Travel I 75

From Canada, it's a 960 miles (1, 500 km) drive down Interstate-75 to Florida. Our book Along Interstate-75, is specially designed to remove as much stress as possible from your shoulders. Over the years, Kathy and I have driven hundreds of thousands of "long distance" miles in North America, and picked up many useful travel tips along the way. In fact, Along I-75 is the culmination of almost 40 years of driving experience, to and from the Sunshine State.
Many tips result from our own experiences (we've probably made every mistake possible; the key is not to make them twice); others have been the result of chatting with "locals" who share their neighborhood secrets.
In January and February, 2005, Kathy and I made an epic car journey when we traveled around Florida gathering information for our new book, Along Florida's Expressways. We drove a total of 4, 916 miles - each Florida interstate and toll route had to be driven in both directions - and stayed at a different lodging every night. We packed and unpacked the car 43 times during this trip, not counting the additional 2, 259 miles to drive south on I-75 to Florida and back north again! We had learned so much over the year that it was quite enjoyable. We would like to share some of these tips with you . . .

Stay in Control of your Journey

Psychologists studied a phenomenon known as travel stress, and found that in many cases it all comes down to one thing - how much or how little control you have over your journey. Here are some of their interesting observations . . .

  • The most enjoyable time in any vacation is the few weeks before you go! You are excited, full of anticipation - all this a result of planning the trip. Yes, there may be some last minute worries but basically, you are on "home ground" and in control.
  • During your drive, you have lots of control but some travelers negate this by putting high expectations on themselves. Planning to drive too many miles each day, driving to a tight time schedule - all these can heap on stress where there is no need. Loosen up ... after all, Florida is still going to be there even if you are an extra day on the road.
  • Being occupied with something interesting makes time seem to pass quickly, and ... entertainment is the best way of being pleasantly occupied. Many of our readers tell us how helpful our mile-by-mile travelogue is in this regard; the passenger often reads to the driver and both can enjoy interesting stories about the passing countryside.
  • Amicable contact with fellow humans greatly reduces travel stress. And if you know their first names, it's an instant "ice-breaker." This is why we include the names of those welcome center folk in our books. Use them.
Before you leave
  • Several weeks before you leave, make a list of all the things to do: cancel papers, unplug all unnecessary electrical items, etc. Arrange for someone to check your house (did you know this is often an insurance policy requirement?), clear away any newspapers and perhaps use your driveway.
  • Plan your drive: How many miles per day? For many, a reasonable daily drive is 450 miles (725km). Remember, our colored maps are 25 miles per page so 450 miles is 18 pages. Psychologically, it's much less stressful to drive "by the page" rather than "by the mile."
  • Make sure your car is operating reliably:...
  • Luggage Cart 101: I'm always amazed at the way people use motel luggage carts. Remember physics at school? Pulling is always more efficient than pushing. Always have the two "swivel" wheels in the front and fixed wheels in the back. Exceptions, when entering an elevator or your room, always push the cart with the fixed wheels leading.
  • Check the bedside alarm clock setting when you arrive in your room. The previous guest may have had an early departure and often, the alarm is still set. Stray light coming through the window? We always carry a few wooden clothes pins to fix such problems.
  • Security Tips: When you arrive, close your drapes if outside passers by can see into your room. Turn on the TV to CNN; keep the sound low so that anyone standing outside the door cannot hear the actual words but knows that somebody is talking. Leave it (and your lights) on when not in the room. Never hang "clean room" signs on your door knob. They advertise that the room is probably empty. Always make cleaning arrangements with "housekeeping, " by phone.

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