Top tips for the best road trip
Once considered to be a less than equal type of vacation to that of cruising or flying, the road trip has made a comeback in 2020. We all probably envision a similar scene when we think of a family road trip – something similar to that of a scene taken straight out of a movie with Chevy Chase. Luckily enough, however, taking a road trip doesn’t have to be quite like the movies have depicted.
Whether you’re on board with the sudden spike in traveling via RV or just looking to load up your daily driver, taking a road trip can in fact be one of the most memorable vacations you have taken in quite some time.
I’m going to leave the destination up to you, but I am going to offer up some of my best tips and pieces of advice to make your next road trip one that you will be talking about for years to come.
The following are my road trip basics. Please feel free to expand from here, this list is to just get you started off on the right foot.
Whether or not you are a “Snacker” at home, while on a road trip everyone turns into a Junk Food Junky, and there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just part of the experience. So, my recommendation is to embrace it and worry about counting calories when you get home.
As a self-proclaimed expert when it comes to road trip snacks, I highly recommend loading up a basket full of the following:
Trail Mix - I prefer the big bag found at Wal-Mart of the Mountain Trail Mix, but you choose your favorite variety.
Snack Size – Go for a bag of the little Snack Size candy bars. You can grab a bag with a mixture, but I’m pretty much stuck on either Snickers or Butter Fingers.
Crackers – Seems basic, but some Ritz or Club crackers can do wonders if needing something salty or feeling a little car sick.
M&M’s – Easy to eat and mess-free (Remember, they melt in your mouth, not in your hand)
Now you’re going to need something to wash down all that junk food. Staying well-hydrated while traveling is especially important. Yes, it is going to result in more bathroom breaks, but it’s good to get out and stretch your legs anyway. I recommend packing a small cooler full of drinks and ice, that way something cold to drink is always on hand.
My go-to road trip beverages include:
Sodas – Don’t even think about diet or that 0 stuff. I’m talking about cans of regular Coca-Cola and Sprite.
Water – Bottles of water are a necessity for rinsing off your hands in case the snacks get messy! Of course, you can drink it too if you insist on being healthy.
Gatorade – It’s important to keep those electrolytes in check.
Now that we’ve established some ground rules on what food and drinks to pack, let’s dive into some other Road Trip Basics that will ensure a memorable vacation.
#1. Timing is everything – I don’t know why it is but leaving in the morning versus late in the day is always preferred. Every road trip I have ever taken that has had us leaving in the late afternoon has resulted in a drive that seems to never end.
#2. Time to make a playlist! There’s nothing worse than hitting those dead zones where you either aren’t picking up any radio stations or at least none worth listening to. Go ahead and spend some time beforehand scanning through the music on your phone, putting together the ultimate Road Trip Playlist! The best songs are the ones that immediately have you singing out loud like “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey or “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot.
#3. Sometimes you just want something else to listen to. Consider downloading an audiobook or your favorite podcast. I highly recommend the podcast, The Lowe Down on Life and Travel. Yes, that was a shameless plug for my own podcast. LOL.
#4. Neck pillows aren’t just for flying. This tip is golden! If you do a search on Amazon for neck pillows no doubt you will populate a huge list of available pillows designed to make sleeping in a seat as comfortable as possible. Most people only think of this when preparing for a long flight, but they are equally as beneficial for sleeping in the car.
#5. Allow for Spontaneity – What makes a road trip so awesome is that you get the chance to see not just your destination, but everywhere else in between. So, allow for enough time that if you see something that perks your curiosity to go ahead and pull over. There are so many little shops and roadside vendors selling everything from local produce to quirky little nick-nacks.
#6. Don’t overdo it – Do yourself a huge favor and don’t make yourself make that 18-hour drive in one day. As simple as it sounds – sitting in a car all day, it’s actually quite taxing on your body. Give yourself enough time in your itinerary to allow you to break up the drive into a couple of days. I’m telling you; this is something so many people skip doing only to wind up with a car full of angry tired people!
#7. Rent a car – That cute little convertible sports car you drive around town in is awesome, but not for a road trip. Whether it’s you and your spouse or the entire family, you want something super comfy and large enough to easily carry all your stuff. Consider doing a quick Google search for car rental companies near you. If you live near an airport, then you are definitely good to go. This is also especially good if you have an older vehicle that you just aren’t quite sure you can trust with such a long drive.
#8. Google Maps and WAZE are great, but sometimes you just want an old fashion map to look at. Consider picking up a map at the local truck stop of your destination. Who knows, you may see a different route you’d rather take than the way that lady calmly talking to you from your mobile device wants you to go.
#9. Prepare with a good night’s sleep. This suggestion is going to require some planning and strategizing on your part. Do yourself a favor and don’t procrastinate packing until the night before you are set to leave. This only results in added stress and ultimately a lack of sleep. Just to note, this is totally me!
#10. Lastly, be sure to pack both a sense of adventure along with a whole lot of patience. Try to not let the little things get to you… Don’t engage in road rage, don’t hog the radio, and definitely don’t make the others you are traveling with feel guilty if they need to make a bathroom break. Remember, it’s a road trip, it’s supposed to be fun!
Wherever the roads take you, I hope your road trip will be a little bit better with these tips and pieces of advice. Safe travels!