There’s nothing quite like a road trip. The sense of freedom offered by just being out on the road, destination miles away and surrounded by friends, is unparalleled. Everyone should try a road trip at some point in their lives. If you’re daunted by the potential length of the trip, don’t be – even if your trip only lasts for four or five days, it can still be an unforgettable experience.
The reasons to choose a domestic road trip over an international holiday are manifold. There’s no need to worry about airport security or baggage handling, for a start. If you’re afraid of flying (which you needn’t be, since it’s the safest way to travel), then a road trip in a car or RV rental is the perfect antidote. You’re likely to see things you’ve never seen before in your own country, and there’s no better feeling than realising that where you live is the best place in the world. Here are our tips on planning the perfect road trip.
Make sure you’ve got funding
Many people planning road trips fall at the first hurdle when they realise that they don’t have the money to cover the trip. Optimism and enthusiasm are great qualities to have, but they won’t make up for a cold, hard lack of cash. Don’t let money worries get in the way of your dream holiday. Sell some old stuff you don’t need any more, find yourself a trustworthy loan lender, such as this one, or ask your friends to pool some cash together. However you scrape together the money, make sure you’re well-equipped before you go.
Create a clear itinerary
We know it sounds boring, but a planned route is far easier to follow and far more fulfilling than simply driving until you get somewhere. That notion sounds romantic, but in reality it’s more likely to be frustrating as you argue about where to go next and get yourself lost. Planning a clear route helps to keep everyone focused and on track, and when you know you’re heading somewhere specific, it makes those long moments of boredom (which there will unfortunately be) more palatable. Speaking of which…
Make sure you’re entertained
Your road trip can only be sustained by your friends singing campfire songs for so long. Eventually, you’re going to get bored, and that goes double for the person driving the car. Take some tips from a pro on how to entertain yourself during a road trip. Put together an epic marathon of a playlist that doesn’t end until the trip does. It’ll be hard work, but you’ll thank yourself once you’re in the car. Consider making physical exercise a part of your trip; there’s nothing worse than being cooped up in a tiny space for days without getting to stretch your legs, so bear that in mind. However you entertain yourself, make sure you do, because you’ll be bored quicker than you know.
Take people you love
Again, this sounds obvious, but don’t allow yourself to be swept up in the romantic idea of a road trip the moment it’s suggested. When you go on a road trip, you need to be sure you’re with people you care about enough to spend days in their company without a break. If you’re an extrovert, there are probably plenty of people you can call to mind for this, but if not, look at your nearest and dearest and consider which of them you really love spending time with. Taking that guy you’re kinda friends with will only come back to bite you on the long road ahead.
Plan for routine (or route) changes
It’s a good idea to create a specific itinerary and stick to it, but you still need to make sure you leave enough time for delays and changes. There’s a good chance you’ll be redirected somewhere along the road by roadworks or closures, and you might find yourself spending more (or less) time at an attraction or stop than you thought you would. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to have a backup route planned, as well as activities to fall back on in case you find yourself at a loss. For example, if you’re visiting a town, perhaps try and find somewhere nearby that would also be a good place to go if the town doesn’t work out.
Make sure your car is good to go
There’s nothing worse on a road trip than having to suddenly stop because your car or RV rental has broken down. Obviously, it’s impossible to plan for unexpected malfunctions, but you should have your car completely checked before you leave to make sure there aren’t any nasty surprises waiting for you. Everyone in the car will thank you for the smooth, uninterrupted ride, even if it feels a bit annoying waiting for (and paying for) the check. As an additional point, make sure all luggage and supplies are packed in a logical and accessible way, because you’ll rage if you’re hungry and can’t reach the food.
There are two ways to approach supplies on a road trip. Either pack sufficient food and water to keep everyone happy for the whole journey, or plan a series of rest stops on which you can stock up. The right answer is, like many things, a little from column A and a little from column B. You should pack more than enough food for the journey in a basic sense, but there’s always a chance someone will be hungrier than you thought and chow down on tomorrow’s food supply. Make sure you’re always on the way to (or passing) a place that can resupply your hungry group.