Some friends and I began planning a summer trip last night and it provoked an instant sense of wanderlust. I really have missed traveling. More specifically, I miss road trips. To me, this is one of the best parts about traveling in the U.S. versus Europe or any other continent, really. However, I think this is something that is easily missed without taking the proper steps. Here are my five steps to ensuring a road trip will be awesome and adventurous every mile of the way.
- Go the Extra Mile: What I mean by this is that it is important to get off the interstate every once in a while. For example, if you’re headed from LA to San Fran, there is a beautiful coastal highway that runs up the entire coast of California. Google might tell you to take the interstate just a couple miles over, but Connor is telling you to take the PCH (Pacific Coastal Highway). This allows for the road trip itself, the driving portion, to become just as exciting as the destinations you’re headed to. Drive along the coast, head through the Rockies, do whatever you have to do explore from the seat of your car. Otherwise, you might as well just fly!
- Limit Drives: Doing too much driving in one day can wear you down and discourage the appreciation of the sights around you. Doing more than 12 hours of driving a day is also just physically and emotionally exhausting. Three friends and I drove straight from Norman, OK to LA (22 hour drive) to start our California road trip. By the time we were in Needles, CA, we were seeing double. Take a break, stop in to a small town or campground, and get some sleep.
- Plan Just Enough: Some of the most fun road trip memories I have are of unplanned and very unexpected moments that yielded great adventure. At times, these can also be the scariest, but if you’ve got your wits about you, you’ll make it out alright! But seriously, I think every road trip needs good, well thought through, logistical planning. However, over-planning can be the death of adventure. This ties into the first point as well — be willing to take the winding roads! Don’t plan a couple nights and have a point A to start from and a point B to end up.
- Form a Motley Crew: The people you road trip with can also make or break the trip. Long time friends and spouses are always safe bets, but don’t be afraid of the wild card in the group. It is key to have a group that is willing to make some dank playlists beforehand, do one-word stories through Kansas, and laugh around the campfire at night. Also, logistically, you’ve got to fill each car to the brim. This leads into my next step, but you’ve got to have full cars (both of luggage and people) to ensure a good trip.
- Don’t Break the Bank: Camp, split gas, go to grocery stores and buy meals for the road, do whatever you have to do in order to save money. Having a full car will help your wallet to survive a week in California or two weeks headed up to Canada. Plan a reasonable amount of nights where you can find a shower and sleep in a bed of some kind (Air B&B is by far the best option here) and camp other nights. Drive fuel efficient cars. Do everything within your power to save as much money as you can! Road Trip costs can add up, but in my experience, traveling via road trip is by far the cheapest way to go. So go!