If you live in the United States, a road trip should be a MUST on your travel to-do list! There are so many amazing things to see in this country, and you can literally get all four seasons at one time of the year. Road trips are always fun, but there are a few ways to make your next road trip one of the books! The CGS Team is sharing 10 ways to nail your next road trip. Be open-minded, let your excitement show, and get ready to have some fun!
#1 Make a (Light) Plan Beforehand
You likely have a time limit for your road trip, which is fine, so it would be wise to somewhat plot out your route ahead of time. At least plan which cities you will sleep in. Factor in about 8 hours of drive time each day. This will allow you to enjoy some of the stops, experiences, and eats along the way!
#2 Get an Actual Map
Google Maps is an awesome app, but nothing beats a good ‘ol fashioned map of the U.S.A! Definitely keep your app open and handy, but trace out your route with a sharpie. You can keep that map as a reference guide and memory-sparker for years and years after your return. Plus, a map gives the feel of a 90s-movie road trip – the ones we always wanted to do!
#3 Don’t Research Stops Beforehand
We love this tip from the Huffington Post, “On a road trip, your schedule has extra room, so you can afford to enter a new city with no prior knowledge of what you’ll find. Being relatively clueless has benefits: When you don’t know what to expect at a stop, you can’t possibly be let down by what you discover. And when you’re not bee-lining for the city’s most-visited tourist locales, you leave the door wide open for weird little discoveries… of the city’s true gems.”
#4 Stop on Trouble Spots
Depending on how far you’re driving, it’s very likely you will hit some trouble spots. Whether it’s a big city’s rush hour traffic, or driving over long bridges, consider a stop to explore and let the traffic die down. Instead of wasting your time sitting in traffic, wouldn’t you rather be exploring the city you’re driving through? Ask a local when traffic usually subsides so you have a timeframe in mind for exploring.
#5 Have a Few Essentials Handy
Water, sunglasses, anti-bacterial gel, and easy-pack snacks are life savers while on road trips. Make sure to stock up before leaving and keep these essentials within reach while driving. You can save a lot of money (and time) by planning some drinks and snacks out ahead of time.
#6 Ask Locals Where to Eat
Remember how we said to avoid researching your stops beforehand? Well the same applies to your dining stops! Instead of heading straight to Yelp or TripAdvisor, stop and ask a local what the best restaurant in town is. What is the town known for, food-wise? What is the best restaurant to get the town’s specialty? A local resident will have more insightful suggestions for you.
#7 Use a Gas Card
If you have a credit cards that gives you more cash and rewards when you purchase gas, make sure to have that card on-hand for your road trip. Depending on how long your road trip is, you can earn a lot of points and rewards with all of the gas stops you will be making! If you have good credit, see if there are any special offers for opening a new gas credit card account. You may be able to triple bank on all those points!
#8 Don’t Forget the Charger
Have a portable phone charger and auxiliary cord on hand for your road trip. You don’t want a lack of cell phone battery to keep you from taking amazing pictures of things that will come up as you drive. It’s never a good idea to be without a phone when you’re in an unknown place anyways. An auxiliary cord will be useful if you want to stream any music, movies or podcasts from your phone. You’re going to be in the car for a while, so you may as well make it entertaining!
#9 Create a CD for the Trip
Isn’t it crazy how listening to a certain song can take you back to a specific memory or place in time? Wouldn’t you want to reminisce on your road trip after it’s over? Create a CD with songs that you will enjoy listening to over and over (and over). Make sure to include a new or current song on the CD, in case you already have memories associated with the other songs.
#10 Take as Many Pictures as You Can
You will likely never do this particular road trip again. Or, if you do, you will be stopping at different places. So, make the most of it by taking as many pictures as you can. Even things that seem unappealing, like an abandoned gas station, will make great pictures for your road trip scrap book or photo album! You will never lose these memories if you have pictures to go with them.
Related: USA's Top Beach Towns
Road trips are a great way to explore, see the country, and change your environment. Regardless of who you go with, make sure to nail your road trip with our tips above! Have you been on a road trip before? What was the most memorable part of it? What tips can you share to make it an amazing trip? Post a reply below to share your thoughts and tips!