Our third New Year's Resolution post in the series touches on another very common pledge: to take a vacation. However, people don't always literally resolve to take a vacation (although Americans are notorious for forgoing our hard-earned vacations in favor of working overtime), but they may resolve to learn to take it easy this year, or simply take a break. Sometimes we resolve to get out there more, to enjoy life more, or to live for something other than your 9-5. Vacations provide a ton of mental and emotional benefits that in turn transform into new benefits, like a clearer head to take on a difficult task, a fresh perspective, or even just a new experience you'd never have had otherwise that ends up helping you down the road. But what about the benefits that involve your car? Too often a vacation - especially a road trip - is seen as a stressor for your car. While this certainly can be true, there are other benefits that can outweigh the stress placed on your car during a trip, and when combined with the benefits you get with a vacation there's just no reason not to go. Plus, our tips will help you take a meaningful vacation without breaking the two other popular resolutions we talked about: taking care of your car and saving money. Top reasons you should take your car on a vacation:
- You've accumulated two weeks worth of paid time off and aren't accruing anymore until you use what you already have. That is a clear sign the universe wants you to get out there. You'll take a nice break from work to clear your mind and get out of your rut and get paid! What could be better? You may not have the funds for an expensive flight or cruise to somewhere tropical, but you do have a car and you do have time. Take your car somewhere you've never been before, or somewhere you always said you wanted to return to but somehow have never had the time. Make it at least a 3 day trip - spend a day total driving and have 2 days to relax and explore. Going alone will still be plenty cheaper than a flight, and if you can split the costs it's a super affordable way to get out of town.
- The preparations required for a road trip vacation are a fun excuse to have all those pesky things checked out on your car. You might put off getting an oil change or replacing your tires when all you do is commute to work, but knowing you'll be putting your car to the test on a road trip (even a short one) means you'll have all those things looked at. The upside to this is that you'll know exactly what condition your car is in before you set off and you can feel comfortable on the drive. This is the perfect time to get that 60,000 mile tune-up you've been putting off for... 10,000 miles. Consider going now, before the weather turns San Diego warm again: the sun is still out but it's not hot enough to require air conditioning in the car, and you can roll the windows down and get that on-the-road feeling.
- You'll remember what cars were made for. Sure, we say we just want a car to get us from point A to point B and be economical and safe. But deep down, most of us want a car that's fun to drive, that looks good, and that makes us feel good about ourselves. No matter what kind of car you have you'll feel like you're driving a sporty roadster out on the open road. Even as you pass yet another blue Honda Civic that looks identical to the one you're driving, you're on a road trip. Make a game of waving to other drivers in your model - it'll make you feel more connected. If possible (which is usually the case in San Diego), pick a sunny, relatively warm day for driving day. Give your car a good wash before heading out and you and your car will feel like a million bucks.
- There are dozens of places to drive to in Southern California. Perhaps more than any other place in the country, Southern California and San Diego County in general have dozens of towns and sites within a day's driving distance. Not to mention, we're so close to non-Californian places that it doesn't make sense to not visit them. The Bay Area is a bit far but still under the day of driving maximum, and there's plenty to do once you park and get out. Las Vegas is a popular So Cal retreat, and if you're considering going anyway make it a road trip and drive there. Arizona has hiking and camping spots that also fit well within the day of driving and provide a nice change of scenery. If you're feeling especially adventurous, head south of the border to Rosarito for a beautiful beach-front vacation.
- You want to take a vacation. The number one reason anyone should go on vacation is because they want to. It seems so simple, but too few actually do so. Time and money are concerns for so many that a vacation seems like too much to take on, especially with a growing to-do list and a host of other responsibilities. If you can't take multiple days off in a row, plan mini vacations that require just an hour or two of driving just far enough that you'll feel not at home anymore. Spend one night away if you can and refresh your mind and body. The cost of a tank of gas can buy so many unique, wonderful experiences that it's a shame to not take them.
Let us know where you've been on vacation with your car or where you plan to go this year! Image courtesy of Utah.com