I love a good road trip as much as anyone, but my first few experiences weren’t the best because I really had no idea what I was doing. Trust me, just hopping in your car and driving toward your destination without a plan isn’t the best way to go about things. Instead, follow these five road trip tips and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll have a better time the next time you want to travel the open roads
1. Deciding What to Bring
When you go on a road trip, certain things are pretty much mandatory. Water, a mobile device of some sort, and GPS are more than just conveniences, they could save your life if something goes wrong. Aside from the obvious essentials though, you’ll need to make choices about things like whether or not to bring food, what kind of entertainment to bring, and what kind of clothing you’ll need.
Other items to consider include sunglasses, toilet paper if you have to go alongside the road, and garbage bags to keep your car clean. If you want additional safety items, consider bringing a first aid kit, a roadside emergency kit, and a method of self-defense such as pepper spray, a stun gun, or a taser. Just remember that when it comes to weapons, especially guns, laws may be different in different states so be sure to know the law before you take a firearm into another state.
2. Understanding the Law
Speaking of which, if you plan on visiting different states, or countries, you need to understand the laws there. This applies to more than just guns and weapons. For example, if you’ve been parking your car to sleep in it instead of renting a room at a hotel to save money, this could be against the law depending on where you park and how the local laws work.
Driving laws can also change when you cross state lines. For example, Florida is known for having particularly aggressive driving laws. However, while texting and reading information on your phone while driving is banned in the state, talking on your phone isn’t. Being aware of distinctions like this can help you to avoid getting a ticket when driving in other states.
3. Choosing the Right Vehicle
In some cases, you may not have a choice when it comes to choosing what vehicle you’re going to take on your road trip. However, if you do have a choice, realize that the vehicle you pick can have a big impact on how much you enjoy your trip.
One time I went on a road trip with a friend in his SUV because we thought having more room was better. Turns out we didn’t need the extra space and just ended up paying more for gas. It was a bad decision that we should have put more thought into before taking off.
Even though things didn’t work out for me that time, having enough space for all of your supplies is a big deal. This means that taking a car like the Mazda MX-5 that has literally no backseat isn’t ideal for a lengthy road trip.
Reliability is also something to consider. Generally speaking, the more reliable the road trip vehicle you choose, the better. This is because the more you drive the greater your chances of having a breakdown. The number of miles the car you pick has on it is also a factor in this as well.
4. Consider Car Shipping
Before going on a road trip, ask yourself whether or not you’re prepared for a two-way trip. It can be very easy to forget that once you reach your destination, you’ll have to drive all the way back home. In some cases, this can be more trouble than it’s worth. If you feel this way, then I would suggest hiring a company that ships cars to deliver your vehicle back to your home then take an alternate mode of transportation such as a plane, bus, or ride service. While this is the more expensive option, it can help you to save time and keep you from becoming burned out from your road trip.
Keep in mind that there are two types of car transportation services: open carrier and closed container. An open carrier is more common and cheaper though your car will be exposed to the elements on top of a car carrier transport. If you want to keep your car safe from road debris and bad weather, then choosing a closed container is a better option though it is more expensive.
5. Plan Your Stops
While it can be exciting to just take off driving and see what happens, it can lead to problems later that you may not want to deal with. To overcome this, the best course of action is to plan all of your stops. This includes both the places you’ll be sleeping as well as any stops you’ll need to make for snacks and bathroom breaks.
Stay Smart and Stay Safe
The more you plan out your road trip, the more fun it will be. At least that’s always been my experience. The more thought you put into your trip; the fewer things will go wrong. Just because road trips are an adventure doesn’t mean that you should throw caution to the wind and be reckless about them. Always put safety first and have a backup plan in case things don’t work out and you’ll have better road trips. It’s that simple.