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10 Tips for a Great Road Trip

By Edited May 6, 2015 0 2
Road tripping
Credit: Dreamstime [jjkroese]

Road trips are a quintessential part of a young adult's life. Hitting the open road with the windows down and the radio blasting can be quite exhilarating. There are a couple of tips and tricks that must be kept in mind for your journey though. They will help to make that trip even more memorable, and also help to avoid common pitfalls. I hope these 10 tips will help guide you along your way.

1. Selecting taveling companions

This should go without saying, but it is incredibly important to travel with friends that you can stand to be around for the whole trip. If you don't spend afternoons and nights hanging with someone then you probably shouldn't plan on spending a week long road trip with them either. So make sure you really know who you are riding with. 

2. Two is company, three's a crowd?

The number of people going on your adventure is vital. Only two people road tripping together is much more intimate, but you have to make sure you will still like each other when you make it back home. A large group helps to mask any problems that may arise from incompatibility, but it also can take away from the camaraderie that is able to develop during the trip. Another option is the solo trek, but I have always felt that an experience is much better shared. 

So with all that being said, I believe that 3 to 4 people is the perfect number for a road trip. Most cars will fit that many, compatibility is less of an issue than when its one on one, and its a small enough group that friendships have the opportunity to grow deeper.

3. Have real conversations

Hours in a confined space is a great place to get to know your travel companions on a deeper level. You can actually talk about the real aspects of your life. Not all the "how are classes going?", "Are you enjoying your job?", "How about this weather we are having?" filler conversational pieces that our days normally consist of.

Conversations on life, beliefs, and ambitions always help to fill the time between gas stations. 

4. Do a little research

I am a firm believer in doing a little homework for a trip. Maybe a gorgeous national park will be along your route, or maybe the best waffles in the state are just a short detour away.  I hate the thought of driving right past an amazing attraction and later realizing the opportunity that was missed. You will need to make stops along the way anyways, so why not make them great ones?  

5. Be flexible 

Notice that the previous tip was "Do a LITTLE research", not plan every second of every day to try to maximize the level of fun physically possible. Packed itineraries are one way to do a trip, but I find the slightly spontaneous route more enjoyable. That type of lax planning allows for a more relaxed trip, and any "inconveniences" that happen during the trip aren't near as devastating because you have no where that you really need to be.

For example, during a week long road trip through Texas my buddy's check engine light came on  while we were on our way to Corpus Cristi. So while the car was in the shop, we were able to explore downtown Austin. Of course you won't always have the convenience of a popular vacation spot near by, but the point is keep your mind open to new adventures that arise from supposed tragedies.

6. Space is valuable

Don't pack everything you might possibly imagine using. All that does is lead to a lot of digging around for the stuff you actually need, or worse, making everyone else suffer due to lack of leg room. Bring the necessities and you can pick up anything else you ended up "needing" in a Walmart during the next stop.

7. Have great music available

Nothing beats having the windows down and the radio blasting while on the open road (Yes it's cliche, but its also true). I enjoy listening to entire albums while on the road. We might even listen to it more than once if its truly a good one. The great part about doing that is the next time a song from your trip comes on the radio, you will be instantly taken back to the memories of your trip. 

8. Talk to locals

This one is obvious as well, but take the time to ask a local: "what is something fun to do in the area?" Websites and apps make searching for information easier than ever, but some of the best places and the ones only the locals know about. 

9. When in Rome...

The popular adage is a good rule of thumb. If a restaurant or bar is packed then check it out. There is a reason everyone else is going there.

Also take the time to do an activity that fits your setting. If all the surfers are out, then maybe its a good day to try surfing. If skateboarding is the "thing to do" in Los Angeles then why not attempt it?  

10. Capture your stories

Pictures are a must for me. The rush of memories that I get from going through old albums always amazes me. Whether its taking shots on your phone, with an SLR camera, or even with a selfie stick; you will be happy you took the time to capture that moment later.

The final step in to just have FUN!  



Apr 29, 2015 8:50am
If there's one step to add it would be to always keep an open mind. Unexpected situations are what forms a large part of the experience!
May 5, 2015 7:12pm
That is true! I also appreciate you taking the time to give it a read and I hope you enjoyed!
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