Tips For Making the Most of a Road Trip
As of this year, a whopping 39 percent of all vacations are road trips, according to the New York Times. This is nearly double the number of road trips we were taking even just a few years ago!
To what does that great American institution, the road trip, owe its exploding popularity? Flexibility is the number one reason travelers give for choosing a road trip over more traditional types of vacations.
If your idea of an awesome trip is to be able to come and go as you please, pack whatever you like, explore areas both on and off the grid and maintain better control over your costs while vacationing, you are probably a “road tripper!”
These helpful road tripping tips are tailor-made to help you get the most out of your next road trip adventure!
1. Plan it out….sort of.
Unless your schedule is truly wide open, you likely have your departure and return date already in mind. And you may have a general idea of the area you’d like to explore during your road trip.
Now what you need is an itinerary – sort of. A good rule of thumb is to plan for no more than eight hours of drive time daily and to scope out potential places to sleep in advance, then let the rest unfold as it may.
2. Take each stop for what it is.
When it comes to road trips, a little research can go a long way. Too much research may talk you out of some of the coolest stops along the way, while not enough may cause you to miss interesting sights.
3. Pick a theme.
If you are having some challenges planning your route, why not pick a theme for your road trip adventure? For example, you could visit the “biggest fill-in-the-blanks” in all the little towns along your route. Or you could builds your road trip around sleuthing out the best burger no one else knows about!
4. Give your GPS a sidekick.
Road trips are great places for city folks to discover what country folks already know – you can’t always count on finding a WiFi connection! So be sure to bring a hard-copy map of the area you are traveling in as a backup to your GPS.
5. Leave some space.
Unless you are road tripping in a place where there are literally no stores, at some point you are likely to encounter that most irresistible of all road trip lures – the souvenir stand. So leave some space in your ride to pack away your fun finds for the ride home.
6. Get ready to earn some points.
Do you have a credit card that lets you earn points or cash back on purchases? Make this your go-to card for buying fuel, snacks and souvenirs, and arrive home with a healthy helping of extra points to spend!
7. Don’t forget the tunes.
More than a few road trippers have discovered the hard way that when the signal gets spotty, so do all those toe-tapping driving tunes. So bring some CDs or a pre-loaded iPod in addition to your streaming service just in case.
8. Put your smiley face on.
Chatting up the locals is sometimes the best way to find out about cool places, from eateries to scenery, that most tourists never hear about.
9. Tuck in some spare cash.
Of course it is awesome to go cashless in the city, but when you are away from your local haunts, you may find cash to be a trustworthy universal language for emergencies!
10. Keep it safe.
Tell someone back home when you are leaving and when you will be back. Make a plan for scheduled check-ins by text or phone so they know you are okay.
11. Try your best to unplug.
This doesn’t mean forgoing that awesome new streaming service you just found. But try not to miss your own vacation by spending too much head-time phone-gazing. Look up, out and around you and fill your head with memories to treasure later when you are back at your daily grind.
12. Always bring a spare.
Spare keys, spare change, spare cash, spare tires, spare batteries – if it can burn out, go out or fall out, the road trip is the place it is most likely to happen. So bring a spare if space permits.
13. Follow the signs.
Yup – that weird billboard you just passed might just be your ticket to extra-cool road trip stories. So go follow it and see where it leads!
14. Snap, snap, snap!
Remember to bring your road trip home with you in pictures! A few strategic snaps are worth a thousand words!