Road trips are a long-standing rite of passage here in the U.S. I drove all the way across the country in a VW Bug many years ago. I see on the news that air travel is down, and I am among the many who do not wish to be crammed amongst strangers on jets even if my traveling companions are wearing masks. Road trips are the rage again this summer. Several of my friends have taken road trips and here are some tips they’ve given me.

One friend and her retired husband were sick and tired of being cooped up at home and wanted to get out of town. With many states lifting their coronavirus-related restrictions, a summer road trip is a good way to spread your wings.  However, make sure you know the local rules and regulations of where you’re going because they can vary from state to state, and county to county.  Unfortunately, the border to Canada remains closed.

I’d love to take a road trip in this Jeep, but where would we sleep?

I’d love to take a road trip in this Jeep, but where would we sleep?

Another friend told me it’s essential when planning a trip to do your homework ahead of time. Here are several tips she gave me to help you stay safe and reduce stress. Her first piece of advice — preplan your route.

Another tip: Never let your tank get below half full. Not that gas stations are closed but sometimes a tank isn’t working, or they don’t take credit or cash. Also, it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand. I always have a plastic bag or two in the car to use to hold the pump nozzle and wash my hands afterwards. I fully admit to being a bit of a germaphobe, and have been for years.

This little retro trailer is so cute!

This little retro trailer is so cute!

Travel apps like Roadtrippers and AroundMe can answer some of the most common questions any traveler has. These apps identify your position through GPS and allow you to choose from a list of places, including gas stations, hotels, and motels. But better make reservations ahead of time and confirm them when you’re ready to hit the road.

She stressed the importance of organization. In their case, they stayed in the same hotel every night for a week, which made life easier. Her only regret was not packing a picnic lunch the first day. Also, pack your favorite snacks, like fruit or pretzels in mini-sized bags and bottled water (bring a small cooler if you want to keep them cold).

One of the joys of road tripping is that you can bring your pup with you.

One of the joys of road tripping is that you can bring your pup with you.

So, where do you eat? Some states are allowing restaurants to resume dine-in services, though some only allow outside dining. I love eating outside during the warm summer months, so this isn’t exactly a hardship for me! Take-out and drive-through services are always good for quick and easy options.

Will rest stops be open? There’s a ghastly thought I don’t have an answer for.

Dee and Bill Kamp’s magnificent 38’ home on wheels.

Dee and Bill Kamp’s magnificent 38’ home on wheels.

On our daily walks I’ve noticed more and more RVs. My friend, children’s author Dee Kamp, and her husband actually live in theirs. I recall believing RVs would cease to exist because of the high gas prices, but that is no longer a consideration. She and her husband need not worry about finding a hotel. They are self-contained. And they thoroughly enjoy their mobile home sweet home.

Enter to win this insulated stuffed with goodies for your next road trip.

Enter to win this insulated tote bag stuffed with goodies for your next road trip.

Which brings me back to road trips. Don’t they sound the best? To help you get your foot out the door, I’m giving away a collapsible, insulated, leakproof, 30-can soft tote with bottle opener; an Ello Pure Glass Water Bottle with silicone sleeve and carry loop made of BPA free, lead free soda lime glass, plastic and FDA food-grade silicone; a 50″x60″ throw blanket; a colorful canvas waterproof laptop sleeve for 13.5” laptop with book sleeve; set of 4 Thin Bins Collapsible Silicone Food Storage Containers, which are BPA free, microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.

Plus a signed book. Your choice of An Amish Christmas KitchenStarting from ScratchA Letter from Lancaster County; or one of 3 books from The Legacy of Lancaster County Trilogy — Leaving Lancaster, its sequel, Pennsylvania Patchwork, or Forever Amish; or A Portrait of Marguerite. US and Canada only. Winner has 3 days to respond.