Summer is around the corner, and, like you, everyone will be traveling. While millions of families are making the most of their children’s long vacation, you, on the other hand, are on a business trip.
Driving across city and state lines on a normal day when you’re trying to get to your corporate hotel is one thing; sharing the road with so many family road-trippers is another.
While the highways are full of people rushing to relax, arguing among siblings, and nodding off at the wheel, you want to be extra safe. Here are some tips to help you as you road trip for your job while everyone else seems to be on an extended vacation.
1. Plan the Scenic Route
Instead of plugging your destination into your GPS and choosing the fastest route, look for a lesser-traveled way to get there. You can be confident that the average road tripper is opting for the quickest way to their next stop.
However, that direction is likely to be full of vehicles, congestion, and delays. If there’s another option that takes you a little longer but gets you away from the crowd, you’ll probably still get to your hotel faster by skipping the traffic jams.
2. Travel the Less Popular Times
When you have a long drive in front of you, you’re likely going to be on the road during peak times. By adjusting your schedule, you can avoid these dreaded travel times as much as possible.
Rush hour in most areas is usually between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. This is when people are heading to and from work, school, and doctor appointments. It’s the time of day when public transport service is most heavily used. As a general rule, it’s also when accidents and traffic jams are at their highest.
Try to leave before 6 a.m. on weekdays and before 10 a.m. on weekends, and plan your route to be away from the busiest highways during rush hour times. If you don’t mind driving at night, you can ask if your hotel has late evening/early morning check-in and plan to travel when everyone else is asleep.
3. Avoid Tourist Hotels
Is your business trip taking you to a popular tourist destination? If so, talk to your travel manager about booking your lodging away from the typical tourist areas.
If you can find a place to stay far away from the favorite attractions, you’ll avoid heavy traffic. Request a room away from the elevator and on the upper floors to reduce the noise level while you’re sleeping.
4. Prepare for Delays
Delays happen regardless of how well you’ve mapped out your route and planned your driving schedule. You could have trouble, run into bad weather that reduces visibility, or an accident may have caused hours of congestion.
Anything goes when it comes to traffic delays, and there have been some strange things causing jams. In other words, there’s no way to plan for every eventuality, but you can plan to be delayed.
As you’re preparing for your trip, leave early enough that it won’t be a big deal if you’re thrown off schedule for an hour or two. In addition to the timing, here are a few other tips to help make a delay easier to handle:
- Pack some healthy snacks and beverages in a small cooler. Snacks, nuts, cheese, fruit, veggies, water, and juice are great energizers and easy to travel with.
- Have a podcast or audiobook selection ready to keep your attention while you’re sitting in traffic.
- Have your emergency roadside assistance information and auto insurance cards easily accessible.
- Don’t let your gas gauge get below half a tank.
- Before you leave, add any phone numbers to your contacts that you may need if you’re running late. Use the time while you’re sitting in traffic to call and give them a heads-up that you may be delayed.
With these simple precautions, a traffic jam is nothing more than a little extra time to enjoy a few extra podcast episodes or that book you’ve been dying to listen to.
Business trips are an all-year thing, but summer road trips for vacationers are something they look forward to excitedly for months. It can get a bit stressful when you’re on the road with these happy-go-lucky travelers.
Use these pieces of business road trip advice to handle the extra traffic on the road and in the buildings this summer.