Road trips are a very popular way to travel, and for good reason! However, if you’re a newbie in the road tripping world, there’s a very good chance you’re not quite ready to set off and spend days and/or weeks on the open road. It can be grueling, depending on traffic, the weather, whether you have enough snacks or not, etc., and you definitely don’t want to run into trouble along the way.
So, if you’re someone who wants to be off on a road trip for the summer, or even if you’re just in the initial planning stages for your very first road trip in the near future, we want to make things easier for you. After all, a road trip can be one of the most fun ways to travel, and when you’ve never gone on one before, you’ll definitely need to get some tips before you set off!
And with that in mind, feel free to keep the ideas we’ve listed below in mind while packing your bags and getting the car ready. They might make a world of difference, and help make some great memories!
The open road is waiting for you! But before you go, make sure you’re ready for the trip of your life.
Buy Tickets Ahead of Time
Wherever you’re headed on a road trip, there’s going to be some big, local sights you’ll want to see along the way, and you’ll want to skip the queues and the crowds in order to get back in the car and on the road on time. You’ve got a bit of a tight schedule, seeing as you’re not taking a plane or a boat on your journey, and a car can only go so fast!
All this means is that you’ll want to get your tickets bought and printed out ahead of time, so you can use them as and where you like, and you won’t have to worry about missing out on your chance to visit a certain place. Try to get premium or fast track tickets where you can, to ensure you’re in and out as quickly as possible, and don’t lose any time on your journey.
You’ll be much better able to factor in traffic times this way, and it’s just good practice for any vacations you may take in the future. If you’ve got the tickets now, you have far less to worry about!
Try Not to Drive at Night
Staying safe, when you’re in an area you don’t know, can be a scary and/or difficult thing to manage. After all, you’re completely alone with just your travel partners to count on, and who knows what could be out there? Not to scare you away from trying out a road trip, but this can be quoted as the number one reason a lot of people haven’t been on one yet!
Nighttime isn’t a great time to be out on the road, simply because it’s dark and hard to see three feet in front of you, even if your headlights are at full blast.
And this doesn’t even take into account the fact that people get drowsy when it’s dark out! You’ll want to be pulled over and parked well before then, usually just as the sun is going down, to ensure you’re in a safe spot with the right facilities nearby. You definitely wouldn’t want to get caught short at 3 am because you overestimated your ability to make it through the whole night!
So, make a list of the camping spots and/or trails on your road trip journey. Try to make strategic stops at these, and plan them in well; they’ll be safer than pulling over and deciding to have a nap in the middle of nowhere. However, even doing this can be safer than continuing to drive.
You’ll Need to Know the Laws, Inside and Out
Sure, you don’t live there, so it makes sense you wouldn’t be completely up to date on how the laws in the area work. However, you’re definitely going to need to research a few things: the main rules of the road, what language/color the road signs are, a bit of road specific language (if there’s a barrier) in case you get pulled over, and where not to stop.
The rules of the road are the main thing to learn here, as you’ll be spending most of your time on them behind the wheel. And even when you’re not a native, you can still be pulled over and questioned for crimes like felony speeding on the outskirt roads or stopping in a ‘pick-up’ only zone in the middle of a big city center.
So, get to know the speed limits, what a good parking space looks like, and build up your confidence ahead of time.
The latter point mentioned above is also an important matter. Even when you’re sure you’re parked legally and safely, you need to be careful about the general area you’ve stopped in.
Is it a hotspot for thieves and/or car jackers? Do you know about the local crime rates? Are you aware of what a scam might look like, such as someone trying to get you to pay a parking fee that was never mentioned before? The research will help you with all of this!
Snack as Much as You Like
Snacks are great for hitting the trail, and you’re definitely going to want to keep plenty in your car for long stretches of driving. They’ll help to keep you awake behind the wheel, and give you something to fill your belly with when you haven’t seen a hint of civilization in roundabout 5 or more hours!
Plus, if you eat little and often, you won’t be filling up on big, heavy meals whenever you hit a restaurant. You’ll be able to control your diet much better, and you won’t be left with needing to use the toilet at such inconvenient times throughout your journey. And when you’re snacking, it’s much, much easier to decide how much you have.
So, pack them in their droves (even dedicate a whole bag to them!), and make sure there’s something for everyone to enjoy. A good bag of snacks can make a good road trip a great one.
Get Off the Beaten Track
Finally, don’t ever try to stick too closely to a road trip itinerary, even if doing so makes you feel much safer road tripping through a place you don’t know. You need to take your time in some areas, to make sure you’re not missing out on the hidden gems of the place – hey, that big, tourist heavy attraction is still going to be there if you ever decide to come back!
But who knows if that little corner shop or cute, cozy cafe will be? Who knows if they get enough exposure, even in a tourist heavy area? So make a stop and head in for a look around or a nice hot cuppa; you might find the best place to get coffee that you’ll be recommending to friends and family who are visiting for years to come!
All in all, if you take a chance every now and then, you’ll come across hidden gems that’ll make some very good memories. Road trips are all about exploration in the first place, and even when you’re off on your first ever journey like this, you’re going to want it to be good.