For many people, the rising cost of living means that booking a vacation is more difficult than ever before. However, there is an option that allows you to have a fantastic, fun-filled adventure without breaking the bank.
A road trip might not be everyone’s idea of the perfect getaway, but often the biggest issue with road trips is poor planning. If you take the time to iron out the details and plan your road trip, then you’ll be more likely to have a great time.
Planning your road trip means that you can avoid or handle any mishaps that happen down the road. You can also save money by budgeting carefully and making smart booking arrangements. Here is a guide to help you plan your next road trip and make it a vacation to remember for all the right reasons.
Plan Your Company
One of the most important parts of a road trip is who goes with you. True, you can go on a road trip by yourself, but a lot of the fun does stem from the conversation on the journey. Also, if you do go alone, then make sure that someone knows where you are and can keep in contact with you, so that you’re as safe as possible.
If you’re going to spend hours cooped up in a small space with someone, then you’d better enjoy their company. Road trips aren’t for everyone. For example, if someone gets car sick, then they aren’t going to enjoy a vacation that’s essentially one long drive.
You should pick a group that can get on well with each other and who are more likely to enjoy themselves. If you have a family, then bear in mind that some young children might struggle with the idea of driving for hours from one place to another.
Another thing to consider when choosing who to invite is making sure that you have at least one other person who can drive the vehicle. While not necessary, it’s nice to have a backup driver so that you can take it in turns and make sure that everyone gets a rest. This is also safer, as it prevents one driver from getting exhausted.
The Right Vehicle
The most important part of your road trip adventure has to be the car itself. Some cars are better than others when it comes to road trips, and the wrong car can ruin an otherwise fantastic route.
You have to make sure that the car you drive is big enough for everyone to be comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with being cooped up in the back of a cramped car for short journeys, but being stuck in a car that’s too small is a short trip to misery and backache. Make sure that everyone has enough room to be comfortable.
You also need to make sure that the car is reliable. If you’re using your own car, then get a service before the road trip and sort out any issues, whether they’re minor or major. Breaking down on a road trip can cut your vacation short and, depending on the road and the conditions, it can even be dangerous. A car that has mechanical faults is also more likely to crash, which is another potential danger to your health and your wallet.
One thing to bear in mind is that, depending on the length and type of road trip, your vehicle might go through a lot of punishment. This is another reason to make sure that you use a reliable vehicle, but you should also consider how this will affect your car later down the road.
Some people choose to rent a vehicle for their road trip. This is often a good idea because it means that your car doesn’t end up with all of those extra miles from the trip. Not only that, but if your car isn’t ideal for road trips, you can find a more suitable one. Renting a car obviously carries extra costs, but it’s usually more than worth it.
Another thing to consider when looking for a car that’s suitable for your road trip is the route that you’re going on. Some road trips involve difficult terrain or even going off road, which means that you need to make sure that you have a car that can handle these conditions.
Funding the Trip
A road trip is, by its nature, a less expensive vacation option. However, you will still have expenses to factor in. The most obvious expense is the fuel costs, but you also have to think about food, accommodation, as well as any activities you book along the way.
Do your research in advance and work out the estimated costs. This will prevent any nasty surprises while you’re on the trip or after you get back. If you’re going with other people, then be sure to split the cost evenly between you. This includes the cost of fuel. You should also factor in insurance costs, as well as any emergencies that might happen along the way.
While you might not break the bank on your road trip, it’s always a good idea to save up for it and to set a budget. This prevents you from going overboard with your spending.
The Type of Trip
One of the great things about road trips is that they are so customizable. This means that you can fit them easily into your life. For example, a road trip can last for as little as a day or weekend, or you can spend months exploring the roads.
There are also different types of routes and different accommodation plans that you can try. Many people choose to drive on the open road and stop in overnight accommodations, so that they have a bed to sleep in. However, you have other options.
Another popular option for road trips is to go the more adventurous route and travel in wilder areas. You can take a tent with you or drive a vehicle that you can sleep in. This is by far the cheaper option, but it does mean that you have to make sure that you know exactly where you are and where you’re going so that you don’t get lost.
No matter what type of trip you prefer, make sure that your car is up for the task and that your friends are happy with the plan of action.
An essential part of any good road trip is the route. Not all roads are made equally, so a good road trip is impossible if you simply take off on the nearest road and hope for the best. To ensure a good trip, you should plan your route in advance.
You can find some good road trip routes online, such as these road trips from Chicago. A tried and tested route is always a good option as you know that there are going to be some fantastic views and possibly some attractions along the way.
The most important thing about the route is that you know it well. Study the route so that you don’t get lost, and take note of accommodations, places to eat, and other points of interest along the way or nearby. You should pay special attention to gas stations, so that you don’t end up out of gas and stranded.
It’s also a good idea to share your route with the people going on the trip with you and someone at home. This way, someone knows where you are in case something goes wrong.
Packing Your Vehicle
As with any vacation, what you pack can have a huge impact on your trip. It’s a good idea to use a checklist when packing for your road trip, as it might be tricky to find supplies on the open road.
The most important thing is to make sure that you have a first aid kit and other emergency supplies. Nobody likes to think about something going wrong on their trip, but if you’re prepared, then it can make a big difference. This should include a flashlight, blankets for warmth, water, and ideally a way to contact help.
You should also make sure that you’re packed with food and water. True, your road trip snacks are unlikely to last the whole trip, but they do make a big difference in tiding you over between food stops. If you know that you’ll be driving a long stretch without anywhere to buy food or drinks, then some rationing may be in order.
Finally, road trips are supposed to be fun. Bring some entertainment, especially for the people in the back. Good music is a must, so put together a playlist that everyone enjoys. You should also consider books, board games, and other portable game systems for the long stretches or stops.
Once you’re prepared for the road trip, the only thing left to do is pack up your car and get out there.