Guest post contributed by Yvonne Lorentz
Summer going to full swing presents plenty of opportunities to get wild and have fun. Apart from going to the beach, going on a road trip is one of the many exciting activities that get major upvotes during the season. After all, the warmth and a relatively stable weather do go well with what could possibly be the adventure of a lifetime.
If you’ve watched enough travel-themed summer flicks, you’d have a good idea of how a seemingly innocuous trip can go hilariously (at times, not so much) wrong. But as most adventurous spirits know, nothing beats adequate preparation when it comes to turning the odds to your vacation’s favor. And helping you prepare is what this article is all about.
Here are 10 ways to turn your road trip into a definite success and a source of epic fun:
- Plan ahead, but not too much. Spontaneity may seem fun when you’re starting your trip, but not so much when you’re lost on the unfamiliar ground. At least know your destination and have enough foresight to bring a map. Make sure you don’t drive longer than eight hours because you know, you’ve got to have more fun than just driving, too.
- In creating your plan, leave enough room for mystery. Plot where you’re spending the night, but don’t stress yourself over researching your stops. Guide books and reviews tend to create expectations which might spoil the experience and prospect of discovery (which is what makes road trips fun in the first place) for you. Allow yourself the freedom to go on a detour or two, as long as you don’t lose your way, of course.
- Divide labor. This is especially true when you’re going out in a group. Cooperation will ease the burden of preparing for the vacation and will definitely add the element of camaraderie to the trip. Be sure everyone has a responsibility—driving, snacks, entertainment, fun, accommodations and others.
- BUDGET. This cannot be emphasized enough. Most amateur road trippers give in to the prospect of being too spontaneous by not planning their finances beforehand, only to get stuck on a hitch or two along the way. Be sure you have enough money for basics, such as your accommodations for the night, your food, fuel, car service and toll fees, as well as emergencies. It’s always a good idea to have some spare money in case some unexpected need comes your way.
- Have the car checked. If you’re going on a road trip, your car will be one of your most vital assets. Whether it’s your car or somebody else’s, it is always great to have the vehicle checked and cleaned before and even during the trip. Make sure it is at optimum performance through diesel services and other fuel system diagnostics. Ensure that the engine is in tip-top shape and that the brakes are working fine. You never know when these little details will save your vacation—or your life.
- Pack light. Stopping in areas with a laundrette will allow you to bring just a few clothes without having to wear your outfit on repeat. Get rid of items that are not necessary and focus instead on things that you will definitely need. If you can live without a particular item or you sense that you won’t need the said item at all, it’s best to leave it at home.
- Know where to eat. Food can make or break your trip. Good food can help make your getaway more memorable while bad food can—well, maybe you’d spend more time on the toilet than on the road. To get an idea of where to eat good local delicacies, trust the locals more than the guide books. Chances are that their suggestions would be way cheaper, too.
- Bring entertainment. If, as a kid, you’ve been on really long trips with your parents, you probably have a good idea of how boring lengthy journeys can be once the snacks are finished and the initial novelty of the ride has gone stale. To keep yourself entertained, it’s always a good idea to bring entertainment that will keep everyone (except the driver) busy. Music that everyone in your group loves is always a great choice as, in fact, even the driver can join in the fun. You can also design games everyone can take part in, as long as it doesn’t distract your driver from the road.
- Make memories (and friends). Bring a camera and take lots of pictures. Makes videos even. Do not shy away from the possibility of making new friends. Expanding your circle and meeting new people is part of what makes road trips such exciting experiences. The memories you make on this trip will last long after the trip is over.
- Carry your documents. You never know when you’re going to need them. Whether you’d need them as identification or to get yourselves out of trouble, it’s always for good measure to bring an ID or two. If you are a driver, bring your driver’s license. This advice may not seem much, but it may save you from a lot of grief and inconvenience.
- Update your folks. You don’t want your parents or guardians worrying about you. It’d be a comfort for them to know that you are safe and having a good time. More importantly, it’s always important to have somebody else know where you are in case you get into troublesome situations.
So you see, road trips can be made better when you prepare enough. Not only do you get to ensure you don’t run out of food and other necessities, you also get home safe bringing memories of the fun you had, the people you met and how word just got a little bigger.
Yvonne Lorentz is a writer at Fremantle Fuel Injection. She worked as an online video editor before she started her writing career.
Photo Credit: Jessica Spengler