Traveling is absolutely one of my favorite things to do. Every time I go on a trip, no matter whether it is a short or a longer excursion, I seem to come away with some tidbit of information that will be helpful in the future.
One of the most important things I have learned is that doing your homework ahead of time by researching your intended destination is imperative. It not only saves a lot of stress and time, but it can end up saving you some money as well.
So what will you need to research exactly? You will want to know the route you will use for one thing. This is a lot easier when you will be using a major highway or interstate. The best guide I have found that has a lot of great information is a guide for Interstate 95. The highway runs from Maine all the way to and through Florida, so having a guide is a definite asset.
The I95 guide lists all the exits in every state it passes through. If you take a little time to familiarize yourself with the guide, you will be able to chart your progress up or down the I95 corridor. The thing that I have found important about that is that I always know when the next rest stop will be coming up and at which exit it will be found. For a trip of any length more than a couple of hours, seasoned travelers know how important it is to know when those breaks are coming up!
In addition to knowing where the rest stops are located, guides such as the one for I95 also tell you which gas stations and restaurants are found at which exits. I have used this information every time I have gone to Florida and it is totally invaluable. All I need to do is choose a new restaurant and do a little poking around online to find their menu and web page. I also look for recommendations from other travelers for those restaurants. I have found some excellent meals by doing this.
Traveling guides will also tell you which hotels and motels you will find at each exit on the interstate. When you are doing your research, it is especially helpful if you have an idea about which part of the interstate you will be when it is nearly time to call it a night. Check to see which exits have your favorite chain of hotel. If you will be trying out a new hotel or motel, look for online reviews from other travelers. I have saved myself pretty much probable heartache and more than one horrid hotel night by taking the time to do this.
Another thing to “map out” is where the visitor centers are found in the towns or cities to which you are traveling. When I have gone into centers such as that, I am always glad I did. Not only are there often free newspapers, but very often local restaurants put discount coupons at the visitor centers. Sometimes hotels will place discount coupons at visitor centers, too, but most likely you will have already planned for your lodging by that time.
One of the best travel tips that anyone can and should follow is a contradiction of terms. You will be on vacation and you will be a tourist but it is important to not *look* like a tourist when you are out and about in strange locations. This could come in many forms, but pulling out wads of money or obvious travelers checks when other people in the area can see is a clear-cut no no.
Along the same line of thinking, unless you are at a place where you will be taking pictures, do not walk around with a camera around your neck. That reminds me of another great travel tip. When you leave the car to go into a restaurant for a meal, be sure to have things such as cameras, laptops, cd players and so on well covered and out of sight. It might be hard to accept that someone would break into a car in broad daylight especially, but that’s what thousands of tourists who are robbed in that very way may have thought before it happened to them.