It’s been chronicled by Jack Kerouac and talked about often in every college dorm throughout the nation. Road trips are adventures on the highways. How you plan your trip, however, determines whether you have an unforgettable or mostly miserable time. Here’s how to do it right so there are no road bumps along the way.
Access the Helpful Apps
As you know, “There’s an app for that.” Traveling is no exception, especially for those taking a road tour. Apps like Roadtrippers and OntheWay help navigate well traveled or desolate paths. OntheWay points out gas stations, cheap lodging, and places to eat. It’s also handy for those unfamiliar with an area yet interested in checking out local museums, tourist attractions, etc.
Don’t Blow the Budget
Unless you have a treasure chest, you’re using hard earned funds to fuel your road trips, so you need to configure out what you are willing to spend. Do your best to budget before you put the key in the ignition. Take note of upcoming road-related events and costs. Each day, check that you’re aligned with initial estimations. Otherwise, you may have to make too many detours or cut your adventure short. Use a free tool like Google Drive to make a spreadsheet of events and related costs. Access the sheet on the road from your smartphone or mobile device.
Pack Food in the Trunk
Imagine the road trip as an extended tailgating ritual. Before football games, you see fans planted beside cars with hibachis, beverages, and an assortment of foods. Packing food is a lot cheaper than buying inside the stadium. It’s similar for road warriors; the more food you pack, the less you have to take out of your pocket. Food is a necessity, and you don’t want to eat less to save money. That will make you irritable and less likely to enjoy time on the road. Alternatively, invest in a quality cooler and pack it with plenty of perishable and nonperishable foods and beverages.
Prepare Your Engine
Your vehicle is your golden ticket to adventures on the road. Your trip goes as far as your car takes you, so be sure it has fresh oil, updated brakes, and working mechanical and electrical systems before taking off. Bring your vehicle in for a check-up about one week before going on the road. Provide the mechanic with the logistics of your journey – where you’re going, how long, and daily driving distance. Of course, your choice in a vehicle matters. You could experience the road in safety and style behind the wheel of a Peugeot 2008 or another vehicle of your preferred choice.
Keep the Kids Occupied
Kids are adorable but they can get rambunctious in confined spaces, especially when needed to sit still for long periods of time. Modern devices, such as iPads, keep kids occupied but they are only useful when they are charged. Buy extra chargers in case one breaks or gets misplaced. If music is their thing, consider getting the kids a month’s subscription to Spotify or another music streaming service. The last thing you want to hear is, “Are we there yet?” so fill their senses with multimedia options.
Don’t Drive When Drowsy
Driving when drowsy is a major mistake that some unfortunate parties make. If you plan ahead and create a day-to-day itinerary, leaving some cushion time, there should be no reason to push ahead when feeling drowsy. Use an app to find a safe place to pull over, energize, and get back on the road once rested. Schedule stops along the way to stretch, refresh, and double check directions.
Find All-Inclusive Deals
Some hotels offer free breakfast, dry cleaning, and other luxuries. Particular bed and breakfast inns provide rides downtown and to nearby airports. Find all-inclusive deals whenever you can. That means scouting for immediate deals on your phone and planning ahead as suggested via an itinerary. Get road trip ideas online or chart a course based on main destinations.
Use Friends and Family
What are friends and family for if not to help when you’re in need? Chart destinations with locales of friends and family members in mind. You might be able to stay in their home or apartment or get suggestions related to cheapest rates and tastiest eats in town. Pick friends who live in preferred destinations and see if they would be willing to swap homes with you for a limited time. It’s a creative way to save money on accommodations aside from camping out, leveraging AirBnb, etc.
Marco Marlia is CEO and co-founder of MotorK, a lead generation company in Italy in the automotive industry. He holds a degree in Economics from Bocconi University of Milan, Italy. He worked for Merrill Lynch IPCG and later co-founded several companies like DriveK and Nextre. DealerK is the branch of MotorK supporting car dealers and it’s the only automotive business in Italy certified as a Google Premium Partner. Marco Marlia is the co-author of: Oltre Wikipedia (Beyond Wikipedia) and E-learning e Piccole e Medie Imprese (E-learning and small and medium-sized enterprises).