In an age where flying from one destination to another has become commonplace, the good old-fashioned American tradition of taking a road trip has become replaced by modern convenience. However, luckily there are still people left who see the fun in just jumping in a car and heading out into the unknown, and if you are reading this, that probably includes you! Whether you are heading out on your own for a solo adventure, making some memories with a group of friends, or going exploring with your family, the road trip is one of the most wholesome ways to travel. If you are looking to go on a road trip of your own, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your traveling experience.
Create a general plan
Although it’s not impossible to set off on the road without a plan, it will make the journey a little more stressful. By creating a generic plan or where you would like to travel to, and understanding how long it will take to get to each location, you can work out how much fuel it will take to get from A to B, as well as choosing the best places to take a rest stop.
However, though it’s good to have a vague idea of your plans, try to keep your schedule as loose as possible. When going on a long road trip, there are many things which can affect your journey, such as road closures and car breakdowns. If you make your schedule too jam-packed, it’s possible that you won’t always get to where you need to be on time. If you have any activities planned at a certain location, such as surfing or snorkeling on the coast, make sure you plan to reach that destination at least a day or two beforehand.
Clean your vehicle
Keeping old wrappers and bottles in your car might be okay when it’s just you using it for quick runs around town, but when you are going on a long road trip, it can be really inconvenient to be surrounded by mess. Therefore, not only should you completely clear your car of mess before you leave, but every few days or so along your trip, you should empty out all rubbish, and clean your car at frequent intervals. This will keep your journey pleasant, as you won't be faced with any strong smells lurking in the car, or have to sit in an overcrowded car.
Make sure your transport is in good condition
About a week or so before you set off, it is really important to get a local mechanic to check over your car and give it a service; this includes checking the fluid levels, breaks, tire tread and air levels, and anything else which is vital to your car running smoothly. This is important when going on a long drive, as you are at greater risk of breaking down. If you are going away for longer than a month, or if you are going to be hitting the road frequently throughout your trip, then you should get your check while you are away too.
It is also important to keep your car in good condition by regularly refilling with gas, rather than waiting for the car to run on empty. As you are going to be spending a lot of money on gas during your trip, it might be worth looking into getting a suitable credit card which will save you some money on all of your expenditure through discounts and cash back options (go to Bonsai Finance to learn more about this).
Find ways to entertain yourself during the journey
Driving for a few hours is enjoyable, half a day is doable, but longer than that can become downright dull. Even if you are heading out with a car full of friends, it’s still a good idea to come up with a few entertainment options for the journey. The radio isn’t always going to have good music which fits the vibe of your trip, so it’s always worth downloading a playlist or two onto each of your phones to make the drive a bit more exciting. On this note, don’t forget to pack a phone charger that works in your car, as you don’t want your phone to run out during your journey.
Get insurance and breakdown cover
While different states have varying rules on mandatory insurance cover, the more time you spend in your car, the more likely it is that you could find yourself in an accident. While the risk of this is small, and you wouldn’t want to think the worst, sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, it might be worthwhile getting some comprehensive insurance cover for your vehicle, so that you don’t have to worry if the worst does happen. Roadside assistance breakdown cover is also important, as you don’t want to find yourself out in the middle of nowhere without cover.
You also need to make sure that you have all of your necessary documentation to hand, including your insurance card, an up to date license and any vehicle registration documents you may be required to provide if you get pulled over for whatever reason.
Pack as light as you can
The more luggage you have with you, the more crowded your car will become. Plus, the extra weight in the car will not only slow you down, but will also lead to greater expenses when it comes to gas. Don’t feel like you need to take your whole wardrobe with you; remember that if you are packing light, you can always find launderettes along the way where you can clean your clothes. Therefore, if you want to keep your stress to the minim, try not to pack more than a single week worth of clothing, plus maybe an evening option in case you get invited to a party or go out somewhere nice for dinner along the way.