You may remember from a previous post that me and roadtrips haven't always seen eye to eye...(read about my epic roadtrip fail here!)
Is there anything more iconic than the great American roadtrip? I think not! So I am going to give it another go and this time I plan on being totally prepared.
This summer the plan is to start in Las Vegas, Nevada and drive to Bar Harbor, Maine in time to start my summer job and I want to hit as many states and landmarks as possible on the way. Oh, and I want to do the whole thing in 8 days...
How do you even begin to plan something like this?? Let me show you...
Get some inspiration
If you want to take a road trip but have no idea where to start, Pinterest could be your best friend! Pinterest boards like this are full of great ideas for roadtrips, from route tips, how to make long drives bearable and how to get the most out of life on the road.
Pinterest was a God send for me and I got so many awesome ideas for my upcoming trip from it. I honestly can't rate it enough and I check it all the time to see if anything new has been added that might be useful to me.
Make a plan
Now, I'm not saying you need to plan every moment of your trip down the second - where is the fun in that?! Roadtrips are supposed to be about spontaneity and adventure! But I definitely think it is worth making at least some kind of a plan so you know what you are getting yourself into.
How much of a plan you make is entirely up to you. You may be totally spontaneous and your plan only consists of a start and an end date and a destination you want to get to. Or, you might like to know exactly how many miles you will cover every day, where you are stopping for gas, and how long it should take you to get to where you want to go. As for me, I'm somewhere in the middle. I like to have a goal to reach each day so I plan ahead with where I will be staying each night but I don't stress over timings because anything can happen on the road and I enjoy the idea of being able to stop or take a detour whenever I feel like it and enjoy the scenery around me. After all, a road trip is all about the journey, right?!
In order to have a rough idea of my route I used a trip planning website called Roadtrippers. I think it is a great resource for anyone planning a roadtrip - it shows you your route, estimates your mileage and gas costs and even has options to help you plan places to stay, landmarks to stop at or gas stations to fill up at along the way. Whatever your planning style, I feel like Roadtrippers will be beneficial to you and I highly recommend you check it out!
Find a travel buddy
Who you choose to share the journey with is possibly more important than the trip itself. You could have planned the most epic roadtrip of all time but if you have a sucky travel companion it could end up being the worst decision you ever made.
When choosing your travel buddy, make sure you are open and honest with each other about what you want to achieve during your trip. If you want to take the long way round and stop to smell the roses, you probably aren't going to want to travel with someone who just wants to get to your destination. Your travel companion should be someone you're comfortable with. Feelings on a roadtrip cover the whole spectrum from crazy sugar-high singalongs to sitting in silence for hours on end listening to the rain on the roof to stressed out road-rage in the city to just having to laugh when you break down at the side of the road because you put the wrong fuel in (ok maybe that one is just me). You should be comfortable sharing every side of you on a roadtrip because believe me, every side of you will come out.
My roadtrip buddy is my best friend. It works well because we have the same taste in music and junk food (mostly) and I prefer to drive while she prefers to navigate and snooze. Sometimes we switch roles if I'm tired or she is bored. This set up may not work for everyone so take the time to figure out how much driving you want to do, whether or not you can actually read a map etc. It will pay off in the long run.
Check your car
Always check your car before embarking on a roadtrip. It is all too easy to forget about things like oil and spare tires until you suddenly need to think about it. Even if you know nothing about cars, try and educate yourself a little before you go, you never know when it will come in handy!
If you are hiring a car like I usually do, be sure to check your insurance before you leave so you know what is and isn't covered. I can't imagine anything worse than having something happen and finding out it isn't covered by your insurance. If in doubt, always take out the additional cover. I learnt this one the hard way...
Make a playlist - or 10
This one may seem trivial but seriously, music can make or break your trip! The long hours on the road can quickly get boring if you don't have something to keep your mind occupied. I have about 4 different road trip playlists, each one is about 3 hours long and they all have a totally different vibe to each other depending on how I am feeling at the time.
I have an "Off We Go" playlist which I often play at the start of the drive to pump us up and get us excited for our adventure. This is made up of typical roadtrip songs like Shut Up And Drive, Hit The Road Jack and Highway To Hell etc. This really sets the tone for the start of the roadtrip and puts me in a good mood for the drive ahead. I then have a "Chillout" playlist for those times when you just want to sit back and enjoy the scenery around you and not really say anything. These tracks are calmer and softer, easy to listen to and don't require a singalong. They often really compliment the views outside the car and make for an enjoyable experience for everyone. Then comes the "Sugar High" playlist. This is for when you have eaten too much junk food and need to somehow burn off some excess energy while driving down the highway. Cue inner Beyonce and Broadway diva. This is the ultimate singalong playlist - from power ballads to 90's pop tracks (yes, the Spice Girls feature heavily) to epic musical soundtracks. Probably best to not play this one in traffic, people might give you odd looks. Finally, comes the "Pick Me Up" playlist. This is reserved for the end of the day when you have been driving for hours, you're tired and you just want to get to your bed for the night. This is filled with all my favourite songs that make me happy. Cant Stop The Feeling, Build Me Up Buttercup, Walking On Sunshine - you name it, if it makes you feel good, it is probably on this playlist. It works wonders and revitalising me after a long day of driving and renews my excitement to explore my next destination. It also works if one of us is feeling a little grumpy, how can you stay mad while listening to music that makes you feel this good?
Finally, enjoy the journey! From the moment you start planning to the moment you step out the car at your final destination, it is all part of your trip so embrace it, have fun and make memories!
Do you have any trips for planning a roadtrip that I may have missed? Let me know in the comments - I would love to read them!