One of the best ways to break up the doldrums of summer is with an exciting road trip. Planning a fun road trip is both a skill and an art. Do it right and you'll have an unforgettable adventure. Done wrong, all you've got is an endless slog in the car. Here are some tips to help make your summer road trip a fun one, not a flop.
Nobody enjoys the stress of racing against the clock to get to your destination in time. That's why the best road trips are the meandering ones, where you have time to take the scenic detour or to stop at a ridiculous road side attraction. Give yourself that extra hour, or day, and keep your itinerary loose to leave room for spontaneity.
The best adventures are the ones you didn't plan for, and this is especially true when it comes to road trips. This is one trip that is all about the journey, so if you see an enticing distraction, then go for it! Whether it's a scenic viewpoint, the world's biggest ball of yarn or fresh strawberries, you won't regret taking the time to discover something new.
It's just not cool. Even for people who genuinely enjoy driving, more than four hours at the wheel can feel like a marathon. Make a plan to switch off drivers every few hours. The non-drivers aren't off the hook either: it's their job to play official road trip navigator/photographer/DJ.
Everyone has a different idea of what the perfect road trip music is, but one thing is clear: you don't want your rollicking good time to be interrupted by radio commercials and static. Burn a CD, make a playlist on your phone or find some other way to make sure that you've got the perfect, upbeat driving music.
Long trips and hot weather can both wreak havoc on cars that haven't been properly maintained. Before you set out on the road get your car checked out for any potential issues. Make sure your oil has been changed recently and that you have your spare tire and a roadside maintenance kit in the trunk. Make sure to keep an eye on the fuel gauge as well. Running out of gas in the middle of nowhere is a real bummer.
Being hungry on the road is not fun, especially when the only options for miles are salty fast food chains. Sticking to healthier fare will help you feel energetic and less bloated. Bring along a cooler filled with sandwiches, snacks and cold drinks so that you can eat on your own timetable.
Years from now all you will have are your memories, so be sure to take lots of pictures and even videos of your road trip adventures. Make sure you aren't the only one taking them either; experiencing the trip from another point of view adds to the enjoyment when you look back months and even years later. If you have kids, give them disposable cameras and tell them to go crazy! Its always fun to see what they consider to be interesting highlights.
We depend on our phones for everything these days, from navigation to music to calling for help in an emergency. Using your GPS can wear down the battery fast, so bring a car charger for your phone to make sure you can stay connected!
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Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.
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