The open road is calling my name… Okay, maybe it isn’t but my fear of flying + my desire to visit new (and old) places, tells me there are many road trips in my future. Fear of flying aside, I have always loved road trips. Maybe it’s because my family took one every year. Maybe it’s because I’ve been everywhere from New York to Florida to Canada thanks to four wheels. Or, maybe it’s because Elizabethtown was my favorite movie for YEARS. Either way, I am no stranger to riding in a car for 10+ hours to get to my final destination. That’s why I’ve created this road trip survival guide – to use my experience to help you make it from point A to point B. Follow the tips below and you will hopefully have smooth sailing to your final destinations.
Things to Consider
Before you place those keys in the ignition, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself before hitting the gas.
- Is it a holiday? Do you really want to suffer through holiday traffic? If the holiday is the reason for the trip, by all means. If not, however, you may want to consider an alternate date.
- What season is it? Are you planning to drive from a sunny southern state to a mid-west or northern state in winter? That may not be your wisest move. While road trips allow flexibility, Mother Nature can still win?
- Is there any major construction going on? Before heading off on your trip, make sure there is no scheduled construction or road work that will impact your journey. This website will help.
- Should you rent a car? Just because you have a car doesn’t mean your car should be the one making the trek. It may be an added expense, but keeping hundreds (or thousands) of extra miles off your car may be worth it. Plus, you can even rent one that will better suit your needs for this trip alone (aka 4-wheel drive, bigger trunk, XM Radio, etc).
Road Trip Survival Guide Prep
Once you determine the answers to the above questions are in favor of a road trip, it’s time to prepare for it. The success or failure of your road trip largely rests on the planning you do beforehand. If you haven’t already, choose a destination. I’ll be heading to Charlotte soon, but also hope to grace Georgia and Arizona in 2019.
Choosing your stops. Sure, you can just stop as you need, but that method has some risks. There are some places in the US where you can go a longgggg time without a place to stop or use the bathroom. Almost as bad, is being forced to use a creepy or gross bathroom because you didn’t opt to stop at the nice one 50 miles ago. By planning your stops ahead of time, you can ensure there will be decent food + facilities. There may also be an attraction you want to spend a little time. This is maybe the most important tip on the road trip survival guide.
Choosing what to pack. With a road trip, you have a little more freedom in what you pack than flying. That doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to go crazy, though. Your trunk only has infinite space. Whether you’re packing for a long trip or a short trip, what’s important is access. If you’re going to be crossing any borders, you want passport + any needed documents. You’ll also want fast access to your chargers and wallet. If there is anything you’re not comfortable leaving in your car unsupervised, back in an easily portable way. Road trip survival guide hack: ALWAYS bring a paper map book in your care – you never know when you may need it.
Choosing snacks. Sure, you can get Cheese Itz and Diet Dr. Pepper at every gas station, but wouldn’t you much prefer something better? For trips longer than 4 hours, I suggest bringing along a small cooler or refrigerator bag. In this, you can have your drink of choice + goodies like a delicious sandwich or at least a homemade bento box. Using a Yeti or similar cup can also help keep your drinks colder or warmer for longer.
Choosing entertainment. I’m a Spotify girl so I have many playlists just for road trips. I like to let the trip or location guide the soundtrack. A trip to Nashville obviously calls for my 90/00s Country Lady Jams playlist. A trip to an Ed Sheeran concert calls for Ed Sheeran. I am also a BIG fan of Audiobooks right now. I feel like I am hitting two birds with one stone. I’m being entertained while checking something off my reading list. You also can’t go wrong with a podcast.
No matter where the journey takes you, I hope this road trip survival guide makes your next road trip a breeze.