10 Tips for an Unforgettable Road Trip
Traveling is awesome, but not everyone has the time and resources to jet set across the globe for a long weekend. Luckily, the United States has some great places to road trip, whether you go for a month or just a few days. Here are some tips that I put together after two coast to coast trips, and many smaller ones.
1) Map your journey out online on a site like Roadtrippers.
Roadtrippers is an great site that let’s you plug in exactly where you want to stop along your route. It calculates distance from place to place and shows you hotels & attractions close by. Yelp for restaurants & Trip Advisor for lodging are also helpful tools.
2) Calculate driving time.
This is a continuation to #1: you want to figure out how long it is going to take to get from one location to another. For example. If you are driving from Austin, TX to New Orleans, LA (7hr 45mi) and you leave at 7am, you may not get there until early evening, or later depending on traffic and food stops. If you were planning to leave the next morning to head somewhere else, this may not give you much time to explore. If you are not on a time constraint, this may not matter, but definitely keep timing in mind! (Also take into considering if you are driving through time zones).
3) Plan, but don’t plan.
I’ll admit it, I am a planner. I usually like to know all details about my trips and enjoy making itineraries. While some planning is fine to do, don’t hold yourself to a strict schedule. You may be tired and want to crash in a different location that you originally thought. Keep lodging in mind but don’t book until you are 100% certain (don’t forget your AAA discount! A lot of places offer great rates for AAA members. Hostels can be good options too).
4) Pick a good travel buddy.
Being in close quarters with someone can be hard sometimes, so make sure that you have an understanding and both people have the same goals for the trip. Those of us who like to be on a schedule may need to loosen up a bit when hitting the open road.
5) Crash with people.
You would be surprised how many connections you may have around the country. If you know someone in a city, don’t hesitate to ask them if you can stay there for a night! A lot of people love playing tour guide on their own turf, so you may get even more than you bargained for. We stayed with a mutual past co-worker in Charleston, SC and got to see so many cool places that we would never have known about (restaurants, farmers markets etc.)
6) Talk to people.
Let friends and family know your list of destinations because you never know who might have a suggestion. Our cousin suggested a cool outdoor mall in Scottsdale & aunt told us to check out the “bat bridge” in Austin.
7) Keep organized.
This probably wouldn’t be a problem for most, but since my car was packed to the brim with my life, we had to make sure we had our stuff organized in the back seat for when we stopped. Also a good idea to keep a “road trip” bag with snacks, journal/pen, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, pepper spray (for late night gas stops), Advil and water.
8) Be weary when driving at night.
Two blonde chicks driving through West Texas in the dark with no cell phone service and deer jumping out from every direction=scary! I would advise not to drive long distances in the dark. Situations like a flat tire are a lot harder to deal with in the middle of the night.
9) Check alternate routes.
We used my Garmin most of the time to guide us, but would always put our destination into iMaps to see what routes were suggested. You may want to go another way if you are looking for a more scenic route, or to avoid tolls or traffic during rush hour.
10) Have fun and stay calm.
Obviously you are roadtrippin’ to have a blast so when stressful times hit, just laugh it off and enjoy!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: KORINA SCHLIEPER
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire, I ventured out to San Diego, CA where I started my professional career as an Executive Assistant, earned my Master’s in Organizational Management, started a blog and soaked up all the sun and sand that SoCal had to offer. After four years, I am now back in New England looking for new opportunities in Boston. I enjoy the beach, hiking, traveling, volunteering, cooking, reading and learning/trying new things.
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