Road trips can be some of the most fun, cost-effective, and flexible types of vacations out there. All you need is a car full of gas and a few friends, a big contrast to trips that require plane tickets, visas, and detailed itineraries. The next time you’re planning to hit the road for a few days, follow these six easy tips to ensure an unforgettable time.
Create a Backup Plan
On just about every road trip, you will find yourself dealing with something unexpected. Traffic that puts you four hours behind, a flat tire that forces you to repair your car on the side of a highway or even something as simple as deciding you don’t feel like driving any farther. Things happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared ahead of time to avoid ruining your trip.
Start by making sure you have some sort of access to roadside assistance (such as AAA) to help you get back on the road even quicker. Cars have problems when you least expect it, and it’s best that you are prepared in advance. If a traffic jam or car troubles does put you way behind, consider springing for a hotel room for the night. Apps like Hotel Tonight allow you to book a room at last minute so you can get a good night sleep, and start fresh the next morning. Sometimes a little shut eye will make you forget all about the sea of red lights that made you want to pull your hair out.
Leave Room for Spontaneity
Source: The Wandering Angel
One of the best things about a road trip is that there are no set schedules like there are on plane or train journeys. That means you have (almost) all the time in the world to explore without worrying about running late for something. Take that freedom as an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, and do something different. Give yourself time to stop into random towns, see the world’s largest ball of twine, or sample some of the best roadside barbeque in your state. You’ll never regret those few precious hours with your best friends exploring a place for the first time.
Plan Out Healthy Snacks
It’s very easy to allow for your health and wellness goals to go out the window while on a road trip. Between gas station snacks and the plethora of fast food options you’ll find on the road, there is a lot of opportunity for enjoying some less than healthy snacks. In order to curb this, and save some cash along the way, be sure to stock your car full of healthy foods. Go beyond more common snack standbys like deli sandwiches, and create snacks that are just as enticing as a quick run to a fast food joint. Freshly baked blueberry muffins, crisp veggies with a dipping sauce or homemade gourmet trail mix are just a few options that we love.
Source: Viktor Hanacek
Most people take road trips with multiple people, and a great way to stay organized is to designate roles to each person on the trip. By putting one person in charge of the playlist, one person in charge of snacks, one person in charge of navigation, etc., you’ll be able to share responsibilities and ensure the trip goes as smoothly as possible. The last thing you want is to make one person feel like they’re doing all the work, and this is an easy way to make sure that doesn’t happen.
From gas to snacks to those random 2:00 am gas station purchases, there are a lot of miscellaneous expenses that go into a road trip. To make sure you’re splitting costs evenly, have one person on the trip keep track of all expenses for the group. If possible, have that one person purchase everything which makes dividing expenses at the end of your trip about one million times easier. Since most of us don’t always have cash around, Venmo or Google Wallet are both two apps that make paying people ultra simple. Try to take care of all of your expenses before the trip is over or soon after so that you aren’t trying to remind your friend that they still owe you $60 three weeks later.
Find Entertainment Along the Way
One of our favorite things to do before heading off on any road trip is to see what sights and activities will be along the way. Though it can be a little silly, who doesn’t want to see the world’s largest dinosaurs or check the time at the world’s tallest grandfather clock? There are a few great apps out there that can help you find interesting things to see along your way. Field Trip and Roadtrippers are two favorites that pick out interesting places like historical sites or famous restaurants for you to stop at along your trip.