Going on a road trip is one of the most thrilling experiences you’ll ever have, especially if you’re travelling with someone you love. It’s adventurous, exciting, liberating and, most importantly, more interesting than people generally think. However, in order to make the most of your road trip, you need to spend some time planning it first and finding the best options available to you, from the accommodation and routes to music and games. And while simply jumping into a car and putting the pedal to the metal sounds quite great, you should put in a lot of work before even starting your car.
Therefore, if you too are in the process of planning a road trip – no matter where you’re going and how long you’re planning on being on the road – here are some of the most important things you need to pay close attention to if you want this to turn into the greatest adventure of your life.
Plan a route
Driving aimlessly through an unknown land might seem fun for an hour or two, but not knowing where you’re going can be quite frightening, especially after sunset. That’s why you need to make a detailed plan and know where you’ll be sleeping every night of your road trip. Nevertheless, keeping your plan just a little bit loose is always a good idea, particularly if you’re spontaneous and feel a sudden rush to spend more time at a certain place than you’ve originally planned. Overscheduling could just put too much pressure on you because trying to stick to a tight schedule makes you rush things and drive faster than you normally would, and that’s certainly not a smart move.
One of the best ways to go is booking your hotels in advance – this will also save you a ton of cash in the long run – but making sure you’ll be able to cancel your reservation if necessary. Also, take at least one day off from driving if you’ve covered a considerable distance at once. In short, keep driving during the day until you reach a certain place, then spend the next day there and continue your road trip on the morning of the third day. That way, you’ll always be rested and able to make the most of your time.
Unlike a plane, bus or train, a car gives you an opportunity to take more stuff with you, especially when equipped with a large trunk. So, you don’t have to choose between your two favorite shirts, but can easily bring both of them! However, clothes shouldn’t be the only thing on your packing list and this is something that requires a bit of thinking and making lists too.
Some of the things you’ll definitely need are plenty of food and water, a few pillows so that your co-driver can relax, some wet wipes that will come in handy more often than you can expect, a set of spare keys so that you don’t get locked out of your vehicle and home, a couple of car chargers for your phone and GPS device and, of course, your medicine and a proper first aid kit. You can assemble this kit on your own or buy one at your local supermarket, but just make sure it’s close to you at all times.
Check your vehicle
Whether you’re renting a car, borrowing it from a friend or driving your own, you most definitely need to see a reliable mechanic before hitting the road. Unless you’re a car expert yourself, you can’t even imagine how many things can go wrong every time you start your engine. And being stuck in a foreign land, far away from home, with a broken car, is one of the worst things that can happen to you on a road trip.
Therefore, make sure you’ve had an experienced mechanic look at it carefully, even though you might not like investing additional money into your car just days before embarking on a trip. On the other hand, this could literally save your life, so don’t skip it. In the end, check out trustworthy mobile mechanic service as well – it’s an inexpensive and reliable option most people seem to prefer these days.
Save some money
When planning a road trip budget, be prepared to set aside the biggest amount of money to accommodation, gas and tolls, but also try to save as much money on these things as you can. Booking hotels in advance is a good idea, as well as using services such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing – these accommodations are much less expensive, yet can be just as comfortable.
When it comes to saving money on the road, there are a few things you could do if you want to spend less gas: adopt a new driving technique, don’t drive too fast, find the shortest distance using a proper GPS device, look for affordable gas stations, pay with credit cards instead of cash and see if your hotel offers a discount for gas. Some of these ideas can sound strange at first, but they will ultimately help you save a considerable amount of money.
Other road trip tips
Some of the other things you should look into before starting a road trip include bringing your favorite music with you, getting proper travel insurance for you and your companions, and learning the basic car mechanic skills that might help you get your car running should something go wrong.