Going on a road trip can be the experience of a lifetime… or a big disappointment. It all depends on whether or not you’re truly ready for this type of adventure. There’s no doubt that you can have an amazing time exploring new places, meeting all sorts of people and learning about different customs and lifestyles. Traveling the world can give you an immense sense of freedom and enrich your life in so many ways.
There’s something extremely thrilling about packing your bags and simply soaring into the unknown. But the excitement can soon wear off and the road trip you’ve been dreaming of for so long can leave you feeling a bit underwhelmed if you don’t know how to play your cards right. All road trips have the potential of becoming great stories to tell your grandchildren, so if you want to avoid a disappointing scenario and turn your road trip into an unforgettable experience, here’s what you need to do.
Plan your itinerary
Road trips are exciting especially because they leave a lot of room for spontaneity. You have the freedom to change your mind along the way if you feel like it and do whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s the unexpected that makes the escape that much more enticing. However, you can’t leave it all to chance, so there has to be some planning involved. You must set a starting point and a destination for your journey and estimate the time you’ll spend on the road. You don’t have to calculate every single mile, but you must have a rough idea about the stops you want to make and what you want to see.
It’s a good idea to do a bit of research and get informed about road conditions, driving recommendations, gas stations and other shortstops you can make along the way. The more you know, the easier it will be to adjust your route and stay safe during your trip.
Have a backup plan
Technology can make your life easier on a road trip, but it can also let you down when you most need it. In your travels, there’s a great chance you’ll come across many areas in which you’ll have no cell service. You can’t always rely on your GPS to guide you in the right direction, so go back to the basics and bring along a good old map to get you out of trouble – and learn how to read it, of course.
Other safety measures include first aid kits, water, blankets and a car tool kit in case your car breaks down and you suddenly get the chance to test your mechanic skills. And why not be extra cautious and bring a tent with you, so you can set camp if you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. Besides, it can be a lot of fun to ditch traditional accommodation and sleep under the starry sky.
Get your car ready
The car you drive is the one thing that can make or break your road trip. Needless to say, you must have a good reliable car that can withstand less than perfect road conditions and ensure a smooth and safe journey for you and the passengers as well, if you decide to travel in a group. Depending on the length of your trip and how many people will be in the car, you’ll need a lot of cargo space to carry all the necessary items. Remember to have the car thoroughly checked before you start your journey, so you don’t face unpleasant surprises down the road.
Snap some pics
You’ll surely want to remember all the special moments from your road trip and share them with your loved ones, so have your camera ready and snap some pics. Memories can fade away, but the pictures will always remind you of the wonderful times you had.
If you’re really passionate about photography, a road trip is a great opportunity to take amazing shots and practice your hobby. Of course, you should come equipped with some extra gear like a tripod and a lens for night sky photography, so you can capture nature’s wonders long after the sun has set. You can check Exploration Junkie for some awesome photography equipment, to make sure you have everything you need. You’ll probably return home with enough photo material to curate an exhibition.
Music vs enjoying the silence
The open road and great tunes are the ideal recipes for road trip success. Music can set the right mood for those long drives and make your journey much more pleasant. You’ll spend many hours behind the wheel, so make sure you come prepared with a long playlist to keep you entertained. But you can also check out local radios and broaden your musical horizons.
However, there are some people who believe that music can interfere with the travel venture and make you miss out on the joys of exploring new settings. If that applies to you, feel free to drive in silence and don’t let the music get in the way of living an authentic experience. It all comes down to personal preferences in the end.
Get off the beaten track
A road trip isn’t about getting from point A to point B and ignoring everything that happens in between. It’s more about the journey than the destination. Taking the highway can be a faster and safer option and some of them do offer scenic views that are worth seeing. But most times, driving on the highway can be very boring and that’s not what you’re after when you go on a road trip.
Every once in a while, you should get off the highway and get ready to explore. It’s the path less travelled that will offer the adventure you are seeking out. You’ll be able to visit amazing new places that will surprise you, meet interesting people and discover things that otherwise would still be hidden. Let your instinct guide you and you won’t regret it.