8 Tips to Make a Successful Road Trip
Plan your route
Most people begin a road trip with a final destination in mind; the promised land glowing faintly in the distance like gold at the end of a rainbow. I would recommend a maximum of five to six hours driving each day so that you have plenty of time to stop if you stumble upon anything exciting, whether it’s checking out an obscure but quirky attraction or stopping at a raved about restaurant.
Prepare your vehicle
Get a mechanic to check over your car before leaving to make sure that it will withstand the trip. Learn how to change a tyre, your windscreen washer fluid and oil. Give it a clean so you can restock it with the essentials. For long trips, I like to have some snacks, a great CD – or audio books work a treat too – comfortable shoes, wet wipes for freshening up and a small pillow in the back for any passengers that want a snooze along the way. Oh, and always a spare car key!
Invest in a map
With GPS on almost all modern phones, maps are often thrown into the garage to gather dust. However, in situations where you have no service, flat battery or just want to double check your route, it’s always handy to have an up to date road map on hand. When planning your route, maps may also help you spot fun stop offs or slight deviations from your straight route that give you an even better experience.
If you know that one of your stops along the road is a big city or along a popular route, it’s a good idea to scout ahead for motels and camping grounds to ensure that you have definitely secured a bed for the night. The lure of spontaneous nights in the first place that has vacancies sounds like fun but don’t risk getting stuck in a small town with nowhere at all to go. Driving through the beautiful countryside or stopping at an amusement park won’t seem as fun the next day if you’ve had a broken few hours kip contorted in the seat of a car.
It sounds simple but when out on the open road, it can be tempting to push on faster to get even further by the next evening. But it’s super important not to skip rest breaks if you want to get the most out of your trip. Stay hydrated and alert to ensure that you continue to drive safely.
If you’re driving for long distances, toll roads can often spring up on you faster than expected. Keep change in an easily accessible compartment to ensure that you don’t get caught out. When planning your budget, it’s also a good idea to take a contingency fuel fund for if you get lost or choose to deviate from the route for a spontaneous stop off.
Eating on the go
Fast food on the road is easy and convenient but it will soon start to feel stodgy if it’s your every meal. Taking a cooler enables you to have a constant supply of water for hot sticky days and grab some fruit and nuts at service station stops. Plus, you’ll be in need of a beer by the time you come to stop for the evening and what’s better than having them right there waiting for you?
What’s a road trip without souvenirs to take back home with you? If you have the budget for some treats, make sure you have room to stash them. Don’t pack anything that isn’t comfortable – if you’re sitting in a car for days on end, you just won’t wear it.
And most importantly, have the time of your life. Memories of driving down the open road with the windows down belting out a song are the ones that you’ll never forget.