Need a road trip before your summer ends? I know I do.
Tara Waechter gives some road trip tips…
- Choose Wisely
If you can choose who you’re traveling companions will be, choose wisely. It’s amazing how often people who barely know each other or who frequently argue will decide to go on a road trip together. Road trips are the ultimate litmus test of compatibility – being in a car together day after day can test even the strongest of bonds. Pick travel buddies who you’re very sure will be a good match to your personality and travel style.
- Where are we heading?
Select a destination that everyone is excited about. Anything less than a unanimous decision guarantees indifference, less patience when things go wrong (like taking the wrong turn or running dangerously low on gas), and less fun for everyone overall due to the one traveler (or more) who doesn’t really want to go to Wally World.
- Take your Time
Plan lots of pit stops, sightseeing, and other activities for the trip itself. Every time I hear of someone planning a 13-hour haul peppered with a few bathroom breaks and a steady diet of MickyD’s, I cringe. Since when are vacations an opportunity to torture your family? A road trip should be about the journey as much as the destination. If your priority is getting there quickly, fly!
- Make a plan
Do the necessary homework. If you’re traveling somewhere that’s popular, make reservations instead of crossing your fingers and hoping luck will smile on you. If your car hasn’t seen a mechanic in the last month, take it in for a visit. If you’re uncertain about the safety of your home or some of the places you’ll be visiting, sort it out before you go.
- Learn to Pack
Pack with your brain, not your heart. Although you may be tempted to bring everything and the kitchen sink, realize you’re not traveling to Siberia (or are you?) You can get a lot on the road if necessary, so there’s no reason to squeeze your best friend between a cooler and a beach chair.
- Bring a huge playlist
Spice up your trip with plenty of entertainment including road trip games, movies (movies and a DVD player are essential if you have young children, if only to give you an hour or more off from the inevitable “Are we there yet?”), and music. Making a road trip soundtrack for your vacation is not only fun to listen to on the road, it’s entertaining just selecting the songs before you go. Make sure that everyone gets to listen to something they enjoy and don’t subject anyone to a song they hate.