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- Travel Tips & Preparation
Hello, this article is about traveling across the country. Last year I travelled to MIchigan and many other places and enjoyed it immensely. I put some 10,000 miles per month on my car on the road.
When staying anywhere it's best to look for out of the way places to stay if you plan on staying for a week or more. I stayed in one place for several months. Look for places that allow a monthly rent. There are motels that allow this but not too many. Some only do a weekly rental and those can be good choices too just look at the pricing.
I stayed at a place and paid about $600 a month. It wasn't an efficiency which didn't bother me because I eat out alot but if you prefer to cook and save money by having food at home then an efficiency is a much better choice. Its best to do your research before starting your travels, something I didn't do and had to wing it when I got there. How much you pay will depend on where you are in the country however.
I've travelled to many places but chose to focus on Michigan because that's the one place I stayed for a longer period of time.
After finding a place to stay which you should do beforehand, there are other things to consider while staying in one place for an extended period of time. Some of those are making sure you have a reliable automobile for your travels, preferably one with an extended warranty. You need to find a dealership you trust close to where you are staying just in case there is a problem, a place that will do your oil changes if you don't go to the dealership. I chose walmart where after purchasing a set of tires I got a tire warranty which enabled me to get tire rotations and tire balancing for no extra charge. Get not only the regular oil changes but also the recommended maintenance. This is very important if you plan on doing much travelling, you want your car to stay in the best possible condition. It's also important to have roadside assistance. If you don't have it through your warranty(as far as I know all warranty companies offer roadside) then you can get it through your insurance company if you have collision insurance. If you don't carry collision which I highly recommend so if you're in an accident you are able to have a rental while repairs are being done, then you can get roadside through companies like GM motor club or Ford motor club. I chose GM even though I'm a Ford owner. Always make sure you're registrations, tags and inspections(if your state requires it) is up to date. Some states can be very strict on a outdated tag, etc. and may even take your drivers license and impound your vehicle leaving you stranded on the side of the road. This is something MIchigan is not lenient about. Which brings me to the next point about obeying traffic laws. Again some places are more lenient than others so it's best to play it safe and just be obedient. I learned this the hard way while in Michigan and the fact that I like to speed wasn't fruitful for me. Fortunately, I didn't face an impound or anything so drastic but I could have.
The next thing is medical care. If you happen to take prescriptions meds it's best to consult with your doctor before your extended vacation to make sure he/she will write a prescription with several refills so you don't run out. If he/she won't then make sure you have enough for a few weeks then when you get to your destined place you will need to find a doctor so you can keep up to date with your meds. Of course don't forget to make sure you are in good physical condition before travelling.
Next, have at least one or two(preferably two) credit cards in case of an emergency. You will also need a credit card if you ever need to get a rental and make sure the name on the card matches exactly what's on your driver license or you could end up stuck without a rental trying to straighten out the name mismatch with your credit card company in a hotel that the cab driver deems fit for you to stay in paying a price you were unprepared for.
If you have pets it's best to kennel them but if you take them make sure beforehand the motel or rental apartment you choose allows them.
Now that the more mundane but necessary stuff is out of the way it's time to move on to more fun stuff like where to eat and entertainment. I find it best to choose chain restaurants so I have some idea of what I'm going to get but there are many nice out of the way restaurants to choose from. Just don't go at it like gangbusters trying too many new ones at once. Take it slow. There are many nice places to shop, eat, see movies but if you're like me and you're on an extended vacation you're probably more interested in fishing, sailing, golfing and exploring. My favorites are exploring and finding haunted places.
Most importantly, make sure you have set aside enough money for your trip so you don't get stuck without enough to get home.
If you want to save money on fuel while out on the road you can try one of those water conversion systems on your vehicle to improve gas mileage and essentially turn your car into a hybrid. But I don't particularly recommend it. I'm not sure which one would be your best option but I do know the water conversion system works. I have a friend that has used it and raves about the results. It's certainly worth a try to use on your vehicle and see if it improves fuel economy.
If you are looking for a cheap vehicle at a much lower cost than on a dealer lot then it would be worth your while to check out auctions. Only recently have I gotten into the auctions and there are definitely buys to be had. You must be discerning just as you would at a car lot. I've dealt with a number of car lots and most will do anything to sell a vehicle. One place to start is a government auction if you're looking for a cheap car or one originally owned by a police/sheriff dept. The government auctions can also be beneficial in the fact you can obtain not only cars but boats, real estate, jewelry and variety of seized items much lower than buying them outright.
Next I'll go into my travels to Michigan and other places. And good luck if you're looking for a cheap car, real estate, boat, etc. and saving on gas prices.