In the past 6 months, since my husband and I got our National Parks Pass, we have been planning road trips here and there. Fortunately, we haven’t ran into any major problems yet during our trips, and I’d say it’s because we plan carefully for weeks or months ahead prior to the trip. This helps us avoid any mishaps that could turn a great trip into a really awful one. Of course, there will be some unforeseen events that could happen along the way, like a flat tire or an unexpected storm, but planning ahead to prepare for all of those is what’s going to get you through.
In this post I wanted to share with you 5 of the major steps we usually take, before we hit the road. Hopefully this helps you too, for your next planned adventure:
1. GET YOUR VEHICLE CHECKED
It can be very easy to skip this part, but it’s actually the most important step! Your car is what’s going to help you get from point A to point B, so making sure that it is reliable and in tip-top shape is vital to any road trip. Bring it to the shop to get the fuels checked (engine oil, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, etc), and your tires checked (tire pressure, tire tread). Also make sure you have a spare tire and some tools ready in your car, in case one of your tires pop in the middle of your trip.
2. PLAN YOUR ROUTE
Planning out your road trip route will not only save you time, but it will help you get to your destination with ease. It’s good to plan-out your pit stops too, like where to eat or even where to get gas. Note down the best options which are along the way. This can be very helpful, especially if you like to watch what you eat or if you are on a tight budget. It sucks when you end up eating at a fast food restaurant only to realize there are healthier options a couple of miles down the road; or a cheaper option for gas two exits away.
Nowadays, people rely on their smartphones for maps & directions, but I highly recommend using a GPS or getting an actual map, because most of the the time there is no cellphone service when your out in the open road.
Having an actual map gives you the ability to take detours without getting lost. There are a lot of scenic drives here in the United States, and so many beautiful spots to check out on the way. With a map, I am always confident that if we spontaneously decide to explore an unknown route, we can easily get back on track.
3. CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST
The weather is always different in each city or state, so knowing what weather to expect when travelling is a smart thing to do. It could be warm & sunny in the city you came from, but rainy & windy once you get to your destination. It’s also good to know if snow or ice will be present en route, that way you can make sure you have your tire chains ready.
It’s also good to make sure that the route/path you are planning to take is safe enough to drive in. Some roads, especially backcountry ones, are impassable after a rainstorm.
Always make sure you have your destination’s phone number listed down, in case you need to ask about any road closures due to the weather.
4. FIND SOURCES OF ENTERTAINMENT
Long drives can be excruciating at times, so finding ways to kill the boredom in the car would be best. The first thing on my list is creating a really good playlist in my mp3 player, because singing helps me stay awake while driving. Nothing beats a good 90’s jam while you have miles and miles of freeway ahead of you. Another great way to keep yourself awake is by listening to audio books. It’s nice to listen to a great story while driving.
If you have other people in the car, try to think of games you can all play, such as the Alphabet Category Game or Finish the Song Game, to name a few. If you have kids, a good set of movies will help them stay calm throughout the trip.
Another tip I wanna add is load up on snacks & drinks that are easily accessible during the trip. It’s nice to have some things to munch on while inside the car. Also, don’t forget lots and lots of water to stay hydrated!
5. PLAN FOR YOUR DESTINATION
Every road trip has a final destination, and aside from planning how to get there, it’s also good to take note of what to do and what to expect once you arrive. The last thing you want to happen is find out you would need to sleep in the car for a night, because all hotels or campsites are already occupied. Make sure you have made reservations in advance if you want to secure a spot.
Researching about your destination helps you know what clothes, gear, and items to bring. You’d want to make sure that they’re all suitable for the activities you’ll be doing. Will there be a beach or a lake nearby? Are there any specific hiking trails you want to check out? Will you be able to go kayaking, mountain climbing, swimming? Will there be snow? And it’s also good to know if any permits are required for what you plan on doing, as well as if any additional fees are required.
Above all, remember to have fun! You’ll find that sometimes things may or may not always go as planned, but if you keep your mind open and you stay positive, you will surpass any unexpected circumstance. The goal of any road trip is for you to enjoy your time venturing out into different places, so let your trip do just that!
Do you have any other tips to add, or maybe other road-trip game suggestions? Would love to hear about them!