Three road trip tips

Inside the Archway near Kearney NE. ( J Jacobs photo)
Inside the Archway near Kearney NE. ( J Jacobs photo)

Yes, the roads may be busy this summer, after all, we’re anxious to return to some sort of normal re visiting friends, families and vacation sights. But the skies aren’t very friendly, airports are jammed, flights are often canceled and you may still need a car if taking a train.

So, pack the car.


  1. Invest in investigation Don’t worry about being hip or a techy. GPS doesn’t always take you the best way, the most scenic way or the way you might want to go if you had a map on a seat or a lap. Look online or (gasp) at an atlas (stores still sell them) or at a Mapquest directions and map that you can print to consider different routes. Ex: GPS wanted a route we knew included traffic-slowing construction. So, check the Department of Transportation in the states you go through. In Illinois it is IDOT.


  1. Don’t miss fun and interesting sights on the route to or from your destination. Driving straight through is hard on the back and legs and if you really consider the road trip as a well-deserved vacation then adjust the plans to fit in an extra day or two.   If you think Iowa and Nebraska are merely unending rows of grain, think again. A few miles north of I 80 west of Iowa City are the Germanic Amana Colonies to stay, shop or eat. The Archway over I 80 in Nebraska is definitely worth a rest stop. It is peopled with outstanding glimpses into “westward ho”.


3. Gas and rest stops may surprise you. If you live in a high gas-priced area, getting out of state is good for the budget. We found gas prices were below the $5 and $6 range once we left Chicago and Illinois. We also found that states’ highway rest stops were kept clean and had brochures on what to see along the road. So, stop to stretch, learn about the area, toss garbage and uncap the water or soda you keep in a cold bag or container. (You did pack one, right

Author: Jodie

Longtime Chicago Tribune contributor for news and features. Travel writer for What's Happening, Lakeland Boating and A&E for CBS