With summer almost here, it’s time to start planning the road trip you’ve been talking about. Road trips have always been a part of Americana culture—hopping into the van with friends and exploring the nooks and crannies of this country we call home.
With the anticipation of a fun adventure lying ahead, it’s easy to forget about the things that could potentially cause major stress, say, getting a flat tire. Here are 10 tips that can help ensure you have the best road trip this summer.
1. Set a Date
Commitment to being on the road for a long time can be the hardest part of the process. Some people might question your long-term plans or goals, or how you’re going to make money, but don’t let them second-guess yourself. Pick a date, put it in your calendar, and start planning your road trip.
2. Create a Budget
Traveling can be expensive, especially at the beginning of your trip when you’re driving by so many cool and different spots, it’s easy to want to buy everything. With all of your money saved up, you will want to create a daily budget and spending goal for the entire trip. You also want to make sure that you have enough money for an emergency situation—like taking your car or van to a mechanic.
3. Get Your Whip Checked Out
Before embarking on the road trip of a lifetime, it is of the utmost importance to get your vehicle checked out. Get an oil change, make sure you have a spare tire, and take care of any repairs that might give you grief on the road. If it’s a long road trip, you will more than likely hit some car trouble, but getting things checked out can help ensure that none of those things will be major.
4. Pack Less Than You Think You Should
Packing can be fun, especially when everything has a specific place in your vehicle. Still, you’ll want to resist over-packing. That perfectly sorted trunk of yours will soon turn into a tornado of dirty laundry and personal items that seem as though they are lost forever. Save yourself the headache and pack less. You’ll appreciate the extra space later.
5. Buy a National Park Pass
This purchase depends on the route you intend to take, and if you also plan to hike and camp. If you’re going to visit national parks, this is a great investment. It will get you into any park and waive the park fee. You can also use a park pass on Bureau of Land Management land if there is a fee charged for camping—it’s a great deal.
6. Create a Few Killer Playlists
Long road trips can be filled with long silences, podcasts, or music. It’s grating to listen to the same thing over and over, whether you’re driving alone or with a copilot. Create different playlists based on a decade or genre of music. You can switch between singing Journey and late 90's Britney Spears, or if you want to be entertained by a story, download a podcast series and have it ready to switch things up.
7. Plan Ahead But Keep an Open Mind
Creating a plan of places to stop and see can cut down on wasted time trying to make a decision. It can also save on driving if you know exactly where you’re going next. But, you’ll see little quirky gems that you’ll want to stop at along the way, or even take a wrong turn. Embrace it. You never know what you might see or where you might end up.