While they were once super underrated, road trips today are getting all the attention they deserve. Since they don’t cost a lot less, they are a perfect way to explore a country and see how it feels to live there. But, if you’re completely new to road trips, you might want to pay attention to preparation and keep a few tricks in mind:
8 Things to Consider for Road Trips
Have safety in mind
One of the most underrated tips concerns when to travel. Watching the world wake up from your car or bike is an experience like no other. Starting your journey early in the morning is very practical too. You will be on the road earlier and retire earlier, so you’ll beat the annoying traffic. Also, it’s worth mentioning that fatal crashes are several times more likely to happen at night, so it’s better to get off the road early, get plenty of sleep and avoid any mishaps.
Stock up on navigation options
Road tripping will get you through many unfamiliar areas, so make sure to have navigation ready. Google Maps are a great option since they show you nearby attractions, eating options, accommodation, gas station and various route options. However, you need Wi-Fi or mobile data to access Google Maps, but you can also download portions of the map and use them when offline. Every evening, set up your route for the next day, download that portion of the map and you’ll be ready to roll.
Inspect your ride
Before you embark, make sure your car is in the best driving condition. If you keep up with your regular car maintenance according to the user manual, your car is probably ready for a road trip. But just in case, hire a professional to check your ride, especially if you’re planning a cross-country solo road trip. And don’t forget to inspect your tyres. If you’re planning to get off the beaten path, make sure to invest in quality 4wd tyres that will get you out of many tricky situations. These will ensure you don’t get stuck in mud or sand somewhere in nature. Stock up on a few safety items as well (first aid kit, tools, etc.) and learn a few easy fixes you can do on the road.
Have snacks at hand
Food is a passenger you must let into your car. It will not only keep you strong but also prevent meltdowns and angry outbursts. No matter if you’re planning to camp and cook your own food or settle into a motel every time you enter a city, you need to have some light snack with you. The easiest option is to stock up on junk food, but crisps and Skittles won’t do you much good. Instead, opt for something that provides energy like energy bars, beef-jerky, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, etc. These also have a pretty long shelf life so they won’t go bad after one day in a hot car.
Get a national park pass
No matter where you’re heading, you will probably come across a few national parks, so it’s best to get a pass for all of them. For instance, in the States, you can get a national park pass for $80. This might sound like much, but with 12 major national parks (over 1 million acres of protected land) and over 2000 federal recreation sites, every cent will be worth it.
Listen to locals
You can rely on Yelp and other websites, but locals have all the best recommendations up their sleeve. Given their knowledge of the area and life experience, it’s best to keep your ears open when they tell you about their hometown. And don’t be afraid to chat. In most cases, locals will give travellers a nice welcome, be ready to show you the area and give advice on the best restaurants, bars and vintage points.
Make all the stops
If a place catches your eye, make sure to stop and see what it has to offer—most likely, you won’t have this opportunity again. Choosing to stick to your itinerary and not make unplanned stops might rob you of many rewarding experiences during your trip. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop everywhere, but if a spot tickles your fancy, go for it!
Keep it simple
There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “Man plans and God laughs”. Travel plans are very susceptible to changes and disruptions. You have to consider traffic, delays, fuel stops, lost luggage and much more. If you keep your plans simple, you will manage to reduce the possibility of issues. Focus on the moment and the memories you’ll be taking home with you.
Planning trips always requires some preparation, especially if this is your first road trip. Keep these tips in mind when preparing and packing, and you will have a blast on the road from the beginning to the end.