15 Travel Tips For A Road Trip On Interstate 40

Road trips offer a great way to see the United States. Interstate 40 has become the go to travel route for cross country adventures, but even the most seasoned travelers may be unaware of these helpful tips.

Workers Look At A Map (Patsy Lynch/FEMA Photo Library/Wikimedia Commons)

Workers Look At A Map (Patsy Lynch/FEMA Photo Library/Wikimedia Commons)

1. Plan Ahead

Take time to create an itinerary at least one week before setting out on I-40. You will encounter a variety of events and attractions that may completely alter your initial plans, but it’s helpful to have a reference point at all times. Understand that not everyone in the group may be interested in a carefully planned journey.

Taking A Break (James Emery/Wikimedia Commons)

Taking A Break (James Emery/Wikimedia Commons)

2. Take A Break

Breaks are extremely important during the trip. Sitting for too long can create health problems and there are long stretches of road that become monotonous to even the most careful driver. Rest areas, welcome centers and turnouts can be found along the entire interstate. Restaurants or stores also offer a place to relax.

Blue Ride Parkway (KD Roberts/Wikimedia Commons)

Blue Ride Parkway (KD Roberts/Wikimedia Commons)

3. Look For Attractions

There are a wide range of attractions that can be seen along the way. They include the natural wonders of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the historical relevance of the Billy the Kid Museum. Most states list nearby attractions on brightly marked signs, but you can also stop at welcome centers for more information.

atlanta traffic

Courtesy of Matt Lemmon/Flickr.com

4. Keep Up With Traffic Reports

This is especially important while traveling through major cities such as Nashville, Oklahoma City and Albuquerque. Local radio stations offer updates and internet sites present up to the minute details. If you do hit traffic, be cautious of alternate routes that could take the vehicle miles away from the route.

5. Carry Snacks

Those hunger pains and cravings can occur at any time, so pack snacks that everyone will enjoy. Try to include protein bars or similar options that add a boost of energy until your next break. Consider bottled water to stay hydrated.

6. Keep Up With Time Zones

You will be traveling through all four time zones in the United States, and that can alter everything from sleep patterns to meal times. For that reason, be aware of time changes. Adjust your electronics and watches if they do not change automatically.

Business Route Sign (Ltljltlj/Wikimedia Commons)

Business Route Sign (Ltljltlj/Wikimedia Commons)

7. Be Aware Of Business Routes

Business routes are scattered along the way. They are usually older roads that were renamed after I-40 was built. Getting on to these roads will take you away from the interstate but they do include options such as restaurants and gas if you are unable to make it any farther.

15 Ways to Entertain the Kids During a Polar Vortex Snow Day

Courtesy of John Talbot/Flickr.com

8. Look Out For Changing Weather

A lot of weather options are possible as you continue traveling on the interstate and some can mean significant changes to your trip. For example, snow and ice during winter months are a problem for the central region of I-40. These states have been known to close portions of the road if conditions become too dangerous.

park hotel

Courtesy of Parkhotel.nl

9. Book Your Hotel Choices ASAP

It takes days to safely travel across Interstate 40. You know that accommodations are going to be a part of the journey, so book ahead to avoid no vacancy signs at your preferred locations.

10. Watch Out For Changing Speed Limits

Each state sets their own speed limits based on a variety of factors such as safety. These limits are clearly posted and can help you avoid getting a speeding ticket as you travel through unfamiliar areas.

TomTom Go 500 (Darren Meacher/Wikimedia Commons)

TomTom Go 500 (Darren Meacher/Wikimedia Commons)

11. Keep Your GPS Running

It may seem like a straight forward trip, but GPS can still be valuable. These devices can provide details about upcoming stopping points or possible detours you may encounter. Make sure that all software on your device is updated to prevent any errors.

Pets thumbs day

Courtesy of sabianmaggy/Flickr.com

12. Remember Your Pets

Pets are members of the family too, so keep their needs in mind during the trip. They will need more breaks for walks and bathroom facilities. Ask hotels if they are pet friendly before completing your booking. Choosing an RV for travel might be another choice if you have more than one pet.

13. Carry Emergency Items

Unfortunately, accidents do happen when traveling. It can be as simple as a cut to the finger or as serious as a major injury. For those minor incidents, carry a first aid kit that includes items such as bandages. For the car, carry supplies like jumper cables and a spare tire.

Kenworth Truck (Wesha/Wikimedia Commons)

Kenworth Truck (Wesha/Wikimedia Commons)

14. Be Aware Of Other Drivers

You should always be aware of what other drivers are doing. This is especially true on Interstate 40. The interstate is one of the most traveled roads in America and drivers can become overwhelmed by its size. Tractor trailers are another consideration. In most cases, they are just as interested in safety as you are — so avoid their blind spots.

I-40 In Kingman, Arizona (Ken Lund/ Wikimedia Commons)

I-40 In Kingman, Arizona (Ken Lund/ Wikimedia Commons)

15. Enjoy The View

The most important part of any trip is enjoying the journey as well as the destination. Traveling past so many landscapes and destinations makes the ever changing view even more exciting, so take time to appreciate it. If you have the time, stop and take photos at your favorite locations along the way. Remember to follow all laws and rules to avoid any hassles.


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