Road trips are one of the great American traditions. Whether it be for a coming of age test of freedom, the first steps to a life-changing move, or just the vacation of a lifetime, road trips often signal the defining moments of our lives. There is no better way to see the country than to spend a day or two driving through it, experiencing the back roads, small towns, and rest stops that make this country quirky and unique.
That being said, road trips also have the potential to take an unfortunate wrong term and can quickly become one of the most challenging tests of patience. Having taken many road trips in the past, some that ended with stories I’ll tell my grandkids and others I have blocked out of memory completely, I’ve realized that a successful road trip depends on a few things. Here are the most important things to keep in mind when you are planning a road trip. Following these road trip tips will keep the fun level high and the headaches in the rearview mirror, so read closely!
Take Your Time
There is nothing worse than being stuck in the car cross country while also being in a hurry to get where you are going. Trying to rush a road trip can lead to anything from awkward silence to full-on road rage, so it’s best to avoid any need to keep the pedal to the floor. By budgeting enough time to get where you are going, you avoid this before it becomes an issue. Remember that the longer the trip, the more likely unexpected stops will slow you down, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Take The Scenic Route
A big part of budgeting enough time should including prioritizing your route to include interesting break spots. If you have the luxury of enough time, make sure to plan a side trip or two so that you have checkpoints to look forward to along the way that break up the drive into more manageable chunks. If you have to get where you are going on a particular schedule, finding restaurants and quick attractions can similarly keep you from fixating on how far you still have to go.
Keep Everyone Entertained
If you are traveling with friends or family, you must ensure everyone in the car has the entertainment to keep them busy while they are not driving. To rely on a conversation for more than a few hours can put a strain on the situation, and sometimes the radio just doesn’t cut it. One bored passenger can end up being a nightmare for the entire car, so be sure that everyone has a reliable (and quiet!) way to pass the time. Low on electronics and want to be more social? There are a variety of games you can play as a car that are wholesome and don’t create the opportunity for arguments. The first is the license plate game, which is played by making a list of the fifty states and attempting to spot and call out a license plate for all of them. Can you spot them all before you get to your destination? The other game that passes the time well is the alphabet game, where players attempt to spot and call out words that are written as you drive by which start with each of the letters of the alphabet. The catch? You must move from one to the next in order!
Pick Healthy Snacks
Road trip snacks can be almost as important as directions when it comes to traveling long distances in a car. Avoiding regular stops for food can save money and allow you to be more efficient with your time. Choosing foods that are greasy, sugary, or otherwise, leave you feeling gross, however, can make even the perfectly planned trip take a turn for the worst. Pick snacks that keep you feeling great while still effectively keeping hunger at bay. This advice comes with the obvious exclusion for your favorite candy, however, which you are encouraged to eat in moderation!
Road trips have the potential to be some of the most epic journeys we will take in life. Hitting the road with a well thought out plan and seeing the country by car is one of the great American traditions that has withstood the test of time. To maximize your fun and limit the risk that your trip goes south, be sure to do your homework and plan using the tips outlined here. Now get out there, see the world, and don’t forget to take pictures!