Spring on the Road

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Weekend road trip tips

A long weekend provides the perfect opportunity to hop into the car and embark on a road trip. Sometimes it doesn't take an extended vacation to recharge your batteries. A brief change of scenery and venue can make for quite the respite as well.

Road trips also tend to be more affordable than longer getaways. If you have the benefit of a tow hitch and a camper, you already have your accommodations. But even if you still need lodging, there are several budget motels that can fit the bill for overnight lodging along your route. Here are some other road trip tips.

* Before embarking, take out a map and plan your excursion. Stick to locations that are within reasonable driving distance from home. If you roam too far, you will spend more time behind the wheel than you will enjoying your destination. Locations no more than five to six hours away should suffice.

* Get your vehicle in road trip shape by ensuring it is in good working condition. If your car is scheduled for an oil change, get one before leaving. In addition, top off fluids and be sure that tires are properly inflated.

* Stick to the scenic routes. While they may not save you travel time, avoiding interstates in favor of picturesque backroads will make for a much more relaxing and visually inspiring trip. Schedule rest stops so you can get out of the car and explore along the way to your destination. Taking backroads may also help you avoid some of your fellow weekend travelers.

* Make your long weekend a Saturday through Monday affair. You may find the roads are more congested Friday through Sunday. Simply starting your trip on Saturday and returning on Monday could save you the headache of driving in heavy traffic.

* Scope out low-cost activities at your destination. Many national parks are inexpensive and may only charge one fee per vehicle to enter. And once tourist season has come and gone, many beaches no longer charge entry fees, making them an affordable option.