A car journey taken for pleasure with family or friends can be a truly wonderful, memorable, and enjoyable experience. Not only will you have a chance to have fun and spend some quality time with the people you care about but you will also be able to enjoy some beautiful views, visit interesting places, and see things you have never seen before.
However, before embarking on the journey, one needs to prepare as much as possible to avoid or at least minimize the chances of encountering trouble during one’s travel. Careful planning might be crucial for making the entire experience successful and one that you will never forget.
People who have already been on such trips surely know the importance of preparation, but for those who have not had the opportunity until now, here are some tips that will help you stay organized, on track, and make you ready for an experience of a lifetime.
1. Decide Your Final Destination
You might have already decided on your destination, but if you have not, this is, of course, the first thing you should do. There are a few things to consider while deciding such as how much time you have available, what you would like to see, and how long do you want to be driving for.
For first-timers, a shorter journey might be better since it will give one the complete experience but with lesser risks. If you end up enjoying it, you can always plan a longer one next time.
You should also have your vehicle in mind because some are not made for long drives. If you are traveling with a group of friends, consider taking the car that is most suitable for the distance you plan to cross. SUVs and minivans are especially great for these types of travels.
2. Map Out Your Route and Check the Distance
Sit down and discuss with the people you are traveling with about which roads you would like to take and what your stops should be. You can visit this great website, check-distance, to calculate the distance between your points of departure and arrival. When budgeting, this will also be useful since it offers gas calculation too.
Draw out your entire drive on a map and mark all possible stops from sightseeing spots to gas stations, hotels or motels, eateries, and anything in between. However, keep your plans somewhat loose. Being spontaneous is also part of the fun.
Decide whether it is better to stick to highways, take the back roads, or mix it up. Highways might get you to your destination faster, but back roads provide much more beautiful scenery and opportunities to relax.
3. Have Your Vehicle Checked Out
You will want to ensure that your car is in perfect condition before embarking on a long-distance journey. Taking it to a mechanic before you leave will help you avoid any unnecessary breakdowns, but will also ensure your safety. Even if your vehicle works perfectly, have it tuned-up just in case. Be sure to check that your car has a first-aid kit, basic tools, and a spare tire as well.
4. Determine Your Budget
Your budget will greatly depend on how many individuals you are traveling with. Do not forget to include food and accommodation costs when determining how much spending money you will need
You can save cash in several ways such as filling the tank before your departure, keeping your cargo weight at a minimum, driving the speed limit, but also by not being too picky about where to sleep. You might be tempted to stay at a nice hotel or resort, but why not add some more fun to your trip by sleeping in a unique B&B or kitsch motel? When it comes to eating out, consider asking the locals about the best places in town. They will surely be able to recommend some great locations that are also extremely affordable.
5. Make an Essentials List and Pack Your Car
Making a list of everything you will need to bring can ensure that nothing is forgotten. Write down all the important things first such as clothes, toiletries, and the likes. Include snacks, food, and drinks on the list because it is important to stay hydrated and have something to eat in case you get hungry during the drive and because it can also help you save money. You can check Sparkous for a list of the best road trip food ideas to keep you energized while traveling. Do not forget to bring accessories such as a paper map, multi-charger you can plug into the cigarette lighter, a Bluetooth adapter, small speakers, and more.
When loading bags into your trunk, place all the essentials such as your clothing and toiletries on top. This way they are easily accessible whenever you need them.
6. Prepare Entertainment
Load your phone with great music to make things more fun and enjoyable. You can sing along to your favorite tunes or listen to a relaxing road trip mix. It can greatly add to the experience and give you a true sense of excitement and adventure.
7. Divide Responsibilities
Driving for hours can be tiresome, so make sure that there is more than one designated driver if you are going on a long journey. This is important for safety, as well as one’s enjoyment. People that are not driving can take on other responsibilities such as reading the map and navigating, keeping track of the budget, or cleaning the car at every stop. Everyone should participate and contribute as much as they can.
8. Plan Your Return Trip
You do not have to have a concrete plan for going back home, but you should at least determine your route and know how much it will cost you. By then, you will probably be a bit tired from all the activities and excitement, so consider taking highways to get back.
You are meant to enjoy the drive during your road trip, so do not be in a rush. As great as having a plan and sticking to it is, always leave room to do something on the spur of the moment. Enjoy the open road, relax, and most importantly, spend the best time possible with your loved ones.