Just one thing. Before you take off for some summer fun, think it out a little first. Road trips are awesome, but like any kind of travel, they pose problems all their own. A little planning now can save you a ton of hassle later. We’ve got the top ten tips and tricks to make sure your road trip is a blast.
- To rent or not to rent? Worried your car won’t make it from one end of the country to the other? Don’t spend your entire trip checking engine lights and worrying about breakdowns. If your car is in good shape, then roll with it. Otherwise, get a rental. You can find coupons on most rental companies’ websites or just do an internet search. Rent one for a week or more and chances are you’ll get a discount. It’s worth the extra money for a rental if it means you can relax and enjoy the trip.
- Map it out. Got a destination in mind? Awesome. Now plug it into Google Maps and see what happens. Chances are you’ll be offered more than one route. Pick the one that’s best for you and the people you’re driving with. You can always change it along the way, but at least you’ll have an idea of where you’re going, how to get there, and when you’ll arrive. It will save you a ton of headaches and even arguments, which means your fun road trip can stay fun.
- Roadside Attractions. Remember, the fastest route is not always the best one. Sure, highways are great. They get you where you want to go quickly and without a lot of bumps in the road. But you also breeze right past all those cute little diners, Route 66 museums, and offbeat places you might only come upon once-in-a-lifetime. You don’t want to miss every roadside attraction just to save on time. So get off the highway once in a while and take a few back roads. That’s what road tripping is all about.
- Solo or team tag. Sometimes taking a road trip alone is a great idea. It gives you time to think and get away from the rest of the world. But sometimes you want your friends with you, especially on long trips. Driving with just one other person can help break up the monotony of getting from point A to point B, and you can switch the driving on and off so no one gets too tired. Oh yeah, those roadside stands you don’t want to miss? You’ll have someone to share the memories with.
- Reservations. Making reservations on a road trip might sound like the kind of thing you want to avoid, after all, where’s the spontaneity that road trips conjure up? Trust us when we tell you this can be a huge mistake. Yes, spontaneity is great, but hotels fill up fast and popular attractions often get sold out. Want to visit Alcatraz? You’ll need to book at least a few days ahead of time, maybe even months. Just knowing that and planning ahead can make all the difference.
- Gas stations. Traveling down the highway, you shouldn’t have any problems finding a gas station. But get on the beaten path and things can get difficult. Yes, you’ll still be able to find gas stations, but they might be fewer and farther in between. If you get down to a quarter of a tank, don’t pass up that gas station coming up on your right even if it looks a little dingy. You might not see another one for the next hundred miles. Filling up now means not running out of gas later. Just for good measure, have an extra gallon in your trunk, just in case.
- Snacks. Food can get pricey, especially if you’re someone who’s always hungry or you’ve got a lot of mouths to feed. Instead of stopping somewhere every time your stomach grumbles, stock up on snacks before you even leave on your trip. Head to a big chain discount store and fill up a bag with protein bars, fruit, and water bottles, or whatever it is you crave when cruising down the open road. You’ll save tons of money in the long run, which means you can spend more money on souvenirs and attractions.
- Safety first. Okay, here’s where things get real. You know those long dark roads you’ve been dying to explore? They can also be dangerous. Animals can jump out in front of your car, flat tires happen anywhere, and sometimes that little noise your engine was making turns into something bigger. Make sure you’ve got the basics — road flares, extra water, and at least a gallon of gas. And make sure someone knows where you’re going and when you should arrive, that way if something goes wrong, someone will know where to look for you.
- Music and podcasts. You can’t always rely on the radio, even satellite radio, especially going through deserts and mountains. Get your music and podcasts set up in advance so you don’t have to go searching when your tunes cut out. Better yet, make the ultimate playlist and get it started as soon as you leave. That way you won’t have to give it a second thought. You can just focus on you and the road, which is how it should be on a road trip.
- Camp out. It might not sound glamorous, but camping out is actually a great way to save money. You don’t even need a tent, just sleep in your car. It’s fun, adventurous, and there are campsites literally all over the world. No matter where you go, you’ll know there’s somewhere for you to sleep. Even better? Most campsites offer toilets and showers. A little cleaning up will help rejuvenate you and get you to ready for that next stretch of road.
Road trips are the ultimate summer adventure. Get ready to take yours now. When you get back, make sure you’ve got a way to keep those memories alive. What’s the point of seeking adventure if you forget all about it once it’s over?
Photos and scrapbooks make great souvenirs, but Newverest Trek Scratcher is interactive. Scratch off the places you visited and start planning next summer’s road trip. It’s never too early to start dreaming of your next journey. What will you cross off your bucket list?