Whether you’re planning a one-day adventure or a cross-country expedition, setting out on a road trip without proper planning can be a recipe for disaster. Take some of these tips to make your next ride one to remember.
Plan your route
Before departing on your road trip, whether or not you have a final destination in mind, planning your stops and downloading them ahead of time will save your stress in the future. I’ve found that driving for eight or so hours a day is a comfortable limit, especially if your road trip involves some sight seeing or hotel stays. Map out your trip and download it to some device that doesn’t need internet or print it out before you leave— you never know where you’ll end up lost and without service.
Pack ahead of time
As soon as you’ve mapped out your road trip, do some research and figure out what to pack. Are you going on a summer waterfall-hopping excursion? Plan for swimsuits, sunscreen and light outfits. Or, are you and some friends going cross-country skiing far up north? Then, it’s smarter to save some extra space for jackets and boots. Look ahead to your itinerary and weather to make sure you only pack what’s necessary and don’t leave anything out.
Switch off drivers
If it’s possible, switch drivers every once in a while, rather than just once a day. Driving isn’t necessarily the most fun position to be in, so let people have a break. Every four hours or so is a good limit, or rather just change drivers every time you take a gas station stop or grab food. That way, you can reduce the chance of someone getting cranky and let everyone enjoy the ride.
Make a playlist
Depending on where you’re heading, sometimes the scenery and natural landscape can be the best part of the trip. Other times, you might be greeted with cornfields, grass or bland farm lands. If that’s the case, having a fueled-up playlist to listen to can liven up the ride. Don’t worry about scanning for new stations every few hours, and instead create a shared Spotify playlist, send a link to everyone who’s going on the trip and have them add their favorite songs. Or, you can create the playlist and cater it to your companions. 80s to mid 2000s music can be a shoo-in to get everyone hyped up and energized.
Keep your eyes open on the ride— and don’t be afraid to pull over, snap some pictures and enjoy the scenery. Let the windows down and enjoy some fresh air. The whole point of a road trip is enjoying the adventure as much as (if not more than) the destination.