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Top Ten Road Trip Travel Tips

Top Ten Road Trip Travel Tips

Is there anything more beautiful than a road? A ribbon of endless potential stretching out before you, beckoning you forward towards the horizon and an unknown future? 

Road trips are a quintessential right of passage for the traveler. Much different than zooming across continents in a plane, road trips slow you down and put you in control of your itinerary, allowing for impromptu stops and vagaries of the imagination. To get the maximum amount of fun out of your road trip with the least amount of pain, follow these essential tips:

  1. Music is the most important part of your road trip. Forget your map before you forget your music; you can buy a map at a gas station, but leaving home without a fully stocked selection of music is road trip suicide. Bring a very large variety, and make sure everyone in the car gets a turn choosing their favorite tunes. Or play “Two Tunes and You’re Out,” where each rider picks a CD and after two tracks, the car votes on listening to the whole thing or trying something new.
  2. Snacks are second only to music as a road trip necessity. Not only useful for satisfying hunger, snacks cure boredom, especially if they take a while to eat, like gummy worms or beef jerky. If you have females in the car, do not neglect to bring chocolate. A cooler full of picnic items and pop can cut your expenses down by providing lunch every day as well.
  3. Frequent stopping is important to make sure you don’t go crazy as you are driving across Kansas, for example, and besides you didn’t take a road trip to get from A to B but to experience the world in-between. Stop at gas stations, rest stops, viewpoints, and of course, any freakish roadside attractions you come across. You may arrive a day later, but with all the sweet new experiences, you will be glad you did.
  4. Speaking of stopping, some of the best things about road trips are the weird restaurants and roadside diners you come across as you travel. Sure, it would be easy, cheap and familiar to hit the McDonald’s drive-thru, but why have a Big Mac when you could eat at Harry’s House of Ham Hocks?
  5. Friends will make your trip exponentially better. Driving alone will get you to crazy and back, but having friends in the car to share the sites and laugh at the pitfalls with is right up there with music and snacks on the road trip necessity scale.
  6. Get a good map. After you have your music, snacks, and friends, grab a good map of the entire area you will be traversing which should cost about $5 at a discount store. Give it to the rider in the passenger seat (aka the navigator and music master) to highlight the route as you drive so you can remember it later.
  7. Plan but be flexible. You want some idea of where you are headed, but don’t schedule yourself so tight that you don’t have time to stop for the World’s Biggest Ball of Worms. Factor in an extra travel day just for random excursions, and don’t forget that driving 60 miles means different things in different places and may take 45 minutes in flat Texas or three hours in curvy Nova Scotia.
  8. Coffee is necessary for road trip survival, and is always a good excuse to stop and refuel, so to speak. You can also carry canned or bottled coffee beverages with you to crack open in case of eyelid emergency.
  9. Don’t run out of gasoline. While this seems like a no-brainer, there are many places in the USA, for example, where you travel a hundred miles or more with no service stations. When in doubt, go ahead and fill up.
  10. Be safe and smart. Above all else, follow this rule. Tired driving is worse than drunk driving. Pull over for a catnap, or better yet call it quits for the night. Rest stops are fine in the day, but at night can be questionable at best- use your good judgment and always veer on the side of safety even if it means spending a few extra bucks or minutes. Your safety is worth it.

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