Make Your Next Road Trip the Best One Yet
Oh, the open road; that mosaic of beauty, weirdly proportioned yarn balls and nostalgia. It’s a network of asphalt that connects us all. And as long as we’ve had cars to drive, ranks of friends and families have set out to create their own bit of history out on the road. This obligatory rite-of-passage is a great way to break away from the mundane and it’s definitely more memorable than a plane ride. Despite winter being around the corner, there’s still plenty of opportunity to pack up your hatchback and set out on your very our adventure. But there’s a few things to keep in mind before you take off on your next road trip.
Planning the Perfect Trip
Not all road trips are created equally. But with the right amount of planning, you can assure that yours stands out as one of the best. It truly does come down to preparation. You set the tone for your trip before you even leave. But putting together your game plan can be hard work. It’s important to have a good starting point, especially if you’ve never planned a road trip before. Never fear friends, I’m here to walk you through it.
First on the agenda is picking out the ultimate path for your pilgrimage. Perhaps you’re opting for that all-American, Route 66 experience. Or maybe you’re heading to Colorado to hit the slopes, right on time for ski-season. There’s really no shortage of amazing places to set your sights on. Once you have a route and destination locked down, you’re ready to move on to the fun part: mapping out your journey.
Take a look at the path between your launching point and final landing spot. Think of this as a rough draft; a general outline to be approved upon. What your standard GPS spits out is a great reference point but if you’re going to get the most out of your trip, you have to go beyond the path most followed. Pick out some pit stops along the way. There’s so many wondrously weird things to see along the way. Not to mention all of our beautiful National Parks and open spaces dotting the country. You’d really be doing yourself a disservice by not checking some of this stuff out on your road trip. Don’t be afraid to stray from your path and find some fun along the way.
What to Bring On Your Next Road Trip
One of the most vital aspects of a road trip is what you bring along with you. We’re talking hours upon days of you, your travel mates and your car. There’s a lot to consider. How will you keep yourself entertained? What are you going to do when everyone’s hungry but you’re miles away from civilization? These are things to account for when preparing.
Let’s face it, as fun as a road trip is, there will always be a lull in the action. One sure fire way to keep your mind busy is a killer queue of music. This is an absolute necessity for every road trip. Get your travel group together and put some of all your favorite tunes into a playlist. And if you’re into it, pick out some interesting podcasts to listen to as well. Either way, don’t forget to download them to your phone so you don’t need data to stream them.
Games are another way to pass the time, especially if you have little ones aboard. Yes, there’s the classic “I spy” but there’s a slew of other car games you can research up on too. One of my family’s favorites was ABC. Basically you work through each letter of the alphabet and whoever finds a street sign for any given letter wins that round. Another great game is Contact. One person gives the rest of the group a letter and they have to try and guess what the word is by asking for hints. The person who knows the word will respond with a yes or a no while guessing what that person thought their word was.
- Word Creator: My word starts with an A.
- Guesser: Is your word a fruit?
- Word Creator: No, it’s not an apple.
At any time, if a guesser says a hint and another person thinks they know the word, they can yell contact and if they say the same word, the word creator must give them a second letter.
- Guesser 1: Is your word a creature from outer space?
- Guesser 2: Contact!
- Guesser 1 & 2: Three, two, one… Alien!
- Word Creator: okay, so the letters are “AR”.
Once someone guesses the word, the game is over. It’s a funny game that really makes you think. There’s truly no better way to pass the time than laughing with your favorite people.
There are a few other essentials you can’t forget:
- Road snacks are another must! It minimizes unplanned stops and keeps the masses happy. Crunchy snacks are also a great way to stay alert when behind the wheel.
- A cooler… For the snacks.
- Blankets and comfy clothes make for a more pleasant drive.
- Make sure to have a car charger for your phones and other electronics.
- Hand sanitizer, tissues, and towels. You never know what kind of messes might pop, splash or splatter up.
- A map or an atlas. Because, you know, our phones sometimes fail us in the many corn fields and mountain passes along the way.
- Make sure to have a good spare tire. It also doesn’t hurt to have AAA.
- Cash for roadside vendors.
- Last but definitely not least, an automatic car so everyone with a license can take a turn to drive.
Pack Up and Hit the Road!
Now that you’ve learned some of the basics of road trip preparation, it’s time to pack your bags for the journey! This parts pretty easy. But I’d advise that you veer on the side of packing light. When traveling by car, there’s limited space to work with. One thing you should definitely make room for is your Polaroid. You’ll want to capture every single moment of your best road trip ever. So go forth! Explore the weird, the breathtaking and the musing beauty of the road. And remember, the greatest treasures to be found along the way are those sleepless-nights and gut-busting laughs you’ll share with your loved ones.
Julia Cohan | November 10, 2017
Julia loves discovering the best places to eat and drink in any city. Julia also loves exploring the great outdoors with her two dogs, Vinny and Frazier. When she’s not out hiking or hanging out with her pups, you can find her baking or attempting to garden.