Embarking on a road trip is one of the most adventurous and exciting vacation ideas out there, but it is also one of the most stressful to plan. With a regular beach holiday, you’re fine as long as you remember to book the flights and hotel, and pack sunscreen, but with a road trip, there are many more variables to consider, like where you’re going to sleep, eat, and buy gas each day. Road trips can be quite the ordeal if you’re not properly prepared, so here are some dos and don’t to help you along the way, and ensure that your road trip is absolutely perfect.
Do Play Your Route Before
Many people choose to wing their route on a road trip and just figure they’ll get to their destination when they get there. While this will sometimes work, it often makes much more sense all round to thoroughly plan your route, and pick places to stop along the way. Doing this means that you’ll know of places where you can stay the night, grab something to eat, and fill up your car. It also means that you’ll be able to choose fun things to do and interesting places to stop along the way. If you insist on winging it, make sure to take more than one GPS, as some aren’t very accurate.
Don’t Marry Your Plans
While it is always sensible to plan, you should always be prepared for things to go differently, and should be able to stay calm when it does. Lots of things could slow down your journey, such as road traffic accidents, construction, and the weather, and this means that you might have to miss a few things or catch them on the way home. That being said, diverting from your plans is sometimes a good thing, as you might discover interesting things to see or do that you didn’t think of when you were planning your route. Because of this, you may want to add extra time to your schedule, so you don’t have to miss anything.
Do Marry Your Budget
There are a lot of things that you can wing when you’re on a road trip, but your money certainly isn’t one of them. Before you set out, make a list of all possible expenses on your trip, including food, accommodation, and attractions, and figure out how much you want to spend on each of them. Then, stick to this figure, or you could end up running out of cash before you get home. If you can, try to save money while you’re on your journey, so that you have some extra cash for the fun things. You can do this by looking out for cheaper gas, driving at the speed limit, and taking your own food.
Don’t Rely On Drive-Thrus
One of the biggest costs when it comes to road trips is always the food, so it makes sense to reduce this cost where you can so that you have more money for visiting attractions. The easiest way that you can do this is to pack food and bring it with you and avoid drive-thrus and restaurants. Unless you bring a camping stove, these meals will have to be pre-cooked or made up of foods that don’t require cooking, but there are lots of tasty options out there. As I’ve said, this will make your trip cheaper, but it will also save you lots of time, as you won’t have to go out of your way to find somewhere to eat.
Do Sort Your Entertainment
You may be heading off with the funniest crowd on the planet, but even they are going to get bored sitting in a quiet car for hours on end. To make the trip more entertaining for everyone, create a playlist or CD of everyone’s favourite songs, and play it while you’re driving. Just make sure that it’s a long one, or you’ll get bored of repeating it. To get the best sound possible, most people recommend 4 channel car amps, with reviews and information to know before buying available on the link. You should pack a few books, games, and may even a laptop or car television so that you can play films on your journey.
Don’t Pack Too Much
Most people pack way too much when heading off on a road trip, so whatever you’re planning to take, expect to leave at least a quarter of it at home. The more you pack, the more fuel you’ll use, and the more cramped your car will be, so it makes sense to pack as light as you can. If you’re going away with friends, share toiletries like shampoo and toothpaste, so that you don’t all waste space bringing them, and only pack clothes you know you’ll wear. If you haven’t filled your whole suitcase, put your things in someone else’s bag, to make more space in the car.
Do Stay Safe
Although you should pack light, you shouldn’t leave essentials like a spare tire, flashlights, blankets, and a first aid kit at home. If you get into trouble, these things will really help you out, and so can’t be forgotten. To keep you and your passengers even safer, you should make sure that your car is in a great condition before you head off. After all, the last thing that you want is to break down in the middle of nowhere. You should be able to do most of the basic maintenance yourself, but if you’re unsure, or just want to be on the safe side, then you might want to get a professional to give your car the once over.
Roads trips are often unforgettable experiences, but if you want yours to be unforgettable for the right reasons, rather than the wrong, then you need to plan and prepare properly. If you don’t, you will face a whole lot of stress and could encounter a disaster that completely ruins your trip. The tips above should help you to avoid this, so bear them in mind before you head off on your next adventure.