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  1. Default Road Trip From Chicago To Florida (clearwater Beach)

    This is my first road trip. I'm going from Chicago to Clearwater beach (tampa area) June 30th to July 9th. Please any suggestions to help me prepare for this would be a big help. I dont know what to expect. I dont know what to do to prepare my car or myself for this. Every map website says 19-22 hrs. Everyone I talk to is telling me this is the most idiotic idea I have had yet. Any suggestions would be so helpfull. ~ thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Idiotic? Then we're all idiots here!

    Seriously, anyone who thinks a "great American roadtrip" is idiotic has NO sense of adventure. They sound like pretty boring people to me....and you can tell them I said that, LOL. Heck, I know folks who have driven from California to Denver for lunch!!! That's crazy fun. Not idiotic. Ah, well....

    Welcome to the RTA forum! I hope you'll get the help and encouragement here.

    Are the dates June 30-July 9 for a round-trip or for the one-way trip from Chicago to Clearwater? If it's for just the one way, then you have plenty of time to make this a great trip with lots of fun and time to explore as that would only be an average of 120 miles per day (1200 miles total trip). That's barely 2 hours of driving per day. No sweat! It should take you roughly 21 hours to drive with limited, short stops. You might do it quicker but I wouldn't expect that.

    Even if this is a round trip, the miles aren't bad per day. I would probably break the trip up like this: I'd take 2 long days (at most 2.5 days) to get to Clearwater, play for 5 days, and then drive home in 3 days. That sounds like a perfect trip to me!

    I would suggest that you read some of the articles on this page. Scroll down to the Planning & Preparation section. Especially read "How to Plan a Great Roadtrip" and the 3 different "The Art of..." articles. I think they will give you a helpful start and give you some ideas. Then scroll down to the Seasonal Tips section and read the series "Drive Safe with Uncle Bob."

    Some basics you should do:
    1. Familiarize yourself with you intended route and make sure you pack adequate maps with you.
    2. Bring a cellphone and car charger. Since you're driving solo, check in with someone at least each day and let them know your plans. Once you know where you're staying for the night, it sure wouldn't be a bad idea to call someone and let them know where. I will usually have a set timeframe like "I'll call you in the morning between about 8-10am" type of thing with someone. That way if something should happen to you (very slim chance but things can happen anywhere), then someone knows where to start looking and where you last stayed, etc.
    3. If you can afford it, get a AAA membership for road service assistance. If you need help with a flat tire, a dead battery, keys locked in the car, or some more major vehicle problems, this is a great resource.
    4. Make sure you have a list of contact information in your car should someone need to contact your friends/family for you. In fact, something like that in your wallet is a good idea, too. (I actually always carry my cellphone and I have family listed first in the phonebook section by assigning them a number and relationship, then name. Example: 1 Husband Name; 2 Daughter Name; 3 Son Name; etc. This would make it easy for emergency personnel to find my contact info.)
    5. Get your car checked out by a mechanic. If you have any bad hoses, get them replaced now. Change any fluids, especially oil, before you leave. Get your tires checked and make sure they're at the proper fill. And learn how to check your tire pressure, oil level, etc. before you leave.
    6. Carry basic things in your car like flashlight, batteries, blanket, 1st Aid kit, etc. If you read through the part of the forum called Gear-Up, many of us have listed everything we carry. You won't need all of it but you should have at least some of it with you.
    7. Keep your personal safety radar on. Actually, this is probably no different than what you do in your own hometown. Self-awareness of surroundings and alertness is a good idea whenever you're out-and-about, whether 1 miles from your house or 1000 miles. Just use the same, good common-sense you would use at home and you should be fine.

    Well, there's probably more I could but this should get you off to a good start. A road trip, whether solo or with others, is a LOT of fun and something everyone should do. It's almost like a rite of passage. So, I guess I'll end with saying this.....pack your sense of adventure, your capacity for wonder, your thrill at new discoveries, your curiousity, and a "go-with-the-flow" attitude and you should have a fantastic time.

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