Road Trip Tips — Few adventure memories are as fond as the ones where we just got in the car and drove. A relatively cheap alternative to flying, road tripping makes a vacation not just out of the destination, but the entire time you are out.
But how do you make the most out of a road trip?
Well, first you need the right road tripping car.
Second, you need good company, so you’re not spending hours upon end with someone you can’t stand.
Third, getting lost can be fun and exciting, but can also make you a bit frustrated, so good directions are necessary.
Since not just any old car will do, what characteristics does one look for when selecting a road tripping car? Well, with the way gas prices are nowadays, gas mileage is a big factor. You also need something comfortable because you are in the car for a long time.
Depending on where you are going, you may be fine with just a passenger car. If you’re not planning on rough roads or places where 4WD is a must, then save yourself the gas and comfort, and just take a car.
You’ll need something with enough room for you, your passengers, and their stuff. My road tripping car was a Honda Accord which we drove all over the place on countless road trips. That car was perfect for 4 people and for a few days worth of gear. We took it on climbing trips, road trips or go camping.
Which brings me to my next point, cruise control is a must! My car didn’t have cruise control. After 14 hours of driving I was cursing the engineer who decided that cruise control would be an optional feature on my particular car. What was he thinking? But without cruise control, you do stay more alert to your surroundings. You tend to not space out as easy.
When driving, staying awake is a key issue. Your passengers will all thank you. The best ways I’ve found for staying awake are eating, drinking water or soda, and cold temperatures. Even if it’s the dead of winter I will have the cold air on to stay awake. Warm temperatures make you sleepy.
If that’s not enough, then my windows go down and I get a rude awakening. I always have something to snack on also, things like M&Ms, licorice or nuts. I keep water or soda handy, in case my eyes start to get a little droopy. Then I turn on my radio as loud as I can stand it to some heavy upbeat rock or alternative music. Some people also like country to stay awake to because you can tap your foot to the beat. Singing along to the lyrics is a must, but with me, only when the car is empty—I’m not out to kill my passengers with my singing.
Cover the Clocks
When road tripping, there is an unwritten rule in my car that all watches and clocks must be removed. We take them and put them in the glove box and I cover up the car’s clock. Why? Because if you are constantly seeing a clock, it makes the time seem to drag. And when you don’t know what time it is and don’t know how long you’ve been driving, then you don’t get as tired.
If you realize that you have just been sitting in the same seat for 3 hours, you automatically get uncomfortable, your back starts to hurt, and you may get a headache. If you’re driving and you see its dark outside you can convince yourself that it is 9, maybe 10 o’clock at night. But when you see the clock, and it says 3 am, you’re tired no matter how much caffeine you’ve had.
Finding Your Way
Getting lost on a road trip can be a little exciting. But for some, it can be devastating. This is where planning comes in. Always have a map with you of the area where you are going.
Now what if you don’t have a map? Well, go online to mapquest.com and you can get driving directions from your house to wherever you’re going. You can also get maps of the areas and of the routes you will drive. Mapquest makes maps easy because you don’t have to pay for them or have a bulky map to carry around. When you are done with your trip, it doesn’t matter if they are still around because you can always print new ones off. This is a great service that is available to you.