Memorial Day driving advice you can actually use — no, seriously

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Pack smart. After crisscrossing the country over the past few years and covering it on our family travel blog we’ve learned some very important things. We pack too much into the car and we need more snacks. Our new mantra is: twice the snacks, half the clothes. Snacks keep the kids and adults happy and reduce the stressful edge of food anxiety. And believe me when I say, you can find a shopping center or laundry in every town, even Beverly Hills!

Save at the pump

Pump right. The average price of a gallon of unleaded fuel is $3.67, which is down slightly from this time last year. If your drive is “average” fill up at your favorite gas station and then use the Gas Buddy app on your iphone to find cheap fuel along the way to your destination.

Stop along the way. If you follow our advice on driver swapping, frequent stops come naturally. But with a little planning, or luck, you’ll find some interesting places to pull over and explore. These quick visits help break up the monotony of the road and give the whole family a chance to stretch their legs, get some cold water or snack before moving on.

Roadside Snack Stop

We have so many great stop-memories, we could write a whole story about it. Some of our favorite stops were Arizona’s Grand Canyon and the Meteor Crater both near Interstate 40, watching sea elephants at Año Nuevo State Park off California’s Highway 1, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest.

We really regretted not stopping at the Petrified Forest National Park on our way to New Mexico from Arizona. Or the Canadian Badlands on a recent visit to Alberta.

Something for the next drive, maybe?

Follow these tips and you’ll find the journey may be as exciting as the destinations. But most important, stay alert and be careful out there. Not everyone will see this story.