I’ve been on so many road trips, I can’t even begin to count how many. In fact, I just returned from a special Mother’s Day weekend road trip with my mom (watch it here or at the end of this post). There are a million reasons I love this way of traveling. But, my favorite one is the freedom of it all. The ability to stop and go on my time table, change directions, and take in my surroundings. I wanted to start off by saying that road trips might not be for everyone. Instead, I’m going to tell you that there is a way it can be for just about anyone. There’s a chance it won’t be perfect and that’s OK.
The roads I’ve traveled on have taken me from Los Angeles to the scenic sights of San Francisco, the Las Vegas casinos, and the deserts of Arizona—to name a few. My earliest memory of a road trip would have to be the one where we borrowed my grandpa’s 1972 Oldsmobile and drove to Tucson. It felt like a floating boat ride for eight hours.
Still, nothing compares to the time we were driving my mom’s classic Jaguar up the coast to Monterey. The middle console caught fire as my little brother attempted to use the automatic windows. We all jumped out of the car so fast (including my grandma) and had to finish the rest of the drive with our window stuck open…it rained that weekend. Don’t worry, they don’t all end this way.
I’ve been blessed with the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring journeys. Hitting the highway has been a perfect way for me to be able to explore and experience the beauty of nature around me.
This summer I want to inspire you to take a road trip and create memories. When planning to hit the road, please keep SAFETY, COMFORT, EFFICIENCY, and FUN in mind. Here are some of my road trip tips:
-Try to refrain from driving solo on any road trip. If you must, travel during the day only and check-in with someone along the way.
-Map out your trip beforehand and share the details with someone you trust.
-Plan ahead for weather and road conditions.
-Keep your vehicle’s maintenance (including tires) up-to-date and fill the tank-up with gas before leaving (make note of gas stations along the way).
-If renting a car, become familiar with it (in and out) before you head out. This includes the technology, making sure there’s a spare tire, and a first aid kit (or bring your own).
-Always wear your seat belt and follow the legal rules of the road. Yes, you have to.
-Know how to change a tire, just in case.
-If you’re driving and feel sleepy (day only), pull over to a safe area and take a quick nap. Or switch drivers to a qualified co-pilot.
-Dial 911 for any emergencies.
-Depending on how long you plan to be on the road, bring items like water, food/snacks, toilet paper, phone/laptop/tablet chargers, change of clothes…etc.
-Don’t forget items to keep the kids or your traveling buddies comfortable too. Travel pillows and blankets help in case of nap time or electronic devices.
-Make sure to map out rest area stops along your route. They’re great for restroom breaks and stretching your legs. Light yoga?
-Be prepared for motion sickness—aka a car sick passenger. This can occur with windy roads or changes in elevation. Believe me, I know from experience.
-Research and map out your trip before leaving. Will you need a hotel on an overnight road trip? How long should it take you to get to your destination? How many gas station stops will you need to stop at? Where can you stop to grab something to eat?
-Budget your finances for your trip before you leave. This includes gas, food, and entertainment.
-Create a road trip playlist of your favorite songs or podcasts on your phone, plug-in, and go!
-Bring your best buddies along. No one likes a solo road trip.
-Play a (non-distracting) car game. I spy…
-If you have a history buff in the car, map out any historical or significant stops along the way.
-Stop (safely) at any scenic areas, take in the view, and snap some Instagram worthy pics.
-If you want to share your road trip with friends or family on social media, create a special hashtag.
-Go shopping! There are a lot of outlet shopping malls out there—most along major highways. This is a favorite of mine.
-Take a detour and stop at a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try, a museum you’ve always wanted to visit, or whatever you’re into.
OK, I know these are lot of tips to take into consideration. Just remember that a successful road trip is one that gets you to your destination happy and safely.