August 24th, 2017
There is something exciting about watching the outline of distant mountains grow larger, or breathing in that sweet and salty air as you near the Ocean.
Anticipation, changing scenery, and the sense of adventure make for a great road trip experience. And if you aren't going solo, having someone you don't mind being confined to a small space with for endless hours is also a bonus. Good taste in music helps, too.
In many ways, road trips are easier than flying. For one, you can over-pack...for no additional fee. Shoes for any occasion, camping gear just in case, more food than you will ever eat, or your dog- just because.
But there may be some things you are forgetting to do before you hit the road. Here are a few:
1. Make sure your vehicle is ready. I'm especially bad at this, seeing as I am not mechanically inclined...at all... and tend to assume everything will be fine if I just 'wing it'. Thankfully, I have friends who are more practical than I am.
Get an oil change, check your brakes, tires, and windshield wipers. Make sure you have a spare and the tools to change it if needed. (Something that saved my most recent trip- no thanks to me)
2. Prepare to get bored. Road trips are fun... but after so many hours the excitement wears off and you start to go a little stir crazy. So whether you are the driver or a passenger, make sure you have plenty of material to keep your brain occupied. Download music, audio books, movies, etc ahead of time so you have them when you need them (and don't have to burn up your data doing so on the road).
3. Planning absolutely everything ahead of time takes away from the spontaneity of traveling, but it doesn't hurt to do a few things in advance. If you are stopping at hotels along your way, make sure to book your room in advance instead of on the spot. And DO NOT book hotels over the phone or on the hotel website. Booking through third party sites such as booking.com, KYAK.com, Trivago.com, etc will save you money every time.
One night traveling home from Montana, I walked into a hotel and asked for room availability after seeing a reasonable price advertised online. Turns out that price was on a third party website. The women at the front desk told me the rate for one night would be $130. So I walked back to the parking lot, and from my car booked the same room on my phone for $89. Less than 5 minutes later I walked backed in, and said "Hello, I have a reservation."
4. Hit the gym. Most gyms have day passes ranging anywhere from $5-$20 on average that allow you to work out, use the pool or hit the showers. This is great for a number of reasons. Whether you need a break in your day, increased blood flow, or some serious freshening up, a gym provides you with a way to avoid that 'icky and sticky' feeling you get from being in the car too long. Some hotels have daily pool passes as well.
5. Pack healthy snacks. There usually aren't many great food options at the gas station, and there is nothing fun about being irritable, greasy, hyped up on sugar, or gassy while confined to a small space. Seriously.
6. Don't be overly worried about your time frame. True, most of us have responsibilities to get back to. But once you have gone so far, don't be afraid to take a detour. Go that extra hour to see something you'll regret not seeing later. Jump on that boat tour or train or trail that you weren't planning on and it may just be the best part of your trip!
Add Wandress21 to your subscriptions feedWandress21