The 8 Best Spring Road Trip Destinations

The weather’s warming up, the kids have a break from school, and the open road is calling loud and clear. All those pleasant post-winter happenings can only mean one thing: Spring has officially sprung.
The-8-Best-Spring-Road-Trip-Destinations
Road trips are one great way to soak up some sunshine and scenery, whether you’re bonding with your family or exploring on your own. But if you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of picking a perfect destination, take a deep breath: With so many amazing sights from California to Maine and everywhere in between, you really can’t go wrong on the road.

Here are some of the very best road trip destinations to consider this spring:

1. California’s Pacific Coast Highway


California’s-Pacific-Coast-Highway
Highway 1 is by far the most scenic way to maneuver between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but the 550-mile PCH has much more to offer beyond that commute. Drive from north to south to stay on the ocean-side of the road for the whole journey and you might just catch the sunset somewhere between Big Sur and Santa Monica.

2. Hawaii’s Hana Highway


Hana
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in this island paradise, up the ante with a super scenic 52-mile drive along the Road to Hana. You’ll see tropical flowers, bamboo fields, rainforests, and waterfalls from start to finish, but be prepared: there are over 600 hairpin turns and over 50 one-lane bridges to navigate for those stellar views.

3. Oregon’s Historic Columbia River Highway


Oregon’s-Historic-Columbia-River-Highway
The 70-mile journey from Portland’s Columbia River to the 11,000-foot volcanic Mount Hood (the state’s highest peak) is a Pacific Northwest must. Wildflowers dot the landscape, and you’ll get to see Multnomah Falls, one of America’s tallest yearlong waterfalls.

4. New England Coast


New-England-Coast
Boston is a great destination in and of itself, but if you follow the southern coast from Gloucester, Massachusetts to New Haven, Connecticut, you’ll find 250 miles of marine wildlife to look at and world-famous seafood to sample.

5. Michigan’s Gold Coast


Michigans-Gold-Coast
A beach getaway may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this northern state, but Americans have been flocking to Lake Michigan’s shores since the late 1800s. There are plenty of charming B&Bs and wineries to visit along the 300-mile western shoreline, and you can even take a surf break in New Buffalo!

6. Texas Hill Country


Texas-Hill-Country
Bask in gardens of bluebonnets as you drive the 87 miles that starts just north of Austin and continues through San Antonio and beyond. If you take U.S. 290 west to Johnson City’s Wildflower Loop and then move along U.S. 281 N, you’ll have a chance to see the state’s official bluebonnet capital, Burnet.

7. South Carolina’s Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway


south-carolina
If you plan your trip just right, you might just catch the peach trees in full bloom along SC’s Highway 11, dubbed “Great Blue Hills of God” by the Cherokees. Starting in early June, you’ll be able to pick up loads of local fruit from roadside stands, and the 120-mile route features numerous waterfalls and covered bridges to dazzle the eye.

8. Maine’s Acadia All American Road


Maine’s-Acadia-All-American-Road
Add birdwatching to your agenda if you’re planning to drive the coastal 40-mile road just outside of Acadia National Park: Bald eagles and nesting peregrine are known to frequent the area. The drive starts in Trenton and follows the 27-mile Park Loop Road before heading down to Sand Beach, Otter Cliff, and and Jordan Pond. You’ll get your fill of homemade treats at all the small town haunts along the way (and have the opportunity to work up a sweat hiking Acadia’s 1,532-foot Cadillac Mountain, which overlooks the Atlantic).

Need a car insurance plan that fits your road trip needs? If you’re a Metromile customer, your daily mileage charges are capped at 250 miles per day for each vehicle (150 miles per day in New Jersey). You’ll never be charged for the miles above those amounts in any calendar day.

Make the switch: Visit metromile.com/insurance to learn more and get a quick quote.


Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

6 Tips For Road Tripping With Your Pets

Ah, vacation. Is there anything better than planning a fun getaway? The excitement of going somewhere new (or somewhere you’ve been 100 times!), the relaxation, the carefree mindset. The only downside, it seems, is leaving behind your furry friends. It’s hard to fully enjoy a vacation when you know your pet would love it as much as you do.

6-Tips-For-Roadtrippin-With-Your-Pets

The answer to this dilemma – take a road trip! Road trips offer the best of both worlds: vacation and time spent with your pets. Taking a road trip with your pet can be such a fun adventure for both of you, and with a bit of planning, may end up turning into your favorite vacation to date. Here are our 6 tips for having a safe and fun road trip with your pet.

6 Tips For Road Tripping With Your Pets

    1. Make a plan. Taking a roadtrip with your pet involves a bit more planning than just loading them into the car and puttering away. Keep in mind that your pet may have forgotten what it’s like to ride in a car, or may only have negative experiences riding in cars (going to the vet is anxiety-inducing for everyone involved). Plan to take your pet out on several shorter car rides, gradually lengthening the time spent in the car, prior to your road trip. This will ease your pet into the idea of riding in a car for longer periods of time.

    2. Pack their paperwork. If you’re planning to travel across state lines, be sure to pack your pet’s rabies vaccination records. While this generally isn’t an issue, some states will require this at certain interstate crossings or checkpoints (check out the list of states that require it here). Better to be safe than sorry and have to turn back!

    3. Plan your route. It’s important to ensure regular breaks throughout the road trip so your pet stays comfortable and happy. Plan to take a 15 to 30 minute break every 4 hours to allow your pet to stretch and relieve themselves. Also, check out this helpful planner tool for traveling with pets – just input your destination and it will provide pet-friendly options for hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, and more along the way. Having a planned route at a leisurely pace will be more enjoyable for everyone – including you!

    4. Prepare a bag. Separate out your pet’s items from your own and have the bag handy. Items to pack include: food (at least a 3 day supply), bottled water, a bowl, leash, collar with ID tags, an old towel, waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first aid, and any travel documents. Stick to providing your pet bottled water, as drinking water from an area that your pet isn’t used to could result in stomach discomfort or digestive issues. Also, be sure to bring your pet’s pillows, bedding, and toys to provide a sense of familiarity while traveling to an unknown place.

    5. Tether while driving. Don’t allow your pet free reign of the car while you’re driving. Not only are unrestrained animals a distraction, they could potentially harm you or themselves while you’re operating the vehicle. A 60 lb. dog becomes a 2,700 lb. projectile in a sudden stop or accident at 35 miles per hour. Small animals like cats, rabbits, or rodents can climb under the pedals and prevent you from operating the vehicle. Harness or buckle your pets in, or place them in a secured crate – it’s safer for everyone!

    6. Arrange for care at your destination. If your final destination is at a place or event that will not have facilities for animals, such as a wedding or graduation, arrange for care at your destination. The unfamiliar environment will cause your pet more anxiety than at home, so be sure that your pet is being cared for by professionals. Also, this is a no-brainer, but do not leave your pets unattended in the car – even for a short amount of time. On a hot day, even with the windows open, your car will trap heat and become a furnace. On a cold day, a car can act as a refrigerator holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

Now that you have the tools, it’s time to plan your next road trip with your pet! Metromile offers Pet Coverage to cover the cost of any pet injuries in case of an accident when you are on the road. Pet Coverage is included with collision coverage on all policies (not available in IL or VA) at no additional charge. Metromile’s Pet Coverage provides up to $1,000 in the event your dog or cat is injured as a result of a covered claim. Click here to get a quote with Metromile today!

Are you a road trippin’ vet? Do you take your pets with you every time? Sound off with your best tips for road trippin’ with your furry friends in the comments below!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram.

6 Ways to Have a Great Road Trip Experience

The following post is from guest writer Gallard Joaquin, a freelance content writer with a background in travel and lifestyle. By traveling the world and writing about his experiences, he enjoys helping others find the most efficient means of travel, wherever their destination.

At almost 3.8 million square miles, the continental United States is a great place to have an epic road trip. With the varied landscapes from the snow-tipped mountains of Colorado to the lush prairies of the Midwest, there are plenty of environments to explore and a variety of things to see. But what’s the best way to have a road trip experience with your family or group of friends? Keep reading to learn about the six best road trip tips.

road_trip_tips

1. Aim for Comfort

Despite sitting for a long period of time, road tripping can be exhausting work. It’s important not to wear yourself or your companions out. There are many ways you can accomplish this including never driving for more than eight hours a day, spending the extra dollar for a nicer hotel, taking periodic breaks along the way, and even considering a roomier passenger van rental. You don’t want to look at the road every morning with dread, thinking about your aching back.

2. Take Your Time

Part of the thrill of a good road trip is the journey, not where you ultimately end up. We all have schedules, but vacation isn’t about adhering to them. Several attractions and sights are easily missed if you only focus on the end result of your trip and sometimes these distractions from the road can become the most memorable part of the trip.

3. Have a General Plan

Despite the importance of relaxation, comfort, and exploration, it’s always good to have a plan for your road trip. Where are you going? What do you know you want to do when you get there? What route do you want to take? How much money are you able to spend? These are logistical questions that should always be considered when planning a road trip. A spiral-bound planner can hold all these details for you.

4. Consider Buying a Map

Speaking of planning, a road map can be your best friend on a road trip. We live in an era of amazing technology, like GPS and wi-fi, but these are luxuries you won’t always have as you’re crossing the great expanses of the United States. You don’t want to find yourself lost with no reception and therefore little recourse but to ask for directions.

5. Make Time (and Space) for Eating

You may have heard the term “hangry” before. That’s because it can definitely become a real problem and cause a lot of friction and conflict between your friends and family. You should have little trouble finding places to eat if you plan accordingly, but sometimes that might not be enough. Consider bringing “emergency food” or purchasing some along the way. A cooler filled with fruit, sandwiches and other fresh food can be a solution to this problem before it even comes up.

6. Remember to Plan Your Packing Ahead of Time

What and how you pack for your road trip can depend on a lot of things including where you’re staying, the type of car you’re driving, the length of your trip, and the number of people who are traveling with you. If you don’t plan ahead, you may find yourself with piles of luggage you didn’t realize you were going to have. Make sure you and your family or friends consider these questions before packing your luggage to ensure everything fits and no one has to repack.

Before hitting the open road, plan for a great experience with these great road trip tips. Try them out on your next cross country trip and decide which ones work best for you! Editor’s note: don’t forget that Metromile customers can road trip with ease — we don’t charge for miles driven over 250/day (150 in certain states).

Labor Day Travel Tips

Last year more than 35 million people traveled for Labor Day, trying to squeeze in one final road trip before the end of summer. If you’re planning on hitting the road this weekend, don’t let traffic or frustration get the best of you. Instead, follow these tips and you’ll be at your destination, enjoying a summer BBQ in no time.

Labor_day_travel_tips

  1. Leave early- If you’re leaving on Friday, try to hit the road before 4 p.m. If you end up caught up or can’t get out of work, delay leaving until 10 p.m. to avoid the rush. Leaving on Thursday or coming back on Sunday or even Tuesday could be better options for skipping traffic if you can afford the extra days.
  2. Know where you’re going- Plan your route and consider alternate routes. Waze is a great way to identify the best routes and understand the worst times to drive. Plus, you’ll get real-time traffic, accident and road maintenance updates.
  3. Get some rest- Driving when you’re tired can be very dangerous and sometimes a roadside stop can be a welcome break from traffic. Use Airbnb or Hotel Tonight to find accommodations along your route. If you’re not looking for an overnight stay, find unique roadside stops with Roadtrippers app.
  4. Keep your eyes on the road- Put your phone in the backseat where you can’t reach it. If you think you’ll still be tempted to reach around, turn off your sound and notifications so you won’t feel the digital pull. Ask passengers to respond to any texts you’re worried about missing anything. Even better, turn your phone off!
  5. Consider a staycation- Staying at home on holiday weekends means you can sleep in, get reservations at restaurants that are usually busy and explore local places you might not have discovered before. Plus, you’ll save some time and money!

If you need road trip inspiration or tips for a successful road trip, Metromile has you covered. If you find yourself mostly using your car for road trips, you could benefit from Metromile pay-per-mile insurance. We even offer a road trip bonus! You won’t be charged for the miles you drive above 250/day (150/day in certain states). Get a free quote here and safe travels!

Road trip Inspiration: Beautiful Roads

When it comes to a summer road trip, it’s not just about the destination – it’s how you get there. From the original purple mountain majesties to towering skyscrapers, there are many roads worth traveling. Some of our favorites are listed here.

summer road trip

Avenue of the Giants: This 31 mile stretch of California 101 will take you right through the biggest trees in the world: the giant redwoods! Pro tip: Check out Hipcamp for a cool spot to stay overnight in the redwoods.

Bluebonnet trail: Nestled between Austin and Houston is the Bluebonnet trail, covered in wildflowers. Pro tip: Visit between March and May, when the bluebonnets are in full bloom.

The Road to Hana: The road to Hana is a 52 mile drive on the island of Maui from Kahului to Hana down winding roads and passing roadside fruit stands through tall trees and cliffside views. Pro tip: Once you reach Hana, grab lunch at Bruddah Hut BBQ. You won’t regret it.

Lake Shore Drive: With breath-taking views of Lake Michigan and towering skyscrapers, this is a must-drive if you’re taking a trip to Chicago. You’ll drive right past Soldier Field, Navy Pier, Lincoln Park Zoo and more. Pro tip: Stop for a famous Chicago hot dog (all the condiments, please!) or a deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s.

Blue Ridge Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive with the Great Smoky Mountains. With beautiful sunsets and mountain backgrounds, your jaw will hit the floor. Pro tip: Check out the Humpback rocks at the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

If you find yourself mostly using your car for weekend trips, you could really benefit from Metromile pay-per-mile insurance. Metromile offers a road trip bonus, so you won’t be charged for any miles you drive above 250/day (150/day in certain states). Get a free quote here. Safe travels!

Must download apps for a last minute road trip

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, but if you don’t have plans yet, it’s not too late to plan a getaway. Thanks to technology, hopping in the car for a last minute road trip is no big deal. We’ve gathered a list of the apps you must download before you drive off.

Use Airbnb to find accommodations along your route. You can book directly from your phone and find something in your budget. Whether you are looking to couch surf or rent a beach house, all the options are available for you.

Make your car a smart car with Metromile. With the Metromile app, you can decode check engine lights on the road. If something comes up, you’ll know if you need to hurry in or if you just left your gas cap off.

Find unique roadside stops with Roadtrippers app. You can set a distance off the road you are willing to explore, and the app does the rest. You can also use this to map to your destination or try Waze to keep you alert of traffic, accidents and other roadblocks.

Ear candy: Download the Podcasts app to tune into your favorite podcast on the road. We’ve suggested some of our favorite podcasts here.

Cut costs by finding the cheapest gas through Gas Buddy, which locates gas stations near you and syncs their current gas prices.

If you don’t drive very often during the week, but love to road trip on the weekends, you could save a ton of money on pay-per-mile insurance with Metromile. You won’t be charged for miles you drive over 250/day (150 in certain states), so if you go on a long trip, you’ll actually save big. Get a free quote here.

How to Make Your Spring Break Road Trip the Best One Yet

Are you and your friends hitting the road for Spring Break? Whether you’re heading to a big beach party in Miami or a low-key wine trip in Napa, Metromile has your best interests in mind when it comes to their road trip policy. With our per-mile insurance, any miles you drive above 250/day (150/day in certain states) are on us.

Check out our road trip tips below for a spectacular spring break.

road trip tips

Double check: Make sure your car is up-to-date with oil changes and maintenance needs, and check your tire pressure. If you are concerned, swing by a local mechanic who can give your car the okay for a long road trip. Before departing, confirm that you and the other drivers have their license, and the car has proof of registration and insurance.

Alert, alert: Take turns behind the wheel to keep the driver awake and alert. Assign the passenger sitting shotgun to stay awake and chat with the driver. Create a playlist with all of your favorite jams and sing along!

Map your trip: Queue up your trip in Google Maps or Waze, but be sure to familiarize yourself with the route ahead of time.

On a budget? Use a fuel cost estimator to get an idea of what you’ll be spending on gas, and save on snacks by stocking up at your local grocery store, instead of buying overpriced food at a roadside stations.

Bring a road trip survival kit: Package a car charger, water bottles, first aid kit, extra set of car keys, and basic car tools such as jumper cables, flares, and a flashlight. Leave the survival kit in your car after the trip to have in the case of an emergency.

Don’t forget the essentials: sunglasses, suntan lotion, and a phone charger so you can Snapchat every moment of your trip. For more ideas, check out our spring break checklist.

If you find yourself mostly using your car for road trips, you could benefit from Metromile pay-per-mile insurance. Get a free quote here. Enjoy your trip!

How to Beat Thanksgiving Traffic

There were 46.3 million people in the US traveling during Thanksgiving last year, with 89% of those people traveling by car. That’s a lot of people on the road, but there are certain days and times that are less congested than others. Since we want to equip the Metromile community to be the smartest drivers possible, we’ve crunched some numbers to give you an idea of the best and worst times to drive, based on 2014 trips by Metromile drivers.

beat_thanksgiving_traffic

We looked at Metromile trips during the weeks before and during Thanksgiving in California, Washington, Seattle and Illinois (we weren’t in Pennsylvania and Virginia at the time). While trip mileage varied by each state, the most miles were driven on Thanksgiving day across all states. The average miles driven that day was 27 in California, 23 in Illinois and 22 in both Washington and Oregon. For context, the average Metromiler typically drives 13 miles a day.

It seems that folks definitely make a weekend out of Turkey Day. In California, Oregon and Washington, the Sunday after Thanksgiving was the day with the second largest amount of miles driven. Illinois drivers logged their second heaviest mileage day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, perhaps getting a head start on the journey or covering a longer distance.

The whole week surrounding Thanksgiving was filled with high mileage days, but we did find that Monday and Tuesday had the smallest mileage spike in all states. The average miles driven in California on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving was 16 and 17 miles respectively, which is about 60% less than on Thanksgiving day. So if Monday and Tuesday are the best days to drive, what about the best times? Check out the handy infographic below to drill down into the details (it’s interactive, so you can even view by city). As indicated by the darker colors, mid afternoon to early evening tends to be the most congested.

In short, according to trips taken by Metromilers last year, it is best to drive on Monday or Tuesday, and earlier in the day (before noon). If you do have some big holiday road trips in the future, you are in luck if you are a Metromile pay-per-mile car insurance customer. We have a daily mileage cap so you won’t be charged for over a 250 miles a day (150 in certain states), but still will be totally covered all the way to grandma’s house!

Car Storage: What to Do When You Don’t Drive Much

Does your car ever sit unused for an extended period of time? Whether it’s because of a long vacation (lucky you!) or a newly found appreciation for public transportation, we’re big fans of using your car less. However, you don’t want a dead battery or engine problem the next time you decide to take your car for a spin. Follow these precautions to ensure your car is in running condition the next time you need to use it.

car storage

First things first: where should you keep your idle car stored? The ideal place is in a garage because it prevents theft and also protects against elements like that blazing summer sun or a torrential downpour. If you don’t have access to a garage, look for a car storage service, which is typically offered by most major storage companies. If the most viable option is keeping it outside you should consider purchasing a waterproof car cover to keep it clean. Regardless of where your car is stored, there are a few things you should do before leaving it in hibernation mode:

  1. Keep it clean: All dressed up and nowhere to go? It may seem silly to get your car nice and spiffy just to keep it locked away, but dirt and residue can eat away at your car’s exterior if left on for a long time.
  2. Fill’er up: It might also seem contradictory to fill up your gas tank to go… nowhere, but this will prevent moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank. Excess condensation can lead to acceleration problems, and when the inevitable winter chill returns, a fuel line freeze. If you will be storing for a very long time, it also might help to purchase a fuel stabilizer to prevent gasoline from becoming gummy. Plus, you’ll be pleased to find a full tank of gas the next time you drive!
  3. Don’t lose power: All vehicles typically experience a very small amount of battery drain, even while turned off. Mechanic Matt suggests purchasing a battery tender, a small charger that keeps your battery topped off every day.
  4. Get some air: Use a tire gauge to make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended tire pressure (follow @Metromile to find us at a local event where we give them away for free). If the tires are under-inflated, head to the gas station to add some air because flat spots can develop as the vehicle’s weight presses down on the tires. Even while idle. It could also help to have an air compressor on hand to quickly inflate a flat if a gas station isn’t in close proximity.

When you are ready to brush those cobwebs off your car (hypothetically speaking, hopefully) do a quick inspection before starting the engine. Check the windshield wipers, tire pressure, fluid levels, brakes, and under the hood to see if anything looks off. If it’s been awhile and you are uneasy about the condition, take your car into your local mechanic for a professional opinion. And if you are often leaving your car unused, you could be a great candidate for per-mile insurance because your monthly bill is based on the miles you drive. Check out metromile.com/insurance to learn more!

The Ultimate Guide to Road Tripping

Grab your friends and kick off the summer solstice with a road trip to your favorite warm weather destination. Whether the drive is 30 minutes or 3 hours, the transit from your couch to a beach blanket should never be cumbersome. To help you get to your destination with ease, we’ve compiled our favorite road-tripping tips into one handy guide. And if you aren’t sure of your actual destination, we’ve got tips for that too!

Road Trip Guide

 

Get your car road trip ready
A healthy car is definitely a prerequisite for any open road adventure. To prepare for a smooth drive, there are a few quick checks you should do. First, make sure there isn’t anything weird going on with your tires (even your spare). Look for any weird bulges or uneven wear, and use a tire gauge to measure pressure. Next, check out a site like GasBuddy to identify the cheapest and easiest place to fill up on gas, so you aren’t stuck paying top prices. You should also make sure your washer fluid isn’t running low because no one likes driving with a bug-laden windshield!

It’s also important that your mechanic is doing a more comprehensive check-up throughout the year since your brakes, cooling system, transmission service, oil levels and exhaust system can all deteriorate over time. If you want more details about getting your car road trip ready, check out this post.

Load up your smartphone
Our friends at The Zebra compiled a great list of the best apps to download before hitting the road. We don’t want to encourage distracted driving, so enlist your passengers to man the phone or wait until your car is parked.

  • Waze: This community-driven app gathers map data and traffic information from other users, such as accidents, police traps, and traffic jams, and uses it to estimate the best possible route.
  • Inroute: If you see your summer road trip as more of a journey through various attractions, Inroute helps you find the best possible route based on “weather, elevation, curviness, daylight and places along the route”.
  • Songza: Search for music based on the time of day, your current mood, or favorite genre. Songza is completely free, and even has thousands of original playlists handmade by music experts.

You can also download the Metromile driving app, which gives important insights into your daily driving and car health!

Stash your “survival kit”
Whether you are an articulate list maker or the “see what fits into my backpack” type, there are some key items that you should keep near the driver’s seat: (more…)