There’s a reason that there have been so many films about road trips – it is widely regarded as the ultimate way to get away from the routine of daily life and do something completely different. However, the idealised version that you see in films doesn’t reflect the reality of being on the road and a truly fun and exciting trip needs a lot more planning than the movies would have you believe.
The lack of a fixed schedule is one of the most appealing elements of a road trip. Anyone whose normal life is governed by schedules, commitments and a daily routine that doesn’t have a huge amount of flexibility will appreciate the opportunity to take a trip that isn’t governed by tight deadlines and excessive scheduling.
But there are some things you need to do to prepare for a road trip in order to ensure that you have an amazing time. Although you don’t want to stress yourself out by planning your trip down to the last detail, there are a few things you can do before you go to ensure you have a great trip without any stress:
Give Your Vehicle A Once-Over
Whether you’re taking to the open road in a vintage convertible or a campervan that will serve as a place to stay overnight, you want to be sure that you won’t have to worry about whether you will make it to your next stop. Before you leave, it’s important to check your tires, top up your oil, and make sure your radiator and washer bottles are all full up.
Making sure your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition will give you peace of mind as you set off on your great adventure, so it’s a good idea to have break-down cover in place as well. A road trip is a time to be wondering which interesting attraction you want to visit next, not whether you’ll even make it to the next stop or not.
Be Realistic About How Far You Can Go in A Day
Unless you are planning to drive from dawn until dusk, it’s important to think about how far you can realistically travel in a day. If you have a particular destination in mind, then divide up your days by allocating no more than five or six hours to actually travelling in any given day and bear in mind that you will encounter hold-ups and stretches where you cannot travel safely at the speed limit.
Use a route planner to get rough timings and don’t forget to programme in the time you are likely to be travelling so that you can get information about local traffic. These can also give you information about places that you might want to stop on the way – you can check beauty spots, nice places to have a picnic, and even facilities such as petrol stations and toilets enroute to make sure you aren’t caught short in the middle of nowhere.
Make a List
The ideal road trip usually lies somewhere between complete spontaneity and strict scheduling, so think about what you want to do before you leave. You may be happy to see where the road takes you, even if that means wild camping some nights, or you may want to ensure that you plan a route that has B and Bs or hotels on the way.
Being clear about what is important to you will make for a much more enjoyable road trip, and this is especially true the more people there are on the trip. Planning a road trip can be a fun part of the process and doing a little research might lead you to find some places that you wouldn’t otherwise have discovered.
A road trip is a chance to take a break from your usual routine and let yourself be guided by how you feel in the moment. A little careful planning can make that much more enjoyable and give you the road trip of a lifetime.