Road trips are an awesome way to distance yourself from the wear and tear of normal life. They provide the ability to experience new things (or old, awesome things again), and to share precious memories with the people that you love.
Spending large amounts of time on the road also permits space for just sitting and thinking that may not normally have a place in your schedule. As with most types of trips there are variables that can impact how smoothly it goes, but there are steps you can take to make the most of every moment and combat even the unexpected.
Ready Your Vehicle
During road trips, vehicles are simply prone to becoming chaotic. Between frequent pit stops that produce trash of every sort, to the fact that most of us find ourselves frantically digging through stuff for a map when our phones inevitably lose service, the interior of our vehicles can quickly become a mess. So start with a clean car, and make a point to clean out the trash and organize at every stop.
It’s also important to ready the vehicle for any unique destinations you have in mind. So make sure the vehicle itself is good — check the essential components that can impact the success of your trip. Unexpected surprises that flow from a lack of appropriate preparedness can go a long way in ruining a trip.
Think through the weather/location specific needs you may have. Will you be going off-roading? Is your vehicle equipped for 4-wheeling? Will your trip be your first through the snow? Do you know how to navigate the conditions? Those out-of-the-ordinary situations are the ones that you need to prep for to avoid disaster.
Prep the Goods
One of the best parts of road trips is the scenery; we can probably all agree on that. However, sometimes that scenery just stretches on and on and on, and in those moments you’ll wish for a little help in the entertainment department. So prep your devices with downloaded options like music, podcasts, and stories. Audio books set in the area you’re visiting are perfect!
Not only will planning some entertainment keep things interesting, but if you take some care to prep your food ahead of time it will save in multiple ways. It is relatively easy to take a cooler and ice packs along for the drive. Bringing your own food means you have more options and control over the nutrition and the cost of the food, plus it eliminates some of the need to stop every few hours to find food everyone can agree one.
Plan Your Route, But Loosely
If you’ve ever gone on a trip with those who aren’t strong planners, you know that not planning well is the ultimate way to waste time and money. If you’re road tripping, map it out for maximum effect. Deciding how long you’re going to be gone and thus how much distance you need to cover in a day will give the trip more purpose.
Decide ahead of time which locations are essential to the success of the trip and how much time you want to devote to them. Talk about things like whether or not investing enough time for things like tours and exhibitions is important.
With that being said, the happiest road trippers are the ones who are flexible. The old mantra, expect the unexpected, rings true here. Perhaps this looks like road work that really slows down your progress. Maybe one of your destinations is experiencing an emergency closure. Those are the types of things that you can’t always predict, but that can really throw a dent in your carefully crafted plans.
There are some issues you can prepare for, though. High traffic seasons in certain areas, your own propensity for distraction while driving, and your willingness to enjoy the adventure as it happens are things that you can prepare for to bolster your odds of having an awesome trip.
Your ability to see whatever happens with an open mind will make all the difference in the world!
One of the best parts of a road trip, is what you get to bring back with you. Both in memory form, as well as physical keepsakes. Thus, strategizing so that you have the space in your vehicle to bring things back with you is a must!
Beyond making smart choices for your space, for the things you want to bring back. You also want to think about what you are making room for. Good choices: cash for toll booths, gas cards for scoring buku fuel points, a physical atlas, and your camera all are worth making space for.
Have a Blast
Whether you’re heading out with your family or your friends or even for a solo trip, the point is that vacations are effective for alleviating stress and forming stronger connections with those who join you. It’s ultimately is an opportunity to see some new sights and eat some new food, and go home feeling refreshed; everything else is negotiable.
Because that’s the end goal, the trip should work for you. The tactics that you use to create the perfect road trip should only serve to produce an adventure that is the perfect combination of easy and memorable. Your life is likely filled with high-stress situations that leave you feeling depleted, but this is an opportunity to recharge and regroup, so have fun with it!