Imagine the open road shining with morning dew as if adventure is welcoming you with open arms. Imagine pulling the windows down to have the fresh air splashing on your face as the gentle spring breeze dance with your hair. Imagine clear blue skies towering above you as your favorite song serenades you in the background.
Since the early 50s, the great American cross-country road trip has been one of the most enticing dreams people have had. Whether it’s just a few days to visit the Grand Canyon or a whole quarter to have that complete Anthony Bourdain experience, traveling the country on the road was the dream of every man. And with the restrictions in world travel caused by COVID-19, this old American dream might have a daring comeback.
But before you strap that seat belt on and hit the road, here are three factors you must consider while planning your trip and nine tips to ensure that you have the best on-the-road experience.
Choosing the people you’re going to go with on a road trip that would possibly last for months is the most crucial step you have to take when planning. This trip might forge the greatest friendships you’ll ever have. Or it might be the cause of your long-lasting hatred towards an old friend. It can be the most romantic thing you’ll share with your partner. Or it can be the reason why you’ll break up.
Here are the following aspects you have to consider when choosing your companions.
- Their ability to drive. You can’t be the only one driving. You can’t enjoy the vacation if you’re exhausted from driving day in and day out. If you’re the only one driving in your group, it would be better to ride the bus and enjoy the commute together.
- Their interests and budgets. It’s simple logic. It can be chaotic if you have different plans, only one car, and zero plans on compromising. Similarly, having different budgets can also have negative impacts during the trip.
- Their skills. Having people with various skills that you can rely on is important when traveling. People with reliable stability under pressure should be prioritized. A group with one who can cook well, one who can be a great photographer and DJ, one who’s great at budgeting and communication, and one who can serve as a bouncer is the ideal one to have.
Considering how much you can spend is important in ensuring your safety during the trip. Make sure your group’s budget can cover the gas for the whole trip. Throwing in a bit of extra for emergencies and extra liters when you get lost is also important.
You don’t have to stress over the money since you can always look for business opportunities on the road. However, make sure that you, at least, have a general estimate of what you should be spending during the entire trip.
Here are some budget hacks you can follow to save money
- Pack light. A heavier and fully loaded car can consume twice as much gasoline compared to its normal capacity. On the other hand, with fewer things to carry, you’re also freeing up more seats for people who can contribute financially. If you’re worried about not bringing essential things, you can hire local moving companies that offer packages for storage and shipment of fewer items. That way, your things would be waiting for you at the finish line instead.
- Opt for local gas stations. Gas stations near exit ramps are expensive. Include town gas stations in your route to beat the system. Not only is their gas cheaper, but the meals and snacks you can get there also cost less.
- Cook your meals. Avoid the temptation of fast food and on-the-road diners. You’ll save more money by cooking your meals. Plus, it’ll be a better bonding experience for the group.
Your destination and route are two of the most important determiners of whether you’ll enjoy the trip or not. Not having a clear destination and just “heading north” can be thrilling. But not having even a structure of a plan can also be dangerous.
Try to digitally familiarize yourself with where you’re going to lessen the danger and heighten the fun. When it comes to picking a destination and route, balancing sentimental and logical reasoning is best.
Here are a few ways you can make your trip interesting and safe by planning your route.
- Mix digital with traditional. Use your online access to check the terrain you’ll be driving on through Google Map’s satellite view. Pick key stops and check how the area looks like with Google Map’s street view. But once you’re on the road, using an actual map instead of digital navigation can make it more adventure-like.
- Get your car serviced based on your route and destination. Whether it would take a few days or half a year, your safety is increased when your car is secured. Make sure your car’s in tip-top shape to avoid future hassles and complications. Bringing extra parts and emergency tools might also come in handy.
- Mark key locations essential for your safety. Don’t just focus on the free camping areas and nature parks. Make sure you know where the nearest hospitals would be in case of emergencies. Knowing how far the closest police outpost will also give you peace of mind. Hopefully, you won’t need them. But it is better to be prepared.
BEFORE YOU GO
The people you’ll be traveling with, the budget you have, and the route you’ll be taking are all important aspects you have to think about. But never forget that this trip will not be successful if you don’t get to enjoy it. Find time to have fun. Plan properly and plan early so you can have the rest of a worry-free trip to enjoy.