Advice and Tips for Cross Country Roadtrip & Move from Texas to Virginia


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Hello,

I am a 20 something female about to move from Texas to Virginia soon with my boyfriend. We will be driving, he in his car with his dog and me in mine with my two dogs. He's a faster and more experienced driver than I am, so we likely won't be together on the road much if at all. We will meet at the hotel each day. So I wanted to ask for any advice. Here are some details about the trip/me that may help you answer the questions I have:

The longest drive I've ever made was around 4 hours round trip to pick up a dog. I've never driven that far with my dogs, only to the vet or pet store near where I live. I have two adult chihuahuas and have purchased a medium sized mesh car crate/bag to put them in that attached to the seat. We will make the drive in 3 days, so will stay at hotels two nights. I have AAA for if I get a flat or something. I'm not that experienced at highway driving and in my day to day life mostly avoid it, but I've been practicing lately. The last day of travel should be only 5 hours but the first two days will be longer.

Questions:

What safety tips do you have, as essentially I'll be a woman traveling alone? I also look a lot younger than I am (I'm 26) Should I avoid rest stops and only stop at populated restaurant/gas station combination stops? Tips for road travel with dogs? They are pee pad and outdoor potty trained. I don't know how often to stop with them or if they need a pee pad in the car. Can dogs go in a gas station with me if in a carry bag? Should I put them in the back seat? Should I restrict them to hard food only? Can they have water? They normally eat wet food with a little hard food on top. What items do I NEED in the car with me? I'm thinking dog food, water, dog bowls, toilet paper, trash bags, snacks, flashlight, pepper spray, cleaning spray/wipes and paper towels. But what else? GPS advice? I can use my phone, my car gps, or my standalone gps that I bought. I wanted to have options. We'll be traveling through Arkansas and Tennessee it looks like. Any advice for travel there? How to handle traffic stops? I've never been stopped before and don't know if out of state plates draw attention. I'm also super anxious and an introvert. How much cash do I need to have? I will have cards but want cash too. The move will likely be mid December. Do highways get ice? Also, when its cold I turn my car heat on and put the front and back defrosters on, but sometimes that gets too stuffy, but its the only way to keep my windows from fogging up usually. Any advice on this? Any other advice is much appreciated.

Thanks!

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