At a total length of 403 miles, PA Route 6 may well have been created with the road trip in mind. If you want to experience the charm and creativity of this region, there’s no better place to start than the many small towns that dot PA Route 6. So whether it’s your first road trip on 6 or the latest of many, try a few of these simple “hacks” to make this one the best one ever.
1. Have a plan, but be spontaneous. Having a plan for lodging is always a good idea, especially during peak travel periods. Local events such as festivals can bring in travelers from outside areas and lodging can fill up fast. Set a goal ahead of time about how many hours or miles you want to drive each day, and then make the necessary arrangements for where you’ll stay each night.
Some travelers enjoy a detailed itinerary for their road trip, and that can certainly help you visit everything you want to see while you’re in an area, but don’t be afraid to go off on a tangent to explore something that wasn’t in the travel guide. The small towns along Route 6 have much to discover, and some of the best places may not be the most well known.
2. Carry cash. This is a little counterintuitive with today’s societal trends where most commerce is done with a credit or debit card. Many small town businesses, though, are still only cash or check establishments, and finding an ATM isn’t always as easy as walking out into the lobby.
Another reason to carry cash is so you can leave some in the center console or glovebox as an emergency fund in case you forget your wallet or purse at a stop along the way. In a perfect world, every road trip would be perfect, but we’ve all “been there, done that” and it’s nice to have a few dollars tucked away as a backup.
3. Sideline the electronics. Yes, smart phones have become staples of everyday life, but getting the most out of any road trip means setting aside the electronic devices and allowing yourself to be present in the moment. In essence, allow yourself to be free to experience and participate in your surroundings, and only pull out that smart phone when you want to take a picture.
Sure, it can be fun to share real-time happenings on social media, but it can be mentally refreshing to just unplug and live in the moment, too. Later, after you’ve done something fun or had an amazing adventure, you can tell your friends all about it and let them wish they’d been there with you.
4. Travel with a friend. Traveling alone can be fun, introspective, and fulfilling in its own way, but having a travel partner will almost certainly make the journey more enjoyable. This is also another reason why ditching the electronics is a good idea, so that you can really get to know each other and bond in a way that will bring you closer together as friends.
Of course, don’t forget traveling with family. Family road trips were once a rite of passage, as portrayed by movies such as National Lampoon’s Vacation, and for many families, they still are. Heck, even if you’re not the Griswolds, you can still have a grand, old-fashioned family trip that everyone will remember for years to come!
5. Talk with locals. Nobody knows the area better than the folks that live here, and most of them are more than happy to share their favorite spots to eat, drink, and be merry.
Meeting locals also means stopping at Visitor’s Bureaus and travel centers. The men and women who work in these places are eager to help travelers get the most out of their trips – it’s part of their job description, and they enjoy doing it. Also, they can usually offer a more well-rounded view of everything that’s happening in the area, including upcoming events and attractions, dining options, and places to stay.
6. Slow down and enjoy the trip. A road trip is not a race. Don’t forget to relax and incorporate some downtime along the way. It can be fun and educational to cram as many events, museums, and attractions as possible into the itinerary, but those quiet moments at a scenic overlook, walking a trail, or just watching a sunset can be magical, too.