat down by muggers, especially in places frequented by tourists.

Also, be wary of carrying cash in something that airport security is going to make you take off. Remember, airport security contracts are typically handled by the lower bidder, and staffed by the people who would take the job for the cheapest wages. If you are asked to take-off/take-out/remove whatever money carrier you have, be sure to count your money after you pass through the checkpoint.
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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by Mountainsquid » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:18 am

Myana wrote:What Grennels said. The distance between gas stations in the Southwest can be mind-blowing, especially if you're from the much more heavily populated East Coast.
Yup, I've driven between Sandy Eggo and the DFW area several times, I'm well aware of keeping the gas topped off.
Respect precipitation -- even if it's off in the distance. Flash floods are a big thing, and dangerous. Since I'm not from the southwest, I couldn't tell you when the worst flooding occurs. On our last trip through rural Nevada we never had a drop of rain hit the car. There were thunder storms around us, however, and several of the roads we traveled had sections covered in mud, rocks and even shallow water. (This was in July.)

Hadn't thought of that, thanks for the heads up.

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Re: Road Trip planning

Post by Mountainsquid » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:20 am

JeeperCreeper wrote:Road Trip? Girlfriend?? Itinerary??? HAHAHA

Have fun stopping at every flea market and winery, maybe you should consider ear plugs to block out the constant nagging and awful playlist of Spice Girls, Frozen, and Chicago soundtracks..... Not that I know from experience.
You have had a Terrible girlfriend :v:

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