In an accompanying blog post, I offered a guide of some of the most scenic drives in America. There are gorgeous views all over the country, and all it takes to experience them is the will, a car, and enough gasoline to make the journey. However, I’d be lying if I were to gloss over the fact that travel can be stressful, especially when you’re trapped in close quarters with people for long periods of time; it’s easy to grow irritable and people who started out as friends could turn into nuisances by the end of the trip.
Whether you’re traveling with friends or family this summer, and whether your road trip is the star attraction or merely the path to your vacation spot, follow these tips for a fun, stress-less road trip!
1. Research the route- Make sure you’re prepared before heading out by mapping your route. Know which roads you want to take to avoid running into boring or high-traffic areas, know which attractions you want to hit up, and know where you can stop for gas. Luckily, paper maps are a thing of the past and there are a plethora of travel apps available to help you map out your route.
2. Clean out your car- No one wants to ride for hours on end in a dirty car. Spare yourself the embarrassment and clear your car of the all the gum wrappers, fast food bags, and pet hair that accumulate over time.
3. Pack plenty of snacks- Stopping to eat every few hours can really take a toll on your wallet and also cuts into time you could devote to other activities. Make the most out of your time and money, and pack snacks that everyone enjoys so that when hunger hits, you’re covered. Some easy snacks that can be eaten in the car include bottled water, chips/nuts, cheese sticks, granola bars, and cut veggies.
4. Bring a camera- Just about everyone owns a smartphone, so it’s probably a given that you have a camera on hand. Be sure to put it to use and capture priceless memories along the way.
5. Don’t overpack- no one wants to be stuck in an overstuffed car for hours. Have everyone in your travel party limit themselves to one bag so that everything fits in the car neatly and no one feels cramped and uncomfortable.
6. Have some go-to games and music- It is especially important, if you’re traveling with children, to keep them entertained. Avoid the notorious “Are we there yet?” with an arsenal of classic travel games such as a scavenger hunt or license plate-spotting game. You can’t go wrong with a mix of your favorite tunes either- crank up the volume and have a sing-along!
7. Get your vehicle inspected before the trip- The most important item on your road trip checklist should be to get your vehicle inspected, as failing to do so could be dangerous. Take your car to a mechanic to make sure its brakes, fluid levels, wiper blades, and tires are in top shape and make sure that your vehicle is equipped with emergency supplies such as a spare tire and jumper cables.