Having undertaken my fair share of road trips over the years with plans to continue in the future, it’s relatively easy to outline some do’s and don’ts for the road which come from personal experience. Looking back it’s hard to lock down an exact number of trips let alone the sheer mileage covered in any one of my quests. regardless of where you are headed or what the purpose, these trips can be a source of personal fulfillment or a great bonding experience with your friends and family. To help you on your trip, I can give you these 5 tips that will hopefully make your time a little more enjoyable and stress-free.
1) Never Leave Home Without It:
What most people see as an impromptu vacation or as a spur-of-the-moment weekend getaway can turn into a National Lampoon’s movie with no trouble at all. . I’m not necessarily telling you to turn your fun little trip into a logistical nightmare fit for the movements of the 1st Marine Division. I’m just talking about the little things such as making sure you have enough money for gas, food, lodging, etc. You don’t need a spreadsheet, but a quick calculation of meals, gas mileage, hotels, and extras will help you out more than you can imagine. It’s also not a bad idea to make sure your vehicle is in good working condition, you have a spare tire, and the people riding with you (if there are any) are able to drive your vehicle.
2) The Company You Keep:
Ok, so you’re obviously not going to go on a road trip with someone you can’t stand. At least I hope not. But, there is a difference between seeing someone in a social setting from time to time and being in a car with them for several hours non-stop and a victim to their every whim. You need to have things you can do alone together. If you have kids it might not be a bad idea to bring movies. If your friends get on your nerves have a back-up….bring movies. In all seriousness, driving can take quite a bit of concentration and energy. Keeping the driver awake and alert and having things for everyone to do together are great, but there will be times for quiet so be prepared.
3) Dump the Itinerary:
Having a goal, a final destination, a lingering interest in an endpoint is a great idea. Having a loose schedule such as being in Milwaukee by Wednesday is a great idea. Having your trip over-planned to the point of having potty-breaks scheduled is not a great idea. This is a road trip, it should be a time for a healthy dose of spontaneity and adventure. It’s great to have the ultimate goal and even some suggested sites along the way, but who wants to miss an impromptu fair, antique store, etc. Live a little. A road trip is about the journey.
4) Get Enough Sleep:
Hopefully you’ll have at least one person with you who can share the driving on long trips. The extra hour or two you may spend with one eye open and a foot hanging out the window is better spent asleep. Driving at highway speeds in areas you don’t know with varying climates and traffic is no time to test your ability to pull an all-nighter.
5) Are You Coming Back?:
Finally, you might want to make sure you pace yourself and your resources to make sure you’re comfortable getting back home. It wasn’t too long ago I drove from New Jersey to Wisconsin and neglected to arrange funding for the return portion of my trip prior to my departure. In other words, I ran out of money 1/2 way through my trip. I ended up taking on a partner to drive with me and borrowing enough money to make it back, but it was an experience I don’t recommend anyone make. Just put aside some money, time, and a few places to visit for the return trip to ensure you end your trip on a good note with plenty of rest and a few good stories of a vacation well traveled.
Whatever you’re planning, make sure you have fun, be safe, and explore the world around you. To wrap this up, I thought I would relay some good websites to begin dreaming your weekends on the road. Enjoy!
Yahoo! Travel – Great for planning
Roadtrippers- Another great planning site *
Wunderground- Weather for the road