Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Well, that goes double for road trips. Planning your road trip may seem to take the spontaneity out of it, but it will help eliminate needless frustration. You don’t want to waste time driving in circles because your GPS is constantly rerouting. And, you don’t want to have to go hungry because the next town with a decent restaurant isn’t for 50 miles. These helpful tips and tricks will show you how to plan your next road trip.
The journey is the destination
Especially with road trips, getting there is half the fun. So often we try to get from point A to point B with the fastest possible route. We miss so many amazing things this way. Who knew that the World’s Largest Ball of Twine was just one exit away? Sure it may make the “getting there” last a little longer, but that’s what road trips are all about.
So, plan out your path. Tools like Roadside America have lists and maps of famous and hidden roadside attractions, museums, landmarks and photo-ops. A few in our area have made the list. Have you ever visited the Giant Statue of Sam Houston in Huntsville? Or taken a selfie with the Statue of the Town Goat in Montgomery? What about the World’s Largest Teapot in Navasota?
Food is as important as photo-ops on a road trip. Check Yelp for restaurants with the best reviews. If you are in the mood for something awesome, plan to have lunch at a place that has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives or another Food Network show.
Let’s take a ride in the car
You can’t prevent flat tires or fender benders, but you can prep your vehicle for a road trip.
Here is The Road Trip Expert’s Quick Checklist for a Long Road Trip:
- Check all lights and features on the car are functioning correctly
- Inspect oil, water, and tire pressure/condition
- Check the washer and brake fluid
- Give the car a thorough clean
- Ensure you have a spare key and the owner’s manual
- Inspect the air filter, windscreen wipers, and spark plugs
- Check the coolant
- Make sure you have the spare tire and changing tools
Always be mindful when parking your car. Make sure it is in a safe area and cover your belongings, so not to attract the attention of would-be thieves.
Road Trip Packing List
Even if your road trip is just a day trip, you’ll want to pack a few essentials. Make sure to take some cash, as you may need it for an emergency. Or, that famous food truck you want to try could be cash-only. Other important things are sunglasses, hand sanitizer, car charger for your phone, and a First Aid Kit.
If the weather is warm and you have items that need to stay cool, pack a small, insulated cooler to keep those items from ruining.
Are we there yet?
Don’t let yourself or your passengers get bored. If your vehicle is already equipped with XM radio, switch it over to some of the comedy stations to help pass the time. Go to your favorite decade station and turn off the info to play “Name That Tune.”
Other popular road trip games are:
- Road Trip Bingo, where players (except the driver) each have a special bingo card pre-filled with road themed items like traffic signs, and a dry erase marker to mark ones they find. First player to get five in a row yells, “Bingo!”
- The Alphabet Game requires no board or pieces and even the driver can play. Players attempt to find words containing each letter of the alphabet, going in order from A to Z. You can look at billboards, road signs, branded trucks, restaurant names, license plates and more.
- Categories is another fun game with no pieces. Someone picks a category (things like animals, places, famous people, food, or something else), and players take turns naming items from that category without repeating any. Make it a little more difficult by requiring players to name items that begin with ascending letters from A to Z.
Good luck planning your next road trip. We hope you find these tips and tricks useful and fun.
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Dock Line Writing Team