TOP 5 TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST OUT OF A ROAD TRIP
Road trips are exciting adventures that many families, couples, and friends look forward to eagerly. They’re an opportunity to explore new places, try new restaurants, see famous landmarks and monuments, and appreciate the natural landscape of your state —and possibly the ones surrounding it—in a new way.
Unfortunately, road trips aren’t always so fun and exciting. Sometimes they’re unwanted but necessary, like if you’re moving across the state and taking your car with you. Other times, they’re meant to be enjoyable but just end up being stressful and draining instead. No matter why or where you’re going on your next long drive, you can turn it into a fun experience for everyone involved—even the driver. Whether your upcoming road trip is for leisure or by necessity, check out these five top tips to help you make the most out of it.
LEAVE SOME HOLES IN YOUR SCHEDULE
One of the most important parts of a fun, successful road trip is flexibility. Road trips can be very stressful—especially if you’re traveling with kids—so there’s no need to add more stress to your trip with an overly rigid schedule.
It’s normal to want to plan your road trip—and you should, to an extent. However, planning out your time schedule too tightly adds unnecessary tension and pressure to a trip that should be fun and laid-back. You might hit more traffic than you anticipated. There might be a landmark your family wants to check out on the way to your next planned destination. Unexpected things happen, especially when you’re on the road for many hours at a time. Loosening your schedule takes the pressure off and allows you to relax, take your time exploring, and actually enjoy your trip.
SET ANCHOR SPOTS
Although it’s important to leave some wiggle room in your schedule, some planning is necessary. Driving around aimlessly for a week won’t make for a very fun road trip.
Make a loose plan by deciding upon anchor spots—cities, national parks, or landmarks —that you absolutely can’t miss before you head home. These anchor spots keep you moving and give you purpose and direction on your trip. However, make sure you leave yourself enough time to stop in between your anchor spots if you see something that catches your eye along the way.
CLEAN YOUR CAR BEFORE YOU LEAVE
The thick layer of dust covering your dashboard and the stray receipts littering your backseat might not bother you much now, but they likely will once you’ve been in your car for eight hours on end.
A dirty, cluttered car does not encourage a fun, relaxed environment for a road trip. A clean car will lower your stress levels and make long hours sitting in the car feel a little more bearable. Plus, cleaning out the clutter in your car before your departure leaves you with more room for snacks and supplies to bring on your trip and souvenirs to bring back home with you.
GIVE EVERYONE A ROLE
To help a road trip run more smoothly, give everyone in the car an important role to play. If you’re road-tripping with a group of friends, make sure each person takes an equal turn driving and assisting with navigation every day.
If you’re traveling with your family, delegating roles is slightly more complicated. If you have a partner with you, switch off driving and navigating. Older children can also pick up the slack in terms of navigation if they have a GPS map to follow. Some cars, like a Nissan Rogue can come equipped with navigation. Younger kids can have age-appropriate responsibilities, too. Put them in charge of organizing snacks and supplies in the backseat, or keeping their eyes out for fun places to eat, shop, and stop along the way to wherever you’re headed.
REST WHENEVER YOU NEED TO
No matter how much fun you have trekking long distances in your car, road trips are exhausting for everyone involved. Although they’re especially draining for the driver, being in the car for hours and hours on end is tiring even if you’re not behind the wheel.
Be flexible with your rest times. If you’ve planned on driving 200 miles in one day and are drop-dead tired after only driving 100, cut yourself some slack and stop at a hotel for the night or chill in a nearby diner for a couple of hours. Rushing your road trip and not giving yourself the breaks you need will ruin your mood and add stress to your trip. Plus, driving when you’re exhausted is just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s always better to slow down and extend your trip a little bit than to make yourself miserable and put yourself and your passengers in danger by driving when you’re overly tired.