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Some people enjoy the allure of spur of the moment road trips, born out of mystery, surprise and spontaneity. They can be fun, but you’ll save time, worries, headaches and possibly arguments if you plan the route before getting in the car.

Here are a few ways to create an amazing road trip and have time for exploration, fun and relaxation on the road. Don’t try to control everything and stick to an unbending schedule. You never know when and how often you might need to stop. Tools to use:

—TripAdvisor – A community-driven website filled with places to eat, see and stay and things to do.

—RoadTrippers – It helps you find the best spots to stop for sightseeing and to rest.

—Road Trip Planner – Easy-to-use website that minimizes a lot of research. Find food, games, apps, music, and safety.

—Weather Underground – Bad weather and road conditions can ruin a trip, so get prepared.

—Google – Offers a myriad of road trip maps.

Set a budget range – The most costly expense is fuel, so set up a budget and include the cost of gas. Download the GasBuddy app which give best spots to re-fuel. If you have a tight budget, avoid big cities. Check with AAA for various travel discounts. When splitting costs, use apps like Venmo and SplitWise.

Rent a car – Put the stress and mileage on a rental car, not yours. Also, you can get the added features that your car may not have like more room, XM radio, and GPS.

Pack healthy snacks and foods that are easy to reach and won’t make a mess. Avoid chips and candy. Bring along crackers and popcorn for lower-calorie options. Peanut butter and trail mix and nuts a delicious snack. Don’t forget the water and skip fruit juices and energy drinks.

Other things to pack: Chargers, sunglasses, audiobooks, podcasts, and music play lists. Don’t forget the phone adapter to plug into your car, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, an extra roll of toilet paper, trash bags, and pillows.

And in case of an emergency, be sure to have roadside assistance, spare tires, and an emergency medical kit.

(Tips from Zipcar)

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By Carol Marak

Aging Matters

Carol Marak, aging advocate, She’s earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.

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