Making a journey by car has lots of benefits: it’s better for the environment, often works out cheaper than flying if you’re traveling as a group and provides ample opportunity to take in the incredible sights along the way. While there’s a certain level of organization required to pull off a good road trip, driving holidays are becoming more popular, possibly due to the increase in GPS tracking technology taking the stress out of navigating unknown roads.
If you’ve never been on a road trip, what’s stopping you? Pack up your bags, get some fuel in the car, glance over our list of things you need to know and then set off on your next driving adventure!
Pre-plan Your Route:
While one of the most exhilarating aspects of a road trip is the freedom of being on the road, you don’t want to miss out on any exciting events or locations by failing to do your research before departing.
Identify your start and end points, and then use an online map (or a paper map, if you’re more of a traditionalist!) to explore the various routes you could use to get from A to B, wherever those points may be. Keep an eye out for interesting tourist sites, buildings and natural phenomena along the way, such as Gettysburg National Battlefield or the Grand Prismatic Spring in Wyoming.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time for The Journey:
You don’t want to be in a rush, or you may have to skip stops resulting in over-tiredness and potentially miss out on things to see!
Therefore, it’s vital that you allow yourself a healthy estimate of how many days you’ll require traveling to your end destination. If you’re driving for more than a day, you’d be wise to plan in non-driving days along the way to rest up and restock the car with snacks — very important for a road trip!
To avoid a chorus of, “Are we there yet?” from everyone in the car, you should pack up lots of in-car entertainment options for young and old to enjoy together. Bookworms should pack a stack of novels; music lovers could create a playlist of fun sing-a-long tracks to while away the time.
Indeed, there are also lots of games and activities you can do in the car to keep everyone entertained. Try your hand at 20 Questions, Road Trip Bingo or any one of the other popular road trip games.
Depart With Faith in Your Vehicle:
The most important resource you need for a good road trip is a trustworthy car! You should certainly have your vehicle serviced before you embark on a long journey, and if professionals raise any concerns or deem your car unfit for the roads, you’d do well to fix the issue or invest in a new car altogether.
If you know you’ll be tackling some tricky roads, a 4×4 car with off-roading capability would be a great choice, something like a Peugeot 3008 is the best of both worlds.
Make sure your car is clean before you set off too. You may not think you’re much of a clean freak, but don’t forget you’ll be spending most (if not all) of your days in the car seat belt, so any clutter and mess may start to irritate you quicker than you’d expect!
The supplies you deem to be mandatory will be dependent on what you personally need at hand. Some travelers will need to have a mobile cell phone chargers, others portable speakers, others a pack of cards.
Regardless of your taste, to make sure you’re covered in case of any vehicle mishaps you should pack a car toolkit, a copy of your vehicle insurance and driving license and your AAA membership details. Here’s hoping you won’t need them, but it’s best to pack them just in case.
Look for Ways to Save Cash Along the Way:
While road tripping often works out cheaper than flying, gas will, of course, be your main expense for the journey. Did you know, though, that you can pick up a gas card before you set off which will earn you points and benefits not dissimilar such as cash back on hotels and food and drink discounts?
If you know that your budget will be tight, you could also look to avoid toll roads on your route. Don’t forget to carry some loose cash with you though, just in case you come across unexpected tolls on the road.
Be Open to New Adventures:
Mindset is everything when you set off on the road, so make sure you pack your sense of adventure and an open mind! Indeed, once you’ve got everything else pre-planned and organized all that’s left to do is to set sail. Especially if you’ve given yourself plenty of time to complete the journey, you’ll have the flexibility to re-route and say ‘Yes’ to new adventures.
Consult The Experts:
There’s a large community of road trippers across the country, some of whom share numerous blog posts about their adventures. If you’re short on ideas and looking for inspiration, then these road trip articles and blogs can be truly encouraging.
Don’t Forget to Take Photos!
Road trips are rich for memory-making, especially if traveling with a group of friends or family. Don’t forget to document the unusual and exciting things you encounter along the way. You could also encourage some friendly competition between you, to see who ends up with the funniest or most artistic photograph once you’ve reached your destination.
When you’re home, pull these photos together into a frame or photo album to create a long-lasting souvenir of your time.
All That’s Left… is To Go!
Once you’ve done your planning, had your car checked out and packed everything you’ll need to entertain and sustain yourself throughout the days, all that’s left to do is to hit the road. Remember to stay open-minded, try not to fall out with your fellow passengers and look forward to a trip full of new memories!