Traveling is an incredible experience on its own, but something about a road trip makes it even better. Whether you're in your home country or on the other side of the world, the excitement, uncertainty, and sense of adventure are hard to top.
A successful road trip will stay with you for the rest of your life. To make sure you have the best experience possible, you'll need to do some planning beforehand.
Keep reading for a road trip guide that'll help you get everything in order before you hit the roads.
Plan the Route
Before you take off, you'll need to have a plan of where you're going to go. Some people prefer a detailed plan, while others want a looser plan that offers more room for flexibility.
Remember that when on a road trip, you don't want to spend the entire trip driving. You'll be stopping along the way at scenic spots, as well as at hotels and restaurants. Try to pick a route that gives you the opportunities to do all of this.
If the route requires a 10-hour drive, consider stretching it to 3-4 days. A 20-hour route can be done across 6-7 days, while a 30-hour route can be done in around 10-14 days.
Decide on a Travel Buddy
Road tripping by yourself can be scenic and enjoyable, but for the best experience, consider bringing a friend or family member.
Try to choose a travel buddy that travels in a similar way that you do. This means wanting to stop at the same spots, being interested in the same things, and having a similar temperament.
Don't choose someone to ride shotgun if they're very different than you are. Odds are, you won't want to be stuck in a car with them for days on end. Your companion should be able to handle you at your best and your worst.
Get Your Playlist Ready
Car travel requires music, it's a fact. This is especially true when embarking on a road trip where you'll be spending hours in the car.
The music will set the mood and tone of the trip. If you're in a city or fast-paced environment, upbeat songs can match well. When you're in more tranquil or scenic places, consider slower songs. Don't be afraid to check out the local radio stations, as well!
Aside from having your playlists ready to go, make sure you also bring the appropriate charging cables. Keep your phone charging when you're driving; you don't want to be caught in a situation where you have no form of communication.
Take the Road Less Travelled
When you need to zoom across the country, highways are the fastest way to do so. But understand that if you stick to highways on a road trip, you'll miss out on a lot of sights.
If you have the time, make an effort to hop off the highway, take detours, and explore the local places. This will allow you to get a taste of the place you're passing through, and also meet the local people.
You should also be open to allowing some spontaneity. If you see a sign for an unknown tourist attraction, an abandoned ghost town, or some other place that sounds interesting, don't be afraid to check it out.
If You Can, Try and Disconnect
Although you should make sure you always have your phone on hand in case of emergencies, consider unplugging and disconnecting (most of the time) for the duration of the trip.
With regards to maps, Google Maps is an incredible tool that can get you from point A to point B without a problem. But part of the fun when road tripping is when it's unexpected. If you're up to the challenge, consider choosing to use paper maps to help you get around.
The same goes for social media. Although you'll want to show everyone back home the pictures you take and the sights you see, try waiting till after you get back. Spend the time you would otherwise use for Twitter and Instagram to journal and be present.
Understand the Rules of the Road
Whether you're traveling domestically or through international countries, it's important that you understand the driving rules of where you are.
Some countries in Europe and Asia drive on the opposite side of the road. Other countries have speed limits that may be faster than what you're used to. In other regions of the world, you might share the roads with scooters, tuk-tuks, and other small vehicles. Have a clear idea of what to expect so you're not caught off-guard.
Keep in mind that different states across the US also have different driving laws and standards. To make sure that you understand the different US driving laws, check out USA.gov.
Road tripping requires you to step out of your comfort zone and try new things, but you also need to make sure that you stay safe.
Keep an idea of your surroundings and use common sense. If you get a bad feeling about a certain place, don't be afraid to leave and head somewhere else. There'll be plenty of other things to see!
Staying safe also means that you're prepared for emergencies. It's not a bad idea to keep some food, water, and gasoline in the back of your car. If you get stuck somewhere, you want to make sure it won't be an issue.
You'll also need to make sure you're comfortable. Bring some different types of clothes, a blanket, and this travel pillow.
Follow This Road Trip Guide and Have the Trip of a Lifetime
Although a road trip is an amazing, unforgettable experience, it might seem difficult to plan for the journey. Yet by following this road trip guide, you'll be certain that everything is all set before you take off.
Do you have any other suggestions for what should be on a road trip checklist? Let us know!
For more travel-related articles, check out some of our other blog posts.