So you’re looking to plan a road trip... It’s the dream vacation, really. Customizable, automatically jampacked with the opportunity to sightsee and visit different monuments and tourist attractions, and a great way to bond! There’s nothing like the freedom of the open road and sharing experiences with the people you love the most. Of course, there are some very important details you can miss! Follow this guide to plan the perfect road trip!
Pick Your Travel Buddies
Picture this: you’re making your way through the western part of Pennsylvania on a trek across the country. It’s been eight hours and you’ve got 33 hours left of your drive… Your passengers are pressed together in the back between suitcases and you can tell they’re getting antsy. Before, everyone was all smiles, but now that you’re stuck in the car a few hours out, frustrations are beginning to mount. You haven’t had the opportunity to stretch your legs for the last few hours and you’re counting down till the next rest stop!
More often than not, this is typical of a road trip. You’re stuck in a car for hours on end and oftentimes, things will begin to grate your nerves that normally would not. It’s natural for any person to get frustrated, but in choosing your travel buddies, you should try to find people who will be cool under pressure, who gel well together, and who will know when to take a step back. Not everyone can handle an eight-hour drive let alone one that’s 33. Choose your travel buddies wisely and carefully. Avoid Debbie Downers and pick someone who will willingly go with the flow!
Pick Your Co-Pilot
Once you’ve chosen your group, it’s important to designate a co-pilot. Their job is the second more important in the car. Navigation? They've got you covered. Need a snack? Of course! The co-pilot should be an entertainer, someone who can keep everyone motivated and in good spirits. They should be focused and alert, which means chronic nappers need not apply.
Are you thinking of sharing the responsibility of driving? If you aren’t sure that you can make the trek all on your own, pick at least two people to come along who don’t mind sitting behind the wheels!
Decide on a Destination
Once you’ve chosen who you’d like to go with, really take some time to narrow down where you’d like to go. Consider your budget and how much money you can afford to spend. A cross country road trip might not be in the cards if you’re saving for something else but if you have money to blow, you might want to trek a little farther than the next state over.
Choose Your Route
Apps like Roadtrippers and OnTheWay can help you pick a route for your road trip. They both help you find stops along the way like museums and other attractions, which is super important when it comes to picking a road trip destination. Are there any monuments you’re dying to see? Any restaurants you’re dying to try? Find these and plan your trip accordingly.
On Roadtrippers, you can also calculate your food costs, time, and distance, which will come in handy to keep all of your details in the same place. Similarly, planning time to stop to use the restroom or stretch your legs is also important. Don’t be too rigid, obviously, but allow for some time for when nature calls.
Technology can be unreliable. You might find yourself driving through areas with no cell service and thus without a map. Make sure that you pack a backup with you in the form of a paper map or paper directions just in case!
It would be terrible to be on the road and find that you left some important things at home. Create a checklist of the stuff you intend to bring to ensure that you don’t miss essentials like socks, toiletries, and undergarments. Have essential medications as well? Pack a pill box and keep it handy to make sure that you don’t miss a day or forget them at home.
While it might seem wise to just pick up a few snacks on the road, it’s best to come prepared just in case hunger strikes when you leave expect it. Water, chips, granola bars, and fruit snacks are all easy things that you can snack on while driving. These quick bites are essential to keep you and your passengers from getting too hangry between meals. With that said, buying snacks in bulk can also save you from overspending at rest stops!
It would be terrible to be stuck in the wilderness with a flat waiting for a tow truck. Make sure that you have a spare, a jack, and a tire iron just in case the worst happens. Similarly, jumper cables and a jump starter should be brought along if your battery goes dead. Snag some road flares, a fire extinguisher, and maybe some duct tape… you can never be too prepared! Additionally, take some time to refresh your emergency kit! Check to see that you have a flight, bandages and bandaids, cotton swabs, Advil or Tylenol, allergy medication, and antibacterial wipes!
Don’t let your car become a trash can! Pack some bags to throw your garbage in when you guys eat snacks or open packages and dispose of them at the next rest stop. You still want to be able to see your floor at the end of your trip. Aside from avoiding a mess, you’ll also be staving off bad smelling odors if you keep things neat and clean.
There’s nothing worse than boredom! Keep it at bay by bringing books, music, and movies to keep yourself occupied. This will especially come in handy when you’re in between stops and beginning to find yourself frustrated. Plan driving games like I-Spy in order to get the whole car involved!
Preload Your Phone (Data) Chargers
If you don’t have unlimited data, it’s important to preload your phone with music and podcasts that you’ll be listening to. With no WIFI on the road, it’s crucial that you try to minimize your data usage for when it counts. Similarly, make sure that you’ve packed a charger and that your phone is charged. Again, you’ll need to save up your battery for when you’ll need it the most. A portable charger is always a great option for back seat passengers!
Hit the Road
Once you’ve done all of these things, you’re ready to hit the open road. Roll the windows down, put your sunglasses on, and get ready to ride! This is the trip you’ve been waiting for. Still, accidents can happen when you least expect them. Stay insured when trouble rears its ugly head with Auto Insurance from I & E Insurance.