Traveling Alone Cross Country

roadtrip

Do you drive across the country alone?  Are you uneasy when traveling alone?  These are a couple of questions from one of our nurses who is getting ready to travel from the east coast to an assignment on the west coast.

I frequently travel coast to coast alone (except for my 2 furbabies) and have since I was a young lady.  I have always enjoyed driving to faraway destinations but I admit it does take some organization. These days a woman traveling alone does need to be a little more cautious and alert to her surroundings. I suppose the same goes for men traveling alone but since I only know from a woman’s view that is what I will report.

Vehicle maintenance

I usually drive my own personal car when I hit the road. However, I have to say I am heading out west in a few weeks in a rental because my car has over 100k miles.  When preparing for the road make sure the vehicle is in good working order.  I recommend having it serviced before you take off.  Change the oil, check tire pressure, make sure fluids are all topped off especially if heading to the desert south-west. Make sure you have a good spare tire and that it is easy to access.

I have AAA for road hazards.  I have had to use it on more than one occasion. Check with your insurance company to see if you have the roadside assist as part of your policy.  I am sure I could change my own tire in a pinch but I would not want to.  I keep the auto manual in the glove box so if I need information about my car it is handy.

GPS

Plan out your trip and know the route you want to take.  I use Waze as a GPS when I travel since it gives me the most current and up to date road hazards.  The only problem with it is you can only plot out  1000 miles at a time.  I try to plot out only one day of travel at a time so I am sure to take breaks.  If you are sightseeing along the way you can program in those stops.

Gas and rest stops

Make sure to keep your car topped off with gas.  When traveling through some areas gas stops can be few and far between.  I use GasBuddy to find gas and cheap prices close to where I am.  If you stay on the main highways gas stops are generally frequent but no so on some of the back roads.

I make the best of my gas stops to get gas,  use the restroom and replenish snacks.  If traveling with my pets finding a place to stop where I can get them out and walk them is important.

Food, snack, and drinks

Load up on healthy snacks,  and water.  I carry a small cooler in my front passenger side floor so I am not spending money on junk all along the way.  Many of the truck stops along the way have a restaurant in them for meals.

Traveling long hours sometimes takes a toll on the digestive tract.  Try to eat at least one decent meal a day.

Room for the night

I make sure to reserve a room for the night where I plan to stop.  You don’t want to learn the hard way when you get to a location and can’t find a room.  Especially if you are traveling during peak vacation times rooms book up early.

I do not drive at night when traveling alone.  Try to stop early before dark, have dinner and settle in for the night.  Start early in the morning if you prefer a longer day.  I don’t mind leaving about an hour before daylight so I can get out of major cities to beat the traffic.

Hands-free

Many states are now hands-free with cell phones.  Some states are more rigid than others.  I lived in California for a while and they were very strict.  If you had your phone in your hand even if you were not on it they would stop you and ticket you.   It is best to be safe than sorry and use blue tooth or earbuds to be hands-free.

Put on the music

I have Sirius XM on my radio since there are many areas out there with little to no radio reception.  I have used books on tape at other times just to keep me company.  Some people have all of their favorite music on their phone or an iPod.  The choice is yours and if you are driving alone you get to choose what you want to listen. to.

 

Stay safe when you travel alone and be aware of your surroundings when you stop.  Some people travel with a weapon but again you need to know the laws as you drive across country.  Make sure someone always know where you are and can track you.  There are tracking apps for the phone so that people know where you are if they need to find you.

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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a retired RN and US Army Nurse Major. She has over 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and once to South Korea. Her medical training began during the Vietnam era when trained as an army medic. She went on to train as an OR tech and then as a LVN/LPN. She completed nursing school and was direct commissioned into the reserve Army Nurse Corp. nurse. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and working in other medical facilities. During her career she spent years as an OR nurse, Occupational Health Nurse, Hospice Nurse, Forensic Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as being a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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