Prepare for Your Next Road Trip – A Cautionary Tale

road trip tips

At the Ferry Terminal

Last year, as we often do, my family planned a family road trip right after Christmas.  Although we ultimately had a wonderful time, I made countless mistakes as I didn’t properly prepare since we were so caught up in the holiday season.

Our original plans for a hosted trip didn’t materialize, as the resort was full.  The CVB was able to move us to a new location, and we planned to head out to Plattsburgh, New York to ski and visit Ausable Chasm.  Then, I made three big mistakes.

Mistake #1: Booking the kennel too late

We got our dog last year, and I didn’t realize that the kennel books up WAY in advance for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I was able to grab a few days, and then got on the waiting list for the remaining days.  I never got off the waiting list, which definitely changed our vacation plans as I had to rearrange the entire trip.

Mistake #2: Checking the weather only for our destination

Before we left, I checked the Boston weather and the Plattsburgh weather, and was pleased to see that both were clear of snow.  We’d be able to complete our entire drive without snow!  Yay!

Except when we got to Vermont, and I realized we didn’t check the weather there.  Snow was falling, and we were slipping and sliding on the highway along with everyone else, until we were escorted right off the highway and it was closed.  We sat in traffic on a side road for over an hour waiting for the highway to reopen.

Mistake #3: Not reading the directions fully

Admittedly, I am quite spoiled when it comes to directions.  I usually use Google maps to check the general amount of time a drive should take, and then load up my destination on my car’s GPS.  When I looked up Plattsburgh, NY on Google maps, it showed a drive just a bit under 5 hours.  When I plugged the address into my car’s GPS, it showed a drive of almost 6 hours.  I decided to follow Google maps, assuming that my GPS would eventually catch up with the route we were taking.  Until it didn’t.  The GPS has limited function while the car is in motion, so my husband had to pull over while we reconciled Google maps with the GPS – and I finally found it:

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 7.05.20 PM Oh no!  I’m used to taking the Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and Long Island ferries, all of which require advance reservations and run on a strict schedule.  So I spent the next few minutes Googling the Cumberland Head – Grand Isle ferry.  Luckily, it runs frequently and doesn’t require a reservation.  Of course, when we were going through the snow in Vermont, we were worried that the ferry wouldn’t run.  At that point, the only route would be to go North into Canada, which we couldn’t do because none of us were traveling with a passport.

This year, when we travel for a few days, I hope to be more prepared.  I’ve got the dog all signed up for the kennel.  I’ll check the weather all the weather through our drive, and I’ve reading the directions carefully.

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Comments

  1. Great tips for winter travel planning! Making advance ferry reservations was not on my list — thanks!

  2. The ferry always throws people off- they forgot we have it in VT! There is a way to go across Rt. 7 and cross now that the bridge is reopened but it’s longer.

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