When it is vacation time in the United States, different people tend to solve their needs to get away from it all in different ways. Some people are content to follow the herd to the nearest sunbathing location, while others seek more than time spent away from home, they seek freedom. When flying in an airplane, the trip is essentially about the entire group of people and getting them all to the pre-defined destination in as safe and timely a manner as possible. When taking a bus or group tour, the trip is still essentially the same although there will be a little more flexibility and the group may sometimes decide as a unit to spend more time in one location or to visit another nearby location that isn’t on the itinerary. Only during a road trip is the trip all about you. On a road trip it is you that decides the departure time, the arrival time, what attractions are visited, where and under what conditions are overnight lodging obtained, what is eaten during the excursion and what, if any, activities are done along the way. In short, only a road trip allows for complete freedom during a vacation or extended break from regular life. There are however a number of things that should be considered when planning a road trip. These things include what items should be included on a road trip, what route should be taken, what preparations should be made, who is coming along and will you be able to afford it.
Road Trip Inventory
There are items that you should take on a road trip and think of necessities and their are also items to be included that more fall into the category of nice to have along. It is essential to have a good old fashioned paper map, even if you have a GPS unit in your vehicle. There are many times that looking at a convenient map can solve a quick problem centered around where to pull off the highway or what direction to follow. A good first aid or emergency kit is also an essential item to have along on a road trip. There is no telling what can happen on a road trip, especially a road trip of any significant length, and it is best to be prepared for anything that may happen. Other essential items to have along on a road trip are clothing that is geared towards the area and temperatures that will be traveled through, don’t forget that temperatures can drop during the night to extremely low levels even when the daytime temperature is extremely hot. There are other items like water, meals, snacks, backpacks, books, digital music players, magazines, games, gloves, and more that can be brought along if you so desire. If space allows, it is best to just pack anything you think you might need in almost any situation.
Road Trip Route
There are two reasons that route planning for a road trip is a good idea. Route planning doesn’t need to be an exact itinerary of each stop on the trip, it can be as vague just the starting and ending points along with a projected arrival date and time. The first reason that route planning is important is that it is the best way for you to make sure that you hit all of the locations and attractions that you want before your trip is done. Many people only get one chance during their lifetime to take the road trip of their dreams. What a sad fact it would be if they regret not stopping and seeing an important site simply because they didn’t know how close it was on the route they were taking. The second reason route planning for a road trip is a good idea is for safety. While not wanting to confine yourself to a set route and plan is reasonable, it is also best if someone not along on your road trip knows what time you should be arriving at your destination and what general route you are taking. This will be essential information should something happen that keeps you from showing up on time.
Road Trip Preparations
Depending on what is going to be done while on your road trip, there may be some preparations that need to be accomplished before you leave. The first preparation that is essential to your trip is ensuring that your vehicle is in top shape mechanically and is up to the task of completing the trip. All planning and desires for the ultimate road trip will be unneeded if your vehicle suffers a major mechanical failure along the way. Another preparation that may need to be done is taking care of necessary hotel reservations. While hotel reservations are not a given that they will be necessary, if any part of the road trip travels through popular areas of travel then it may be something to look into. Other necessary preparations may be out there for you as well depending on the nature and destination of your specific road trip.
Road Trip Companions
You may not know it now, but more things about your road trip will be affected by the companions on your trip than by any other factor. Different people along for the ride mean that there are different desires as far as eating, stopping, and sight seeing. Sometimes companions are unavoidable. A family road trip means possibly dealing with children. Dealing with children on a long drive can sometimes be a very trying experience. It is important to pack along things that cater to their entertainment and schedule stops that may interest them specifically. Thinking ahead as to what the behavior of your potential road trip companions will be, along with what their desires are, may give you an insight into what companions you shouldn’t invite along on your road trip.
Road Trip Costs And Cutbacks
One of the things that may affect your road trip more than anything else is the cost of things and what you can afford. If the cost of nightly hotel rooms is prohibitive to your budget, consider camping in some locations or even sleeping in your vehicle. If the cost of eating out regularly is something that your budget cannot endure for too long, consider packing food that travels well or even obtaining a small portable barbecue. If the cost of gasoline alone may be more than your travel money allows, there are very few options aside from taking a motorcycle or stopping for significant amounts of time along your trip to work on a part time basis. For most of the costliest parts of your road trips, there are ways to cutback and make them more doable. If you cannot afford the trip you are planning, do not embark on it as you are only asking for trouble.
A road trip, especially the road trip of your dreams, could be one of the most influential and enjoyable excursions of your lifetime. Driving over a significant part of the countryside, and having to listen to no one regarding anything that will be done, is more than a vacation, it is an experience in freedom. There are few more freeing experiences than hitting the road and deciding where you’ll go and what you’ll do on a case by case basis. The ultimate road trip is something everyone should experience first hand just once in their life. As freeing as it is though, there are definitely things that need to be thought of ahead of time.