There’s planning for a weekend out, then there is planning for a perfect road trip. Planning your perfect road trip can be an exhausting ordeal, but we’ll give you some tips to reduce your stress.
Planning an awesome vacation may be easy, but road trips—where you take a long car ride and hit many stops on the way—present their own set of challenges (and opportunities). Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you plan.
Plan Your Route and Stops Before You Leave…
You know your destination, but deciding on your route and stops can really depend on your travel style. Make sure everyone is on the same page before you leave to avoid being stuck in a car with unhappy passengers for 8 hours a day. If you have to travel with someone who’s style doesn’t mesh with yours, consider planning a shorter trip.
You’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress if you map out how you’re getting to your destination before you leave (obviously). The Google-Maps app can be used to lay out your route and helps you find all the stops along the way. The app can show you stops and restaurants along your route, but it can also help you find interesting things like museums, parks, and roadside attractions.
You need to investigate the weather beforehand too. One route may look shorter on the map, but weather can turn that short route into a long and hazardous road. You can check the weather for your route.
…But Keep Your Plans Loose
No matter how much you plan, you should expect things to go differently. Keep an open mind and go with the flow. Road construction, bridges being out, and messy accidents are almost guaranteed to slow things down along the way. Try not to stress about it too hard and remember that it will probably make a good story someday.
It’s also a good idea to keep loose plans because you never know when fun and interesting opportunities will arise. You could be driving by one of most popular roadside attractions along the way, so think about including “free time” in your itinerary.
Have a Solid Budget…
Driving somewhere can cost you less money than flying there, but it still comes with hidden costs. For example, be sure to include food and lodging in your budget, as well as any fun stuff you plan on doing along the way. If you need a little help figuring out your costs, you can ask anyone who has done roadtripping before.
…And Look For Ways to Save Some Cash
You might have a good budget in place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still save. Going under budget means extra fun money, after all. Your big expense is going to be fuel, and there are a couple things you can do to save:
- Fill up your car the day before you leave. You already know where the best prices for gas are around you. This will give you a solid start.
- Keep the weight of your cargo to a minimum. Your passengers’ weight is set, but you can adjust how much stuff you pack in your vehicle. The lighter your ride, the longer she’ll glide.
- Drive the speed limit. Not only is it safer to drive the speed limit, but also saves you fuel.
- Bring your own food if possible, thus you can eat whenever you want and your stops can be much more efficient. Plus, having the flexibility to keep going when you finally get the hungry ones to sleep is priceless, especially children.
Make Sure Your Ride is Ready…
In the weeks leading up to your adventure, you need to make sure that your vehicle is in prime condition. This is important for you and your passengers safety, and a healthy vehicle won’t break down on you in the middle of nowhere.
Make sure all of the scheduled, preventative maintenance you need to have done on your vehicle is taken care of. Last but not least, make sure you have the proper tools you need to change a flat in your trunk, and that you’re spare tire is ready to rumble.
…And stay Entertained on the Road
Once you’re on the open road, you need something to keep you from getting bored. Boredom leads to feeling tired, and feeling tired leads to you endangering the whole travel party. Anything from music, to books on tape can help keep the boredom at bay.
With iPods, streaming services, and satellite radio, your music will never dry up, but don’t forget about the power of a good mix CD. If you can, make a CD of music everyone likes enough that they can tolerate it for most of the trip. Hey
@djschwaz , we are still waiting. You’ll get sick of it eventually on the road, but months and years down the line, you’ll have a flashback to a great vacation.
And Finally Prepare For Your Voyage Back
When it’s time to head back, there’s a few things you can do to make the ride back just as easy. Safety is number one, so inspect your car for all of the usual faults after a road trip. It’s also important to keep your car clean(But who doesn’t love announcing he/she is from a road trip). Nothing is worse than cleaning the mountain of mess leftover in your car at the end of a really long drive.
Everything you check before leaving applies before heading home. Check your route for hazards and weather, find the cheapest fuel before you leave, and try your hardest to stick to your set budget. The way home can be weary, but don’t slip and spend all the money you saved just because you’re exhausted!
Article by Patrick Allan