Many of us get bitten by the wanderlust bug, especially as temperatures soar and summer schedules open up. But with so many travelers on the road this summer season, and with gas prices extremely high, it’s easy to become affected by travel anxiety. With that, might we suggest a simple road trip that’s a bit off the beaten path? Indeed, by exchanging major highways for scenic byways, you may find that the road less traveled has everything you want to help you and your family vacation simply and stress-free.
As opposed to flying to a far-off destination, a regional trip may open everyone’s eyes to attractions they might normally miss, including state parks, small towns, and historical sites. The key to success for a stress-free regional trip? Make only basic plans, which will allow you enough flexibility to do as much, or as little, as you’d like during your week away. Here are some ideas on how to make this adventure truly memorable regardless of any travel anxiety you or your family may feel.
5 Tips to Beat Travel Anxiety during Road Trips
1. Consult with your family members. Ask everyone in your family what they would like to see or do while on vacation to eliminate surprises and start planning your route. Make a point to incorporate at least one idea from every member. For instance, if Tommy wants to go rafting on the Nantahala River, then including this stop on your trip through the Appalachian Mountains makes sense.
2. Go out and back in a week. Assuming you have one week of vacation to work with, begin planning your trip. Use Google Maps to find places of interest in the area you desire to travel. Go only as far out as you desire to travel. For example, if you want to minimize car travel, cluster your stops accordingly. This can mean if your trip starts in Charlotte or Atlanta, then spend one day in the Asheville area before heading to the heart of the Smokey Mountains the following day. Along the way, look for places of interest to stop and enjoy, including a scenic overlook, a putt-putt course or a farm open to the public.
3. Keep lodging in mind. Where will you stay while on the road? Hotels, campgrounds, cottages, bed & breakfast establishments, or a combination of places? If you plan to tent camp, have a backup plan on hand in case a washout necessitates an abrupt change in plans. As for hotels, look for those within your favorite chain (to accumulate points) or venture out and give that private lodger or yurt a try! Take advantage of discounts through your motor club membership. Restaurants, theme parks and even some retailers supply discounts at the flash of a card. AARP is another organization that comes with strong member benefits.
4. Bring sufficient provisions. When venturing on roads less traveled, you may find a scarcity of places to eat. Then again, what a great way to introduce your children to a simpler way of living by packing sandwich fixings, drinks, and snacks for the trip. Supplement what you bring with stops at farm stands for fresh produce. Visit a beekeeper for a hive tour, enjoying delicious samples at the end of the tour. And what is any vacation without a stop at a local creamery? Each of these stops represents places you would have missed when traveling on a busy interstate.
5. Practice relaxation techniques. These include, but are not limited to, deep breathing exercises, meditation, mental refocusing (going to your happy place), and playing calming music.