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Planning Ahead Makes Getting There Less Stressful

(ARA) - Summer and car travel are a natural combination, especially for vacationers wary of long lines and extended waits at airports. So it's no surprise that 74 percent of Americans are expected to take a road trip this summer. With an average driving time of seven hours, driving vacations can sometimes be more stressful than first imagined.

According to a recent national survey, 84 percent of Americans report feeling some level of stress during summer driving vacations. The Imodium National Stress Index* found the #1 stress factor for most Americans during their road trips is the inability to find a bathroom -- especially a clean bathroom. Bathroom issues significantly outranked such concerns as car problems, bad weather, poor directions, getting lost -- and even restless children -- as stress inducers.

Sometimes just the stress, excitement or change in diet associated with a trip can cause illness on the road. More than half of Americans have experienced a stress-related illness during summer car travel, such as headaches, stomach aches, nausea or diarrhea. Yet the survey found only one out of four Americans hit the road prepared, by bringing over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medications with them.

An ailment in the car can quickly take the fun out of any trip and affect everyone who's along for the ride. Travel expert Jamie Jensen, author of RoadTrip USA, suggests a variety of ways to minimize stress, making driving safer and easier, and the vacation more enjoyable.

"I recommend travelers plan ahead and pack a travel kit for their journey," says Jensen. "The kit acts as a type of insurance policy. You may never need the items in the kit, but it's sure nice to know you have them when you need them." Jensen recommends the following as must-haves for summer travel kits:

  • First, vacationers should bring maps and travel guides, like RoadTrip USA. These items help to keep you on track and make the journey fun and informative.
  • Key safety items include a flashlight with fresh batteries, a cell phone for emergency calls and car flares to notify police and other motorists in case of a breakdown.
  • Finally, keep first-aid items on hand, including Band-Aids and over-the-counter medicines you may need for unexpected situations, like Tylenol for pain, and Imodium to treat the symptoms of traveler's diarrhea.

Along with taking these precautionary measures, travelers can make road travel more enjoyable by playing soothing music to calm nerves, switching drivers regularly, and bringing enough healthy snacks and drinks in the car to prevent hunger and dehydration. Jensen also suggests that travelers take a break every few hours to stretch their legs and walk around. Frequent stops make the trip more fun. "Check maps and travel guides for interesting spots along your route like historical landmarks for planned rest stops," he notes "And be on the look out for signs like "scenic view" for quick, impromptu breaks.

The most important part of a vacation is to enjoy all of it -- the journey and the destination alike -- by planning ahead. For additional traveler's tips, or to share some of your own ideas, go to

Courtesy of ARA Content

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