“Life is beautiful if you are on the road to somewhere.” — Orhan Pamuk
There are times when you have nothing to do on the weekend – tired of visiting the mall, doing grocery shopping, taking kids to the park and bored with spending a good weekend at home. We all need time off from our routine life and getting away on a long drive on an open road is the best way to get into the unobstructed mind and rediscover parts of yourself that have been lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life back home. Road trips are an amazing experience for a travel zealot who loves adventure and long drives!
You are in full charge of everything: Road trips give you the feeling that you are in control of the things – budget, no luggage weight limitations and you can pack things without worry of airport security and all, you control your departure or arrival time, breaks along the way and no airport hassle. Overall less stressful planning and more adventure..
“Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.” — Emma Chase
You come out of your comfort zone: Life gets monotonous following the same daily routine every day and road trips help in getting out of it. Getting out of your comfort zone forces you to experience new things. You learn new things about yourself by going through different situations along the trip and how you adjust to it; how you relate to people and surroundings and so much more to discover on the way!
Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. – Mark Twain
Great way to know more about your companion: Travelling with others also gives you the chance to get to know your companions a little (or a lot) better. Spending long periods of time together in the peaceful state of mind gives you an idea of what that person is really like – you get to know some new things, likes and dislikes along the way. Road trips are also great in creating a bond with your special one during those long drives. To experience something together – with a loved one – and have that memory to look back on – is a priceless gift.
“A road trip is a way for the whole family to spend time together and annoy each other in interesting new places.” – Tom Lichtenheld
Taking a road trip can be a great way to travel and experience more of the places you are visiting. Planning spontaneous trips is exciting but when you are advanced prepared for it, the better! Also, road trips could be exhausting, if you are on a long schedule. Hence, before you jump in the car and hit the road, it’s best to do a little planning and preparation first. Following tips will hopefully help you in planning the perfect road trip and guide you through the things to do before a road trip:
1. Do a proper check of the vehicle and it is a great idea to let a mechanic check for problems before you depart – Get your oil changed, refill your windshield wiper fluid, make sure all lights are in working order, brake fluid, tire alignments, tire air pressure, antifreeze fluid, and battery. When travelling with kids, ensure that infant car seats, toddler car seats, and booster seats are properly installed. Last but not least, make sure you have all the proper tools you need to change a flat in your trunk, and that your spare tire is ready to rumble. These steps will reduce the chance of becoming stranded or experiencing mechanical issues during your road trip.
2. Make sure all of your documentation(driver’s license, medical insurance, car insurance, your id’s, car documents etc) is up to date and readily accessible in your car.
3. Fill up your car the day before you leave It’s good to travel in a fully equipped and fueled vehicle for a good uninterrupted journey.
4. Look for an exit with multiple gas stations with a good number of fast food chains on the signs. The prices will be lower because of the competition, and you’ll be able to compare and pick the best option for you.
4. Drive within the speed limit as it is safer and will save you on the milage.
5. Keep tabs on the weather. Be sure to check traffic reports and weather conditions before you leave. Also, check the weather status of places you planning to visit, and then plan accordingly.
7. Carry an updated GPS and route maps for extra safety as most of the routes won’t let you use the phone data for navigating because of bad or no signal. Also, download the offline maps (google maps or any other navigation map which supports offline service) as it would help you to access the route even if you are out of network.
8. Carry your own beverages, homemade foods, and favourite snacks: Those long.. long highway stretch with no food exits any sooner and if you are travelling with kids then it’s always good to stock up some food, snacks, water, juice etc. It’s wonderful to enjoy the foods you carried without compromising on your health. It will also save you time and money on the road.
9. Whenever possible, try eating locals and avoid going to chain restaurants as you can have those anytime back home.
10. Make hotel reservations ahead of time if your trips are pre-planned. It will save you an extra penny on pre-bookings and most of the hotels have free 24 hours cancellation policy(In case of any plan change)
11. Have your favourite playlist set up on your phone or iPod for not getting bored along the ride. The companions or kids might like some entertainment along the way. Hence, Portable DVD players with headphones, MP3 players, books, crossword puzzles, magazines, and travel journals are some excellent ideas for passing the time on a road trip.
12. Go for AAA(Automobile Club Of America) membership(paid service not free!) It has many advantages – offers roadside assistance, AAA can help you plan your trip, give you books on the destinations you will be driving through, help you with routes and general planning, and various discounts on the park tickets, adventure, shopping and more.
13. Plan a route – You can use a map or the internet to plan a route to your destination. There are various sites or apps to help you plan a road trip route (Roadtrippers, Google maps) It would definitely make your travel easier and convenient. Also, it’s a good idea to plan a few stops beforehand for a scenic view, vista points, beaches etc to enjoy that short break.
14. Switch drivers regularly to ensure to stay alert and safe. When you stop, be sure to get out of the car, stretch your legs, breath in some fresh air and drink some water. It’s always nice to have someone more alert and awake next to the driver seat for a safe drive.
15. If you’ve got kids, plan to stop every couple of hours at a playground, a restaurant with a play area or even a highway rest stop as kids could get irritated for sitting long and get bored easily. If there is an interesting city, store, or restaurant that you would like to see on your road trip, schedule stops accordingly. It will add to your road trip experience.
**It’s always best to be prepared for any unfavourable situations which could occur on a road trip and be ready for any change!
Few essentials which you should be carrying for a road trip: camera(for photography lovers), Jumper cable, Spare car keys, extra cash, pocket charger, car charger, air freshener, facial wipes, tissue roll, sunglasses, bathing towel, clothes, essential medicines and anything that you use on a daily basis.
“Life is beautiful if you are on the road to somewhere.” — Orhan Pamuk
Would you add anything to the list of my road trip planning guide? How has been your road trip experience in the past? Are you planning on any road trip soon? It would be interesting to hear from you. Share your views in the comments section below!
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Stay happy, healthy and enjoy life.