The summer is finally just around the corner, and that means that now is a better time than any to plan what your road trip will be. If you’re still not sure what you want to do, look at it this way – the world is your oyster, and you can do whatever you want to do if you have the right circumstances. Take road trips, for example, what better way to explore than in your own vehicle, having the freedom to come and go as you please?
If this sounds like something you want to do, then I’ll cover some useful advice and tips for you to consider. There are some important questions you should answer before you hit the road.
- Do you have multiple stops along the way or do you just want to get from point A to B?
- Are you driving by yourself or do you have someone else to cover driving if you get tired?
- Splitting fuel costs?
- Are you going to car camp, tent camp or stay at hostels/hotels?
- Will you prepare and bring your own food or eat out at restaurants along the way?
- Are you able to stay awake driving for long periods or do you need breaks in between?
- How about random stops or detours?
It’s good to have an idea ahead of time if you are with other people. Compromises will have to made and it’s easier if everybody knows ahead of time what to expect. If you’re by yourself then it’s easy. I’ve driven over 2,000 miles on one weekend covering Death Valley all the way to the Redwood Forrest. I didn’t have to ask anyone, but I can imagine it would be torture for anyone else if they’re stuck in a car for that long of a drive.
First of all, you need to think about what your form of transport will be. Essentially you can use anything you want as long as it will hold the equipment you need for your travels. You can do this on your motorbike, or your car or truck. But if you’re feeling super fancy, then take a look at some Newmar motorhomes for sale. These are the serious business that gives you a home on wheels, so you never have to worry about not having what you need, or how far the next stop will be until you can go to the bathroom!
Always check to see if your engine fluids are the right amount and make sure your tires are good for the long haul. There’s nothing worse than an engine breaks down and a flat tire on the freeway or worse yet, some unknown road hundreds of miles from civilization.
Carry spare tires and an emergency kit
This is self-explanatory. You should always have a spare tire (usually comes standard on all cars) and an emergency kit. It’s better to be prepared than caught in the wrong place and at the wrong time. In fact, you should carry spare jackets in case you get caught in bad weather. I even carry a gallon of potable water and an extra gallon of gasoline just in case.
While you may want to have a true adventure – meaning you aren’t all that sure of where you’re going – it’s still important to have a basic idea so that you don’t venture too far off, as this can lead you to all kinds of unnecessary trouble.
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Have a think about how long you’re planning on being on the road, as this will greatly determine how far you can go within the time frame you have. If you only plan on going for a weekend, you may want to stay a little closer to home, and focus more on camping out. But if you have a good few days or even weeks, then you can consider going into a whole new territory.
Reserve hotel/motels ahead of time
If you’re planning to stay at hotels, it’s a good idea to reserve them ahead of time. Doing it an impromptu way will cost you more and you even run the risk of a full booking. Consider booking your hotel/motel through Booking.com, most of the bookings can be canceled within 24 hours before arrival.
Take a break every few hours
It can get very boring and monotonous while driving. It’s a good idea to stop every 2 to 3 hours to stretch after sitting for long periods of time. Fatigue can set in and will affect your driving.
Join the AAA Club (USA)
I can’t tell you how many times a cheap membership from AAA has saved my neck. I’ve had a motorcycle break down, car break down, and even a dead battery in the middle of nowhere. Just a phone call to AAA and they’re out to the rescue! Getting towed to the nearest town 100 miles away will cost you thousands. This comes free from your AAA premium membership.
AAA also gives you benefits besides roadside assistance. You can get free detailed maps and travel guides for various locations around the world. Discounts are also offered to hotels and restaurants through your membership.
Yes, music. A road trip is naught without a good selection of your favorite tunes. It’s one of the things I look forward to when I drive – more so than the destination. It’s the Journey (pun) that matters, so don’t stop believin’ and hold to that feeling. It’s a good idea to share the playlist with your companion or else you’ll be arguing about what song to play next or run the risk of alienating your passenger from your incessant singing.
Traveling with a pet?
If you’re traveling with a pet, make sure you plan your trip accordingly. Some hotels don’t allow pets as well as most restaurants. You would have to pack food and water just like you would for yourself. You may have to purchase some useful car accessories for your pet accordingly.
One of the biggest tips for anyone planning on going out on a road trip is to bring extra everything that you can think of for the long haul that you can fit in your trunk. You can never be too safe. What I have in my trunk is a pair of winter tire chains if I ever get caught in snowy conditions. I even have a striking match and lighter just in case I need to start a fire. I even have a hand ax to cut wood or anything else that might require the tool.
Even if you’re sticking to a map and doing everything by the book – things can still go wrong, and the last thing you want is to be lost in the middle of nowhere, away from all kinds of civilisation, and have a broken down vehicle that is out of fuel – oh, and your cell phone died. The same goes for battery leads, chargers, and of course some snacks and water.
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Whether you decide on bringing someone with your on your travels is entirely up to you. You might prefer the idea of going off as a lone ranger. But if you do want some company, that’s okay too. The more the merrier right? – As long as you have the room!
Here are some cheap road trip ideas if you’re traveling in the United States.
READY FOR A ROAD TRIP?