in hair, radio blasting and the wide, open road — the 1950s automobile
obsession inspired Americans to get out and “hit the highway” in
their new wheels. Ever since, seeking out fun and famous roadside landmarks,
everything from quirky diners on Route 66 to larger-than-life monuments,
has been an all-American tradition.
More than half a century later, road trips are as popular as ever.
In fact, nine out of 10 summer trips are taken in personal vehicles
to a recent National Household Travel Survey. But with people so frequently
taking driving vacations, travelers may feel a need to modernize their
road trip to avoid the “been there, done that” syndrome.
The classic road trip can get a dashboard-to-taillights makeover.
You can rev up your next road trip with these 21st century tips:
Celebrate Good Tunes, Come On
Nothing gets everyone in the vacation
spirit quite like listening to much-loved tunes. Before your trip, create a
road trip CD full of fresh, upbeat songs or load your iPod with sounds that
upbeat like retro R&B, dance music from the ’70s and ’80s or
maybe even some sugar-pop from the ’60s.
It’s the journey, not the destination
Trying to drive too far in one
day can rob you of an enriching experience. Each year people already spend
in their cars commuting to work (approximately 100 hours) than they do on vacation
(approximately 80 hours), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So break for
breaks. Get out of the car, stretch your legs, take in some fresh air and truly
your trip rather than watch it pass you by in the rearview mirror.
Bye, bye, paper guides
Directionally challenged? Toss
those bulky, foldout paper maps and use modern-day tools such as www.hamptonlandmarks.com
to discover the
exact locations of unique destination ideas. This website unveils fun road-trip
ideas, called “DriveAbouts,” with themes including “Diamonds
in the Dust,” (all things baseball with stops at famous fields such as
those featured in the “Field of Dreams” and “A League of
Their Own” flicks); “The Weird and the Wonderful” (think
Bigfoot sightings and lavender fields); and “Star Sightings” (everything
from the “Happy Days” house to numerous locales Marilyn Monroe
once called home.) The site electronically maps the routes so you can toss
fold-up maps and guidebooks.
One, two, three, Cheese! Great photo
opportunities are plentiful
across the U.S.,
so if you haven’t yet posed next to a teepee room in the Wigwam Village
Motel in Cave City, Ky., or the towering Hobo Joe in Buckeye, Ariz,, you’ve
got some exploring to do. Capture your precious moments on a digital camera
and then download photos on a travel blog so friends and family back home
vicariously through you.
Make a note in your PDA to revolutionize
your next weekend getaway
and help the great American road trip continue its time-honored legacy into
hop in the car, roll down the windows, turn up the volume and get ready to
make vacation memories to last into the next decades.
For more information on DriveAbouts or Hampton Hotels, visit www.hamptonlandmarks.com.