Tips For Planning the Ultimate Road Trip

Pick a Destination: While some may argue that you do not need to know where you are going, the first step in any successful road trip is to decide where you are going. This does not necessarily mean that you need to pick a concrete destination, but it helps to at least have a general idea in mind as to where you are driving to and what you are going to do when you get there.

Find a Friend: Yes, you can certainly decide to venture out onto the open road by yourself. In some cases, a solo road trip can be

quite cathartic, as you have the chance to clear your mind while experiencing new sights and encountering new people. However, unless you are in need of some serious soul searching, every road trip is greatly improved by a companion that can keep you company and share your experience. Whether you are simply venturing across town or driving cross country, having someone you enjoy with you is not only more fun, it helps to prevent against fatigue and is markedly safer, particularly in areas you are unfamiliar with.

Budget: While it would be wonderful is traveling was free, the unfortunate reality is that you will need to make your money last until you get back home. There are a few things to take into consideration when establishing a road trip budget. First, you have to know where you are going. This is necessary not only to plot out the estimated amount of gas needed to get you there and home, you will also need to decide where you will sleep along the way and what you will eat. While sleeping in the car may seem like a cheap alternative to renting a hotel room each night, keep in mind that it is not always legal to stop in parking lots or park and rides overnight, nor is it necessarily the safest choice.

Map Your Route: Yes, you can simply plug your destination into your phone’s GPS and follow that the entire way. However, it is well worth the time to take an actual map and plot out your route. Why? For the most part, a GPS will take you the shortest, most popular route. By looking on a map, you can find roads that are off the beaten path that may actually take less time, as there will not be as much traffic and/or construction. Even if you are planning on following the GPS route, a map is valuable to have in the instance of unexpected road closures, accidents which gridlock the main highway, etc.

Be Safe: The open road is certainly exciting, yet you need to be sure that you are taking necessary safety precautions, as some routes may lead you through less than ideal neighborhoods. As mentioned before, it is always preferable to travel in groups rather than by yourself, as safety in numbers is truly a real phenomenon. If you stop at a park and ride, rest area, gas station or other spot to refuel and relax, be sure to take a moment to observe your surroundings, especially at night. Park in an area that is well-lit, and do not linger around outside. If you are approached by anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable, immediately retreat back to your car and lock it, or if there is a brightly lit area inside with people, go in there and report your concerns to the authorities. Be sure not to display large amounts of cash in public, and keep your purse, wallet and other belongings close at all times. Finally, being prepared is important. If you are going to venture off the beaten path and explore, be sure to have a full tank of gas, a few bottles of water and some snacks, as some rural areas have a large distance between one town and the next!

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