Road trips are always exciting because getting to the actual destination is part of the fun.
Road trips offer flexibility and freedom to choose. There are no fixed flight timings, strict itineraries, or limit to the amount of luggage you can carry. You can stop where you want; you can rest where you want, you can sightsee while you are en route; what is there to complain about?
Every road trip is unique and fun. You never know what you encounter on the road, what new freak of nature will amaze you, what event pushes you to make last-minute changes; the list is endless. Granted, they can be exhausting, but so is air or train travel. What is one con in the face of so many pros?
However, there is another small catch when it comes to road trips, and that is planning. Booking a flight, packing your bags, and heading to the airport is easy. The same goes for trains. Road trips are a little more demanding because they require a little more planning.
What differentiates an ordinary road trip from a fantastic road trip is how well you plan it. If your trip is more organized and well thought out, things will be a lot easier for you. You are going to be on the road for a long time. This is not the best time or place to wing it.
Here is our comprehensive list of things you need to know to plan the perfect road trip.
Arrange your route and fuel stops
Plan your route before you even decide to embark on a road trip.
Open up Google maps and start plotting the destinations you wish to see along the way. We recommend setting the most natural route. Calculate the distance, time required to travel, and then set your schedule accordingly.
Do not forget to check traffic on your route as well to establish a more realistic itinerary.
While planning routes, do not forget to plan your gas stops as well as rest stations for food and other necessities.
Arrange for a car
There is no road trip without a car. You can take your car, opt for a rental, or if you are someone who goes on road trips frequently, you can choose to buy cars online, which have previously been used for the same purpose on similar terrain (depending on where you are headed).
If you are looking into rentals, it is always more fun to travel in style in a nice vehicle compared to an old busted model. Be sure to look for a car with a lot of space for your luggage. Comfort is another thing you must not compromise on when selecting a car for a road trip.
Prepare for the worst
It might sound intimidating, but this fact is a given regardless of how you choose to travel. You never know what you might run into en route, so you must always prepare for the worst.
Make sure you are always stocked up with food, water, warm clothing, and blankets in case you have to camp somewhere or sleep in the car. Make sure to check your tires before leaving. Ensure that your spare tire is intact in case you need to change it on the road. Check your car’s fluid, including oil, wiper fluid, and more.
Additionally, check the condition of the roads in the area that you are traveling to in the case of road closures.
Find places to sightsee on the way
The best part about road trips is the route because there are so many incredible spots along the way that you can stop to sightsee and explore. You do not get that same experience with airplanes or trains.
Once you have set your route, look into possible stops where you can go sightseeing. Research about them and look into the experience of others who have been there. Set aside time in your itinerary to make the most of your journey.
Such spontaneity is only possible with road trips. Make the most out of it while you can.
Stock up on snacks
What is a road trip without snacks, even? To ensure that your road trip goes as smoothly as possible, stock up on snacks. When you are hungry, you are irritable, and when you are irritable, you fight. Fighting on the road in unknown territory is not fun, so stock up on snacks to keep everyone happy.
We suggest preparing a list of essential food items and then getting your hands on snacks for the road fruits, chips, protein bars, nuts, and sugary treats for that boost of energy when you feel worn out.
Get a playlist ready
No road trip is complete without music. Sure, you can talk, but for how long can any conversation possibly last? Besides, there is nothing comparable to driving on the highway with nothing in the background but the most incredible music. It feels quite fantastic, not going to lie.
Create multiple playlists to have a variety because not everyone has the same taste in music, after all. Besides, your mood can change, so it feels good to listen to something that vibes with your mood to add to the experience.
Keep the car clean
Cars can get especially messy over time, so get into the habit of keeping your car clean because things can get very messy on road trips.
Make sure everything is organized, and nothing is misplaced or lost. Keep a bag for disposables and garbage. Compartmentalize for maximum efficiency. Travel bags are the best for the job. Divide your belongings and essentials accordingly, and you will find yourself feeling more at ease and stress-free.
Carry loads of water
Water is one essential that you can never have enough of; therefore, we suggest you carry more than you need. A 5-gallon bottle may seem excessive, but it is best to be safe than sorry. Get your hands on one with a tap attached to the side.
Also, stock up on reusable bottles. Not only are they super-convenient, but they also help you save a lot of money and plastic waste. Economical and environmentally friendly, reusable water bottles are a lifesaver.
Track food expenses
Road trips are cheaper than flights, but make sure to monitor the amount you spend on feasting while you are out on the roads. Track your food expenses from coffee stops to snacks to meals because it all adds up. It is best to set a daily budget so you can manage your costs adequately.
Flexibility is critical with road trips. You can never plan road trips to the dot. They do not work like that because literally, anything can happen, and that’s a part of the fun. You might want to park near a secluded beach, an enchanted cabin in the woods, or a local food stop because you could not resist the smell of freshly baked goods.
The point is that road trips are meant to be enjoyed. They are more than getting from one place to another. It is about embracing the journey and going with the flow as stress-free as you possibly can. Does it test your patience at times? Yes. Is it worth it, though? You bet it is.
Road trips are not for everyone. They require patience, organization, and responsibility. Not everyone is well suited for the job. However, road trips are an excellent learning experience because you try out things you have never tried before. While it may seem inconvenient to some and perplexing to others, it is a challenge worth experiencing. Use our road trip-planning guide before you head out for your next adventure on the highway. We promise you; you will not regret it.