When planning your first road trip, the thought of long hours on the unending road with little leg room might make you feel overwhelmed. The idea of being crammed in a car for an extended period of time might even seem outright terrifying. But if you follow these tips and plan ahead, your next adventure will be way less daunting. It might even be fun!
1. Travel with friends
While sometimes it’s necessary, traveling alone can get lonely and boring. So, adventuring with your friends is much more fun and makes the journey go by faster. You can use the drive to bond through fun stories, chit-chat, and singing songs instead of thinking about how long it’s been since you’ve felt your left foot. Plus, when you get tired, someone else is there to take the wheel. Switching drivers every couple of hours is a smart way to stay focused and safe on the road.
2. Bring snacks
A road trip is not the time to get hangry. Pack plenty of snacks, such as power bars, granola, popcorn, trail mix, or your favorite candy to keep you going until your next meal. Usually, a mix of healthy snack and sweet treats works best. Make sure you bring enough for everyone in the car and for the whole length of your journey.
3. Make yourself at home
In order to feel comfortable on the road, bring some of your favorite things to make the journey a little less daunting. A cozy blanket or your favorite pillow might help you get some shuteye on the road, or at least make sitting in the same spot less unbearable. If you like to watch movies, bring a charged iPad and your headphones to help pass the time. Make sure you have portable chargers for all of your electronics, especially for your cell phone.
4. Prepare a playlist
You will likely have lots of time to kill on your first road trip. Preparing a playlist filled with your favorite music or bingeing a new podcast is a great way to pass the time. A variety of apps, such as Youtube, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Spotify let you pick your tunes in advance so you can start rocking right as the car starts rolling.
5. Plan your route ahead of time
Planning your route ahead of time is both safe and efficient. It helps you pre-determine fun stops as well as lets you strategically book hotels, pick restaurants, or find rest stops for when you need a break from driving. Do your research to find out which towns are safe, and where you might want to keep the windows rolled up and the doors locked. You also should have an idea of where there are gas stations and bathrooms along the way. Moreover, make sure your tank is full and your bladder is empty before you hit any long stretches with nowhere to stop.
6. Rent a car
While this tip is optional, it can be smart. If your car isn’t in top-notch condition, or if you simply don’t want to put the extra miles on, renting a car can be a smart option. Depending on your destination, you might be traveling on rugged terrain or doing some off-road driving that your car isn’t meant for. Furthermore, if you have a small car and want to bring a lot of friends, renting a bigger one might be a necessity.
7. Pack an emergency kit
Unlike the previous one, this tip is absolutely essential. After all, you have to be prepared in case your car breaks down or you get stranded. Make sure you have enough water to last for at least a couple of days. If you are going somewhere where there’s extreme weather, such as to see the snow or to the desert, have provisions on hand to protect yourself from the elements, such as blankets or sunscreen. It’s also smart to have a first aid kit with band-aids, antibacterial sprays, and basic pain or allergy medication. Having some tools on hand and a spare tire can be smart too.
Though planning for your first road trip may seem overwhelming, you’ll be grateful for all the preparation. Just make sure to maintain a good attitude, and your first road trip will be a success!