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  1. Default Any advice for a first-timer is highly appreciated!

    I found this website when I was looking for tips for my upcoming roadtrip.

    I'm going to give a little background because I think it's pretty important. So I got my license in Mar of 2013, prior to that I had my learner's permit for about 10 years. Yeah, I'm a late bloomer but I live in NYC so it wasn't a big deal. With that being said, I'm transferring schools and I'll be moving to TN. My trip will be from NYC to Murfreesboro,TN in late August. I love roadtrips and I always get excited when on them, but this will be the first time that I'll be the one driving.....and I'll be doing this one by myself. And it's not like I have a ton of experience driving. Also nervous as a single female.


    So any tips would be greatly appreciated!


    Thanks in advanced,
    Anya

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Hi, Anya, welcome to RTA!

    OK, planning your first road trip: It's just under 900 miles between the cities, most of them on interstates, which is roughly 2 days for a first-timer. If you want to do any sightseeing, you'll need a bit more time, depending on what you want to see. Look at a map and see what interests you.

    As far as driving and being a single female, *use your instincts*. If something doesn't "feel" right in a given area, it probably isn't. When I am traveling alone, I don't stop in rest areas that are empty. Instead, I will use a truck stop or a fast food place. When you get to an overnight stop, you could ask to see the room before committing. Check to make sure that the locks are working. BTW, if you are traveling on or just before Labor Day Weekend, you should definitely reserve your room/s.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Another approach.

    As a first time roadtripper, and as you say, with little driving experience, I suggest that you drive only as far as you feel comfortable. Now, on the first day, that may just be a couple of hundred miles given that you have to get out of NYC. Sometimes I hear inexperienced folk talk of their fear of big trucks (nothing to fear about them). Remember that truck drivers are professionals with significant training. Maintain the speed with which you feel comfortable, and maintain your lane.

    As an alternative you could choose the old US highways where there is less heavy traffic, though there is still some.

    [It is a pity you don't have the system over in the US where you have L and P plates so other drivers can see which driver is experienced, and which is relatively new to driving.]

    When it comes to accommodation, as mentioned, other than round labor day, you should not need to book. Be sure to check out your hotel/motel room before committing. Besides checking for cleanliness, etc. make sure the smoke detector is working (a long handled umbrella comes in handy) and that the room has a lock which cannot be opened from the outside, such as a chain lock.

    For the rest, follow your instinct. If something does not feel right, move on. (I have been travelling as a single -albeit senior - female for a couple of decades and these rules have always seen me in good stead.)

    Have a safe trip.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    Thank you both so much!

  5. #5

    Default

    I traveled a lot for work in the past - really road warrior levels....some things to keep in mind as a female alone.

    1. Use hotels with inside rooms - while motels with exterior rooms/doors are less expensive, having rooms inside the building does offer a buffer and level of protection....someone wanting to try to get into your room needs to be inside the hotel, not just walking up from the parking lot.

    2. Don't use highway rest areas that are just bathrooms late at night - there is no security there and even if the parking lot is totally empty of cars, that doesn't mean there is no one inside. Fast food restaurants have cleaner bathrooms anyway - I try to find restaurants open 24-hours and/or rest areas with restaurants, gas, etc. so there is at least people around.

    3. A pepper spray or mace in a key ring size canister is helpful to have - I've carried it, not had to use it, but having it can buy you the 10 seconds you need to run if you ever do have an encounter where you need to get away. If you don't want to do that, put your keys on a lanyard - you can swing it if needed and getting hit by a bunch of keys flying through the air hurts like hell.....you're just looking to get yourself a few seconds to run and that will also work.

    4. The biggest thing is trust your gut - if it feels like something is off, it likely is - move on, don't look back, find somewhere else. I'm also from NYC (now in the midwest), so you already have likely been in those situations where things are just not right - trust that and move on. In all my travels, I've changed where I was staying a few times - it just didn't feel safe once I was settled in....was I spooked or something else? I don't know, but when my gut says go, I go.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Be safe to stay safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by RahRah View Post
    1. Use hotels with inside rooms - while motels with exterior rooms/doors are less expensive, having rooms inside the building does offer a buffer and level of protection....someone wanting to try to get into your room needs to be inside the hotel, not just walking up from the parking lot.
    My approach is the exact opposite. I like the security of having my car there, just outside my door with a lock which cannot be opened by an intruder, and I can see through the window who is there. I feel vulnerable walking down an apparently deserted hall, to my room. One never knows who is behind all those doors. Lifts worry me even more. Just because a person is already in the hotel, having got past reception, is no assurance that they are not capable of harm.

    However, in a lifetime of travelling I have never had anyone trying to enter my room


    Quote Originally Posted by RahRah View Post
    2. Don't use highway rest areas that are just bathrooms late at night - there is no security there and even if the parking lot is totally empty of cars, that doesn't mean there is no one inside. Fast food restaurants have cleaner bathrooms anyway - I try to find restaurants open 24-hours and/or rest areas with restaurants, gas, etc. so there is at least people around.
    For me, using the toilet in a restaurant makes me feel obliged to give them some business. Just like using their wifi. In my books it is only ethical if you are going to use their facilities. For that reason, as well as others, my preference is for truck stops which are 24 hrs, for all the reasons mentioned above. I buy my fuel while I am there. However, you should not be on the road late at night.

    Never have I come to a rest area where I was the only one. There are three States which offer security at rest areas. Some 24 hrs, others nighttime only. Recently I heard of a fourth, but I only have experience of two, MS and FL.

    Quote Originally Posted by RahRah View Post
    4. The biggest thing is trust your gut - if it feels like something is off, it likely is - move on, don't look back, find somewhere else.

    ... when my gut says go, I go.
    That of course is the key to all of the above. That instinct which tells you to move on. Never ever ignore it. It is more valuable than spray or any of the other points made in this thread.

    Lifey

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